Among all attractions in Prague, Church of Our Lady before Tyn is the most significant and unique structure, 7 centuries old. It is an active church, built in the Gothic style with baroque elements by the famous German architect and sculptor P. Parler. Being in the Czech capital you will hardly miss it, so let’s find out more details about it. Tourists call it: that church in Old Town Square with twin towers.
The first thing to mention, the Church represents the outstanding mood of the Czech capital, showing towers above the red roofs and spires of the Old Town.
History of Church of Our Lady before Tyn
The construction of the Church of Our Lady before Tyn began in 1339 and lasted up to the 16th century (1551). Right after it was finished the church became the main Hussite church with Jan Rokycany as the archbishop. The original Czech name is Týnský chrám (Kostel Panny Marie před Týnem).
In 1679 the church survived fire, but kept its majesty and became unique. At that time a lot of attention was paid to this building. After this fire, the main nave became much lower and in the 17th century on the place of Gothic towers destroyed by fire, new baroque style towers appeared. Nowadays we can see them reaching 80 meters in the sky.
An interesting fact, if you look closely at them, you can see that the width of the towers is completely different.
The construction of the church was carried out by local court masters Matyáše z Arrasu and mainly by Petr Parléř. He made a magnificent 28 meters’ height window, the windows of the main nave, the presbytery, and a glorious northern portal.
Size of the church
This building is a three-nave basilica with towers at the western facade and three choirs from each nave in the east. It is impressive not only in beauty but in size too: 52 meters in length, 28 meters in width, the height of the middle nave is 44 meters and the lateral naves are 24 meters. The height of the towers is 80 meters. The northern one is Eva while southern is about 1 meter higher – Adam.
Speaking about the interior of Church of Our Lady before Tyn, it has preserved a lot of rare items. For example, a Gothic tin font from 1414 (the oldest in Prague), decorated with relief figures of the apostles, a stone Gothic pulpit, two Gothic benches with consoles in the form of crowned heads. On pillars between the main and left naves on the supports lies a canopy in the late Gothic style by Matěj Rejsek (1493).
The church stands out as an extensive gallery of Gothic, Renaissance and early Baroque art. Inside the temple one can see:
- 19 decorated altars;
- 14 large canvases by F. Cermak;
- Two benches in the Gothic style;
- The oldest tin font of 1414 with the reliefs of the apostles;
- Stone gothic chair of the 15th century;
- The statue of “Madonna and the baby” in the altar of the right side nave;
- The paintings of K. Skreta “Ascension of the Virgin Mary” and “Holy Trinity” on the main altar are also worth attention.
Among other beautiful and historic items, we can mention the Gothic fresco depicting St. Jerome with a lion (of the 14th century). It was hidden in one of the altars of the temple. Restorers found in only in 2000.
Inside: icons, organ, sculptures
A real treasure of the Church and Prague itself is the old organ. This is the work of the German master Hans Heinrich Mundt of 1673. It has not survived the time and has lost its original look, but authorities send it to Bonn for restoration. In 2000 it returned back to Czechia. The organ in the temple is the oldest in Prague.
The temple is also valuable for 60 burials of both famous and unknown people, the remains of which are kept with special care and respect. The most famous of them is T. Braga’s grave, the astrologer who served at Rudolph II. The main altar displays paintings by Karl Škréta (“Ascension of the Virgin Mary” and “Holy Trinity”), which are the model of the early baroque portal architecture of 1649.
The famous Gothic statue of the Madonna with the Child Jesus (so-called “Tyn Madonna”) dates back to 1420. Golgotha, the work of the master of the Tyn Crucifix of the beginning of the 15th century, is located on the baroque altar at the end of the left side nave. In 1854 František Čermák writer 14 large canvases for the Church of Our Lady before Tyn.
How to get
Reliable and comfortable transfers in Prague
It is close to impossible to miss the place as it stands on the Old Town Square. In addition, you can read our article about the place and find out its description, history and attractions here – Old Town Square in Prague.
- Metro: Staroměstská;
- Tram: Staroměstská stop – trams No. 2, 17, 18 at daytime and 93 at night;
- Bus: Náměstí Republiky stop, bus No. 207;
- Address: Staroměstské náměstí, Praha 1.
When to visit
Best time to visit Tyn church is when it is open. Unfortunately due to huge ammount of people willing to enter it, they close the doors during the the day and open only for few hours. Remember, that visiting a church is not for fun or for another selfie. Please, respect the people, who come to pray. Basic rules are: no flash in camera, no loud noise, no short skirts or open body.
- Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Sunday: from 10 a.m. to midday (holy mass).
Interesting facts and legends
In the 15th century, the main statue lost a golden cup, which is connected with a funny legend. It says that this bowl has become a cozy place for storks. Birds have built a nest on it and carried frogs to feed the family. But sometimes frogs fell out of the nest and one has fallen on the head of an important person. People made fun of it and the situation offended the authority, so he ordered to remove the nest and a bowl itself.
After the end of the Hussite wars, the city planned to finish the building of the roof. But tree material, intended for the construction, went to the manufacture of gallows for Jan Roháč z Dubé and his 50 friends. They were executed by Zikmund in the Old Town Square after the conquest of the latter Hussite bastion – Sion.
Church of Our Lady before Tyn houses a lot of graves and many of them were damaged. This happened because local citizens believed that a reliable way to get rid of a toothache is to step on the tombstone. So they freely walked on the graves.
Hotels near the Church
If you are fascinated with the view of the church and would like to stay close to it and enjoy this view every day, I sincerely recommend considering the following hotels and apartments, that face Tyn Church. Among them are the following:
- Hotel U Prince – luxury 5 star hotel with a fantastic terrace and speak easy bar;
- Grand Hotel Praha – stylish hotel with a view on Tyn and Astronomical Clock;
- Old Town Square Hotel – amazing variant in the heart of Old Town Square;
- Luxury Apartment in the heart of Prague – perfect choice for a family or group;
- Ventana Hotel Prague – comfortable hotel in Celetna street with superb service;
- Tyn Church Apartment – feel the hidden vibes of the Old Town;
- Tyn Yard Residence – absolutely perfect apartments to stay for a romantic visit.
Prague is a fascinating city and historic attractions like the Church of Our Lady before Tyn demand more attention. We offer you private tours with local guides who will help you to disclose the city and enjoy it in full!