The Church of Our Lady before Tyn near the Old Town Square used to be the main church of the Protestant Hussites in Prague. It is an imposing Gothic building rising above the houses around with its high towers. It is one of the most important Prague churches.
Predecessors of the Tyn Church
The Church of Our Lady before Tyn replaced the former Romanesque church from 11 th century, which was built there for merchants coming to the near Tyn Courtyard. The first Gothic church was much smaller than the present one. The reformers Konrad Waldhauser and Milic of Kromeriz preached there.
The present large church was built in the 14th century by stone-masonry´s of Petr Parler and Matthias of Arras. However, the towers, the gable and a roof were still missing at the beginning of the 15 th century.
During the Hussite wars, the church was occupied by Hussites. The Hussite archbishop Jan Rokycana was a parson there since 1427 and he is buried there as well. After the wars had ended, it was planned to cover the church with a roof, but the wood for the roof was used to build a gallows for Rohac of Duba and his 50 companions. They were executed at the Old Town Square as the last Hussite warriors. The roof for the church was made 20 years later, using the wood intended for festive tribunes for the wedding of Czech King Ladislav Pohrobek with French Princess Magdalena. Ladislav Pohrobek died before the wedding was arranged.
During the reign of George of Podebrady in 15 th century, a statue of the ruler, called “Hussite King” and a Hussite symbol of a chalice were placed on the church. After the victory of Catholicism in the country in 1620s, the statue was replaced by Madonna figure and the chalice was made her aureole.
Architecture and interior of the Tyn Church
The towers of the Church of Our Lady before Tyn are 80 metres high. The church is 52 metres long and 28 metres wide and there are many Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque works of art inside. There is a Gothic tinny font from 1414, the oldest one in Prague. You can see a Gothic baldachin by Matthias Rejsek from 1493 on the pillars there.
The main altar is decorated with paintings by Karel Skreta. There are 19 altars in the church altogether. The church organ, made by Hans Heinrich Mundt in 1673, is the oldest one in Prague.
Tombstone of astronomer Tycho Brahe
You can see many tombstones in the church. The most famous person buried there is the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who worked for the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II. in the 16 th century. A legend says, that also a heart of King George of Podebrady is buried there, whereas his body rests in the crypt of Czech Kings at the Prague Castle.
There are reportedly buried the heads of the rebellious nobles, executed in 1621 at the Old Town Square. However, they were never found there.