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Old town - Prague 1 Category: Church towers

Týnský Cathedral

GPS: 50°5'15"N, 14°25'19.92"E

One of the most significant religious buildings in Prague is the gothic three-aisle church of the Virgin Mary outside Týn. With its two tall towers in the forefront it is considered to be one of the essential dominant features of the historical town centre.

Originally this Romanesque and later early Gothic style church was radically reconstructed in the last third of 14th century and at the beginning of 15th century. The upper part of the towers and the distinctive forefront gable between these towers are decorated with taper squares and crowned by a Gothic cross made of stone and were completed as late as the second half of 15th and the beginning of 16th century. The towers height, from which the south tower is obviously wider, is 80 m.Therefore the towers of Týnský Cathedral are the second tallest in Prague after the St. Nicholas church towers.

As well as many other Prague towers the steeple-towers of Týnský Cathedral were also struck by lightning. This happened on 29th June 1819 at 5.30 p.m... Eight pinnacles around the roof roared with fire and reached as far as the tower bell which was destroyed. The stricken north steeple was temporarily repaired. The upper part however was only repaired 10 years later.

Due to the fire and the scrap metal confiscations of the war, the towers have only two bells. The bell in the south tower, a queen amongst the Prague tower bells, called Marie is a master piece from 1553 and weighs 6 450 kg and was made by a sheet metal workers son ,Tomáš Jaroš. The north tower was equipped with a bell consecrated to Pieta and St. Agnes of Bohemia in 1992. The bell was struck in the Manoušek family foundary in Zbraslav and weighs 960 kg.

To climb up the steepls is a challenge. The spiral stairway in the south tower has 189 steps, which are initially made of stone and then give way to wood. An even higher level can be achieved with a ladder (supplied). To enter the north tower you must cross over the stone clad corridor between the two steeples. This point offers a wonderful view not only to the Old Town Square but you can also admire many architectural and design details, which are not so obvious from the ground.