Tyn Church

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Tyn Church
View from the west

View from the west

Construction year: around 1380
Builder : Otto Scheuffler and Peter Schmelzer
Architect : Bauhütte Peter Parler ( later )
Client: Parish Prague
Dimensions: 27 × 21 × 30 m
Tower height:

80 m

Location: 50 ° 5 '16.1 "  N , 14 ° 25' 21.6"  E Coordinates: 50 ° 5 '16.1 "  N , 14 ° 25' 21.6"  E
Address: Old Town Square,
Týnska ulice
Prague , Czech Republic
Purpose: Roman Catholic; church service
Website: www.tyn.cz

The Church of the Virgin Mary in front of Týn (short Tyn Church or Tein Church , also Marienkirche ; Czech Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem , also Kostel Panny Marie před Týnem or Týnský chrám ) is a Roman Catholic place of worship in Prague's old town . The construction of the church lasted from the middle of the 14th to the beginning of the 16th century. The west facade with the two towers on the edge of the Old Town Square is one of the landmarks of the Czech capital Prague . The traditional coronation route of the Bohemian kings ran across the Old Town Square to St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle .

Location and naming

The church building is opposite the Old Town Hall . To the south, in front of and north of the church, town houses with arcades are connected. There was a Marian column on the square , in the place of which the Jan Hus memorial was erected in 1915 . Immediately to the west of the church building is the Teyn School, which was built in the 13th century.

Týn or Teyn ( Tein ) referred to a historical trading yard in old Prague, also called Ungelt . Foreign merchants could spend the night here and protection money ( customs duties ) were levied. The building complex consisted of more than a dozen individual buildings, which have largely been preserved between the Tyn Church and the Church of St. Jacob. The shortened name Tyn Church refers to the location of the church building "in front of the Týn".

History of the church

Previous buildings

Chapel of St. Ludmila in the former north tower; 1882

The first mention of an early Gothic chapel in old Prague is documented in 1135. This was consecrated to the Virgin Mary and part of a hospital of Ungelt. With the rapid expansion from Prague over Castle Hill and Vyšehrad , the sacred building became the first parish church in the center of the village. At the beginning of the 14th century extensive expansion and renovation work was carried out: on the site of a single-nave building, a three-nave building with a polygonal choir that rises above a crypt was built . A first west tower with a bell ringing closed the church from the market square. This tower is documented for the year 1310, when Johann von Luxemburg-Ligny and his followers occupied Prague. Parts of the earlier bell tower remained as the chapel of St. Ludmila survived until 1894 (see picture).

Building history

Floor plan and front view, 1854
Tyn Church at the end of the 19th century, view from the east

With donations from wealthy patricians and merchants, a new building in the high Gothic style was built from around 1360 , with some of the foundations of the previous building being included. The basilica, initially with a single nave and an almost rectangular floor plan, is probably based on plans by the local builders Scheufler and Schmelzer. Their appearance is based on Silesian church architecture of the 14th century.

From 1365 the Augustinian canon Konrad von Waldhausen was pastor at the Teyn Church.

Around 1380 the choir and the side aisles were added. Matthias von Arras and Peter Parler's construction huts produced the 28 m high tracery windows and other architectural decorations for the nave and the north portal. These include the tympanum above the portal, completed in 1390 , which depicts the sufferings of Christ , and sculptural decorations in the nave, which refer to stories and people from the environment of King Wenceslas IV.

From 1425 to 1435 the theologian Jan Rokycana was a preacher at this church, a close collaborator of King George of Podebrady ; he was buried in the crypt in 1471.

Before the Hussite Wars , the nave was finished. It has not yet been clarified with certainty whether the supporting vault was already there in its current form; the west gable was in any case completed. The roof of the nave and the two towers were still missing. The towers were only added around 1466 (north tower) and 1511 (south tower). The latter was built by Matěj Rejsek's construction works. A bronze bell was installed in the north tower in 1585, which melted in the fire in 1819.

After the end of the Hussite Wars, the roof of the Marienkirche should be completed. But the wooden beams that had already been delivered were used as a gallows on the orders of Emperor Sigismund . In 1447, 53 of the resistance Hussites around Captain Jan Roháč z Dubé were hanged on this gallows in the Old Town Square. The construction workers did not complete the roof structure until around 1460.

In the period from 1463 to 1466 the gable of the nave was raised and the second tower (north of the first) was completed at the same time. A statue of King George of Podebrady and a gilded goblet with the slogan “ Veritas vincit ” ( Truth wins ) were placed in the gable . After the Battle of White Mountain in 1626, the statue was removed. It was replaced by a Madonna relief in a halo that was created by the sculptor Kaspar Bechteler . The south tower was completed during the reign of King Vladislav II . The two towers are also called "Adam and Eve".

