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Old town - Prague 1 Category: Church towers

Church of St. Jacob the Bigger in Old Town

GPS: 50°5'17.16"N, 14°25'30"E

One of the most significant churches in Prague stands beside the street of Malá Stuparská and Jakubská. It was consecrated to the Apostle St. Jacob the Bigger, the brother of Jan the evangelist. Together with the monastery of the Minorit Order and the school building it creates a unique urban complex. Its facia is adorned with a brilliant relief composition from 1695, which was made by the Italian sculptor Ottavia Most. The relief was completed in 1900 and renovated in 1975. The interior of this church is very impressive offering a glimpse at the art of the famous baroque masters. The sanctuary is also well known thanks to its historical organ and great acoustics which makes it an ideal place for choir concerts.

The church is represented by the three gothic aisles (basilica type) with oblong chancel, which has a slight deviation from its axis to the north. After the older building was burned down in 1232 the church was re-built in 1319-1374. Other fires can be dated back to 1596 and 1689. The appearance of the church today is the result of baroque reconstruction, which was carried out under the leadership of Jan Šimon Pánek in 1690-1702.

Today the church of St. Jacob the Bigger prides its self with three steeples. The quadratic clock tower is situated by the presbytery and the north side aisle. It is covered by a cupola roof and is the highest of the three at 60,5m. This steeple is not currently open to the public. The steeple on the west facia of the south aisle is 50,5 m tall. Its upper floor is baroque compared to the lower part, which has certain gothic details. Also this steeple has a bulbous cupola roof with a lantern. The third steeple on the north side of the facia was heavily damaged on 21st June 1689 when fires that were set in several places in the Old Town by fire-brigands serving the French were not put out. The steeple was repaired but never completed to its original height.