Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Church of Our Lady Before Tyn

Church of Our Lady Before Tyn looking like a fairytale castle.

The spires of this powerful looking Gothic church (baroque interior) can be seen from all over Prague.
The church was founded in 1385 during a tumultuous period when ‘heretic’ Hussites were being slaughtered by the ruling Roman Catholics. As part of this, Catholic Jesuits took over the church, recasting the bell and replacing the Hussites symbolic chalice with a large figure of Mary nailed between the towers.

The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn is impressive by day and striking by night, lit up against the dark night sky. Take a close look at the two spires. They are not symmetrical. This is characteristic of the gothic architecture of the time and is a representation of both the masculine and feminine sides of the world.
To the left you can just see the Astronomical Clock which dates back to the 15th century. On the hour, every hour, a small trap door opens and Christ marches out ahead of his disciples, while the skeleton of death tolls the bell to a defiant statue of a Turk. (more about this later) Below the Astronomical Clock are 12 medallions with the signs of the zodiac, added by Josef Manes in 1865.