THE TYN TEMPLE

An important landmark of the Old Town square is the Church of the Virgin Mary, which is in front of Týn or The Tyn Temple. The Tyn is the second most important church in Prague, after the St. Vitus Cathedral. The temple was established in the mid-14th century and it replaced the original Romanic church that was part of the Ungelt, the oldest centre of the Old Town. The Construction of the Tyn was undertaken by the building works of Matthias of Arras and Petr Parléř, a construction foreman, who participated in the construction of St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle. The three-nave temple is built in the Gothic style with a characteristic two-tower facade. The horizontally unequal sized towers are 80m high. The northern one was built between the years 1463-1466 and the southern one was built between the years 1505-1511. The size of the temple is impressive. The length is 52m, the width 28m and the height of the central nave vault is 31m. The most valuable elements of the Gothic temple and the real masterpieces of Central European Gothic sculpture are at the northern entrance portal with a tympanum that portrays scenes of the Passion of Christ and it was made by Petr Parléř in 1390. The original tympanum is displayed in the National Gallery.
The interior of the temple is extremely rich and attention should be paid to the Gothic pulpit or Prague’s oldest preserved tin baptismal font, which dates from 1414. On the main and side altars we can admire paintings by Karel Škréta the master of the Baroque-style painting. Those on: on the main altar the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and at the sides St. Barbora, Annunciation, St. Vojtech, St. Josef. The temple also has what is probably the oldest home organ that dates from 1670 and it was the work of the German master, Hans Mundt.
One of the most popular tourist spots in the temple is the tombstone that has a portrait of the famous Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe. Brahe worked at the court of Rudolf II. of Habsburg and at the time, Prague was a residential town of the Habsburg Empire and a major European city.
The temple played an important historic role in the time of Czech Reformation. Prominent preachers such as, Konrád Waldhauser, Jan Milíč z Kroměříže, Jan Rokycana the bishop or Jakoubek ze Stříbra preached here. In this reform the Hussite period was the Tyn spiritual and social centre of Prague. Therefore, the statue of King Jiří z Poděbrad, "Hussite King," who was a symbol of religious tolerance and freedom, stood in the facade of the temple until the early 17th century. The statue of King Jiří z Poděbrad was replaced after the Habsburg Catholics defeated the uprising at the battle of Bílá Hora and in its place, the golden Madonna stood to symbolise their victory for Catholicism.
While looking at the Tyn you might be surprised at how you cannot see the lower part of the facade of the temple or the main entrance. The reason why is because the main entrance is covered by the Tyn School. The school is made up of two originally Gothic houses that were rebuilt in the first half of the 16th century in the Renaissance style. On the first floor there is a fresco of the Assumption of Mary from the 18th century. The school was established in these two buildings in the late 14th century and they existed here until the 19th century. The Tyn School thus arose in parallel with the temple and so it happened that the Tyn Church has this special partially hidden form.

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