|Tyn Church (Týnský chrám), or The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, dominates one side of the Old Town Square.
The twin towers of this powerful looking Gothic church (with a Baroque interior) measure some 80m each, and can be seen from all over Prague.
While its origins date back much further, the present high-Gothic structure was founded in 1385 as the main Old Town church.
In the early 15th century, Tyn Church came under the control of the Hussites. But this was a tumultuous period in the Czech lands, when Hussites were being slaughtered by the ruling Roman Catholics. And in the end, the Catholic Jesuits took control, recasting the bell and replacing the Hussite's symbolic chalice with a large figure of Mary nailed between the towers.
In 1679, a fire in the church led to the interior being reworked in the Baroque style, and a vaulted main aisle was added.
The church is endowed with an extensive gallery of Gothic, Renaissance and early Baroque works, most notable of which are the altar paintings by Karel Skreta.
The tomb of the famous astronomer Tycho Braha can also been seen.
In the Old Town Square, stand and face Tyn Church, and it soon becomes evident that the mighty twin towers are not symmetrical. One, Adam, is larger than the other, Eve. This representation of the masculine and feminine sides of the world is characteristic of Gothic architecture of the period.
Legend has it that the Tyn Church towers gave Walt Disney the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle. True or not, the church is an awe-inspiring sight, even more so at night when powerful lights illuminate it against the dark night sky.
The organ at Tyn Church dates from 1673 and is the oldest in Prague.
Tyn Church has regular Roman Catholic church services. It also occasionally hosts classical concerts, during which the organ is played by expert musicians.
In winter, Tyn Church is heated, but it is still advisable to wear warm clothing for concerts.
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To discover more about Prague churches, take a Prague tour.