Church of St. Nicholas - Old Town Square

Church of St. Nicholas  - Old Town SquareThe Church of St Nicholas was originally a Gothic building and served as the parish church of the Old Town before the Týn Church was built. Following the Battle of the White Mountain in 1620, and during the Counter-Reformation in the Czech lands, the church was taken over by Benedictine monks. In 1732 – 1735 it was then rebuilt in the baroque style by Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer.

The entrance to the church faced the Jewish Town and so did not have to be particularly decorative. The side of the church faces the Old Town Hall. For this reason the side of the building is richly decorated, creating the impression that this is the main entrance. The decoration on the side was designed to be looked at from close up, evident from the way the statues (created by Antonín Braun) are leaning over. The interior of the church is ful of intricate stucco work by Bernardo Spinetti. Petr Assamo painted the pictures which adorn the dome, the presbytery and the side chapels. These paintings show scenes from the life of St Nicholas and St Benedict. It is hard not to notice the huge crown-shaped chandelier, a gift from Tsar Nicholas II. In 1787 as part of Emperor Josef II’s religious reforms, almost all the monasteries and many churches that did not provide a service for the community, were closed. The Church St Nicholas was not spared and after closure was used by the military. During a later war, the then commander of the Prague garrison had the decoration in the church restored by artsist who otherwise would have been sent to the front. After the creation of Pařížská Street the eastern corner of the church was completed and in 1906 a recess holding a statue of St Nicholas and a neo-classical fountain with dolphins were added. After World War I the church was once again used for its original purpose by the Hussite Church.

The building joined on to the church on Kafkovo Square stands on the site of the former Benedictine Monastery. The house bears a plaque reminding us that this is the birthplace of the famous Czech author (who of course wrote in German), Franz Kafka.

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Thanks for a very enjoyable tour. Your tour was as if we were being shown the city by a personal friend. Thanks for being sensitive to our particular interests and needs. I will be happy to pass along my recommendation for your services.
Best Regards

24.7.2011 Barbara and Tom Tailor