View of the old town from the Powder Tower

After the Thirty Years' War , the citizens of Prague had a new Baroque altar built in the church in 1649 , which was also intended to emphasize the importance of the Virgin Mary for Christianity. The architect Giovanni Domenico Orsi de Orsini built a new organ gallery in 1670. A fire caused by lightning in 1679 severely damaged the nave and the choir. They were replaced by a new, lower baroque barrel vault . 130 years later, another fire destroyed the north tower, the reconstruction of which took until 1836. A new bell had to be cast.

1710–1735 Johann Florian Hammerschmidt was a priest at the Teyn Church. During his tenure, Prague grew through the incorporation of four surrounding villages, which gave the parish church further influence.

The simplification of their buildings and furnishings ( purism ) ordered by the church superiors led to the fact that between 1876 and 1895 the plaster was largely removed and the broken stones and limestone, including buttresses, which can still be seen today, were exposed.

View of the towers from the Old Town Square. In the pediment you can see a relief of Mary and a chalice

At the beginning of the 20th century, the parish had the sacristy and between 1906 and 1908 the north portal restored. In 1933 the parish became a branch of the St. Gallus Church in Prague and remained so until 2009. Between the 1970s and the beginning of the 21st century, the entire church was extensively restored. In 2018, following a decision by the Czech Bishops' Conference , a golden chalice was again attached as a gable decoration to set an example for the ecumenical reconciliation of the Catholic and Hussite traditions.

The church building, the canopy and a woodcut from around 1420 inside the church depicting the Virgin Mary have been architectural monuments since the 1970s .


The exterior is determined by the high Gothic styles , which are mainly eyelashes , pinnacles and tracery .


The main nave is dominated by the baroque barrel vault with stitch caps . The five-span aisles, on the other hand, have retained their original Gothic rib vaults . The walls are largely made of slate , some of the supporting columns, arcade arches and other details are made of sandstone .

Portals and gables

North portal with tympanum

All church entrances are preserved in the original Gothic style. As mentioned, the north portal has a tympanum with three scenes from the Passion of Christ. The first copies of relief parts were made between 1906 and 1908, and the rest was replaced by a copy in 1998. The original parts have since been in the Prague National Gallery.

Towers and bells


The two church towers were not built in the same style, but are about the same height at 80 meters. The tower placed on the north side is a little thicker than the other. They are adorned with two rows of four pinnacles arranged one above the other and crowned by octagonal helmets .

Both towers are surrounded by external galleries that can be used by visitors. The gilded portrait of the Virgin in the pointed gable shines between the spiers.

A Bronze - Bell from the 1830s is located in the north tower. In the south tower is the bell cast by Tomáš Jaroš in 1535, which was consecrated to the Virgin Mary (see picture). It is the second largest church bell in Prague (after Sigismund in St. Vitus Cathedral).


Main altar

The interior is mostly baroque.

Altars and pulpit

The main altar bears the paintings of the Assumption and the Holy Trinity , both from 1649, by Karel Škréta . To the right of the entrance (i.e. north of the main altar) is the St. Wenceslas Altar with statues by Johann Georg Bendl and paintings by Antonín Stevens (1664) and Johann Georg Heinsch (around 1690). There is also a Renaissance winged altar from the beginning of the 17th century with a relief Baptism of the Lord in the Jordan .


In front of the choir there is a Gothic pulpit from the middle of the 15th century with a roof, which shows paintings by Josef Vojtěch Hellich and is also vividly decorated.

The calvary scene on the altar of the north aisle dates from the beginning of the 15th century. To the right of the main altar is the tomb of the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe , who worked at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, from 1601.

On the walls of the choir hang two 4.26 x 2.69 m oil paintings with the depictions of the Visitation and Presentation in the Temple, which are historical copies of the inside of the organ wings by the Brescian painter Girolamo Romanino around 1535 painted for the Trento church of S. Maria Maggiore.

In the south aisle there is an altar dedicated to John the Baptist . It is considered a unique work of the Danube Carving School from the years 1524/1525.

The side altars were mostly donated by artisan guilds or patricians.


The parish had its first organ installed in 1573, which Albrecht Rudner had commissioned. It was given its place in the north aisle.

The organ that is still in existence was built by the German master organ builder Johann Heinrich Mundt (1632–1691) in the years 1670–1673. The clients were initially not satisfied with the sound, and the fee seemed too high to them. Mundt still had to do some rework. After a fire in 1676, the instrument was no longer playable, whereupon Mundt traveled to repair it. In the 18th century only regular repairs were made to the organ, in 1823 the organ builder Josef Gartner retuned the pitch and changed the pedal arrangement. During the Second World War, the organ was threatened to be dismantled to extract tin for the armaments industry, but it did not take place.

