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Lesser town - Prague 1 Category: Church towers

Church of St. Laurence on Petrin

GPS: 50°4'59.52"N, 14°23'45.96"E

On top of the Petrin hill next to the view-tower stands the single-aisle baroque church of St. Laurence. The legend tells that there was a sanctuary built on this site as early as at the end of 10th century. Reputedly it was meant to displace the original heathen sacrificial place. First historical account about the church comes from the year 1135. A more ostentatious structure replaced it in the Gothic era, when Emperor Charles IV. when the famous Hunger Wall was built at his behest. The baroque conversion was completed as late as in 1770 in the time of Frantisek Kazimir Strachovsky the then St. Vitus’s cathedral provost, by the design of Ignac Palliardi. The drastic anticlerical reform of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II. led to the desecration of the church in 1784. It was preserved only thanks to the fact, that no suitable purchaser was found who would use the building for profane purposes. After large scale repairs, the church was once more consecrated in 1840. The City of Prague Council let it to the Old-Catholic Church for a symbolic rental in 1994. This Church restored here the tradition of St. Laurence’s pilgrimages including pilgrimages around the chapels of Calvary.

The contemporary appearance of the St. Laurence Church boasts three tower-like structures. Two tall slender towers in the forefront with baroque semicircular windows are topped by a typical onion dome with lantern and finial. Their height is 24,5 m. The third structure built into the Hunger Wall has a high dome with lantern and finial and is 22,7 m high.