The entrance can be hard to find as the church is nestled among other buildings - look for a narrow archway in front between the shops when approaching from the Old Town Square.
Looming over Prague’s Old Town Square, the Church of Our Lady before Týn has long been the city’s main place of worship. Legend has it that Walt Disney was inspired to create his iconic fairytale castle after seeing the church: its twin Late Gothic towers are truly striking, reaching 80 metres into the air, and can be seen from anywhere in Prague.
Intriguingly, the towers are not quite symmetrical - a classic Gothic conceit, representing the male and female sides of the world. ‘Of Týn' means ‘surrounded’ and it’s easy to see how the church got its name, as it emerges dramatically from among other tightly packed buildings. Its magnificent exterior becomes even more of a sight when it is illuminated at night.
Jan Hus, founder of the Hussite movement, famously preached here: he is memorialised in a large monument in the square. The church was an important centre for the Hussite movement for two centuries. The golden Madonna statue now on its central tower was cast from a melted-down Hussite chalice in 1626 as part a period of violent recatholicisation.
The best views of the church can be had from the top of the astronomical clock tower of the nearby Old Town Hall. The well-lit Baroque interior of the church is also wonderfully ornate, and features Prague’s oldest pipe organ as well as the tomb of the eminent astronomer Tycho Brahe.
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