|St. Martin in the Wall is an ancient, beautifully preserved church set amongst the winding back streets and quaint buildings of the Old Town in Prague. It is located just a few minutes walk from the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square.|
St. Martin in the Wall Church was built in 1178-1187 in the Romanesque style in the settlement of Ujezd, which in those days extended to this area. Shortly after the church was dedicated to St. Martin the settlement was renamed Ujezd of St. Martin.
When the Old Town walls were built in the 13th century, Ujezd of St. Martin was divided in two. The larger part was left outside the walls and later became part of the New Town. The smaller part, including the church of St. Martin in the Wall, became part of the Old Town. The south wall of the church backed onto the Old Town wall, hence the name St. Martin in the Wall.
The original church had just one nave, which has been preserved in the present nave along with other Romanesque features.
In the 14th and 15th centuries the church was reconstructed in the Gothic style, which remains to this day. The nave was elevated and newly vaulted, and the whole church enlarged.
Between 1360-1370 the Presbyterian gained a groined vault, which is said to be one of the oldest of its kind in Czechia. The groins of the vault rise from a bracket decorated with masks. The coping stones are decorated with a rose and star.
In 1414 a Mr M. Jakoubek from StřÝbro served the altar sacrament in both kinds to laymen for the first time. In the following years, the chalice used became the symbol of the Hussite revolution.
The Gothic reconstruction of St. Martin in the Wall was completed in 1488, sponsored by the Utraquist bourgeois Holec family. Their coat of arms, a hook, can be seen in several places around the church.
St. Martin has now been restored to its original splendour. Aside from Sunday worship, it only opens for classical concerts. The excellent acoustics of the church and the historic setting make these events well worth attending.
In winter, St. Martin in the Wall Church is heated, but it is still advisable to wear warm clothing for concerts.
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