The instrument remained with the same disposition from the end of the 19th century until 1998. Then it was extensively restored by the German company Johannes Klais Orgelbau , installed again in 2000 and inaugurated. The baroque prospectus is decorated with figures of angels, columns and floral motifs in gold.

Organ loft
I main work C–
1. Bourdon flute 00 16 ′
2. Principal 8th'
3. Copula major 8th'
4th Dulz flute 8th'
5. Quinta tones 8th'
6th Salicional 8th'
7th Octave 4 ′
8th. Copula minor 4 ′
9. Quinta major 3 ′
10. Super Octava 2 ′
11. Quinta minor 1 12
12. Sedecima 1'
13. Mixture VI 1'
14th Harpsichord IV 12
II positive
15th Copula major 8th'
16. Principal 4 ′
17th Copula minor 4 ′
18th Octave 2 ′
19th Fifth 1 12
20th Quinta decima 1'
21st Rauschquinta II 00
22nd Mixtura III 1'
Cymbelstern I
Cymbelstern II
23. Sub bass open 16 ′
24. Sub-bass covered 00 16 ′
25th Octave bass 8th'
26th Quinta 6 ′
27. Super octave 4 ′
28. Mixture III 2 23
29 Trombone bass 8th'
  • Pairing: II / I

Stools, baptismal fonts and other interior fittings

Two Sedilia (Latin singular “sedile” chair or armchair; here: seating niches) at the end of the side aisles are provided with portrait heads from around 1400, showing, among other things, King Wenceslas IV and his wife Queen Johanna of Bavaria .

The side aisle houses Prague's oldest pewter baptismal font from 1414 . It has the shape of an upside-down bell, rests on three lion feet that end in half-figures. The pool jacket is provided with a surrounding bas-relief, which shows tracery and pointed arches in which the Twelve Apostles stand. The basin was not given the lid until 1849 by the blacksmith Josef Goetzel, and a small figure of John the Baptist from Emanuel Max's workshop serves as the handle .

The interior of the church houses a lot of wood carvings. The late Gothic stone baldachin from Matěj Rejsek's construction works dates from 1493 . The canopy originally arched over the grave of the Hussite auxiliary bishop Augustinus Lucián von Mirandola; At present, however, there is the St. Luke Altar from the 19th century with a painting by Hellmich.

At the pillar of the presbytery there is a representation of St. Barbara , also from the studio of Karel Škréta.

On the wall of the right (north) aisle on the side altar is a statue of the Madonna with baby Jesus. The tomb of Vaclav Berka von Duba is preserved next to the vestry entrance .

Another painting by Škréta (1648) shows St. Adalbert and is located on the pillar to the left (i.e. south) of the entrance. On other pillars there are representations of St. Joseph , the Annunciation and the family of Christ. Other important painters have painted saints and Bible scenes for the Marienkirche over the centuries. I.a. M. Strasser, Michael Wenzel Halbax , Ignaz Raab and Franz Xaver Karl Palko .

In 1846 a statue of the Slav missionaries Cyril and Method in Carrara marble was erected. It was created by Emanuel Max von Wachstein . In 1864 a new altar was added at the end of the south aisle, which shows the Mother of Sorrows in a painting by Antonín Lhota (1812-1905).

Individual pieces of equipment (paintings, a winged altar from 1500) are in the Prague City Museum and the National Gallery .


  • Emanuel Poche, Karel Neubert, Antonín Srch: Praha, Kunstdenkmäler (translated by Lotte Elsner and Karel Bittner), Pressfoto, Praha 1973, p. 72 ,; Dausien Hanau 1972 and 1977, ISBN 3-7684-1288-1 .
  • Michael Flegl: Prague. Olympia travel guide. Olympia, Prague 1988, p. 96 f.
  • Erhard Gorys : DuMont art travel guide Czech Republic. Culture, landscape and history in Bohemia and Moravia. DuMont, Cologne 1994, ISBN 3-7701-2844-3 , pp. 50-52.
  • Knaurs Culture Guide Czech Republic and Slovak Republic , Munich 1993, ISBN 3-426-26609-1 , pp. 210 and 212 f.

Web links

Commons : Teynkirche  - Collection of pictures

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d History of the Teyn Church on the parish homepage
  2. The chalice on the Týn parish Týn on March 4, 2018
  3. ^ Poche, Neuber: Praha. ...
  4. ^ Hanns-Paul Ties: On the importance of the Council of Trent for the art of its time. Materials and open questions . In: Birgit Ulrike Münch, Andreas Tacke, Markwart Herzog, Sylvia Heudecker (Eds.): Of short duration? Case studies on temporary art centers of the premodern . Art History Forum Irsee, No. 3 . Petersberg 2016, p. 103–125, here 108 f .
  5. ^ Website of the Teyn parish with details on the organs (Czech); Retrieved September 26, 2014.