Old Town Square and Tyn Cathedral

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Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) is considered to be the heart of Prague’s Old Town, therefore of Prague itself since 10th century. The area of the Square is 1.7 hectare. Throughout the history is has been the place where both tragic and glorious events took place. The Jan Hus statue is the centrepiece among a variety of surrounding historical buildings. The statue was erected on July 6th 1915 to mark the 500th anniversary of the reformer’s death. There are beautiful pastel-coloured buildings of Romanesque, Baroque or Gothic origin with fascinating house signs. On the 8th of May 1945, a large part of what is now the Town hall was destroyed by German tanks as they departed in defeat and lies preserved as reminder of this atrocity. Fortunately today the Square is much more peaceful although it is still a popular space for political speeches, Christmas festivities and large public gatherings. It offers visitors a tourist information office, number of restaurants, cafés, shops and galleries. A minute walk down the famous and most expensive street Pariska will lead you to the Jewish Quarter.

Church of Our Lady before Tyn or Tyn Cathedral (Týnský chrám) dominates one side of the Old Town Square. It can be seen from all over Prague. This Gothic church was founded in 1385 during the tumultuous period when the ‘heretic’ Hussites were slaughtered by the ruling Roman Catholics. It was not finished until the end of the 16th century. The Catholic Jesuits then made the church their own by recasting the bell and replacing the Hussites symbolic chalice with the ten-foot figure of Mary nailed up between the towers today. The Church is built in Gothic style with a baroque interior. Most noteworthy on the inside is the tomb of Rudolf II's personal astronomer, Tycho Brahe, one of the leading scientists of the time.

Its 80-meter towers topped by four small spires were customary during the reign of Emperor Charles IV. When one take a close look at the two spires, he can see that they are not symmetrical. This is characteristic of the gothic architecture of the time, which tried to represent both masculine and feminine sides of the world. Church of our Lady before Tyn is rarely open, apart from services but the best view of the exterior is from the Town Hall Tower.
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