Churches in Prague:
Monestaries in Prague
Churches in Prague1
- St. Vitus Cathedral (Prague Castle)
- All Saints Church (Prague Castle)
- Church of the Virgin Mary (Prague Castle)
- Church of Our Lady before Týn (Old Town Square)
- Bethlehem Chapel
- Church of Our Lady of the Snows
- *Church of Saint Michael the Archangel
- Church of St. James the Greater
- Church of Sts. Simon & Jude
- St. George's Basilica
Churches in Prague3
- Church of Saint Procopius, Žižkov
- Church of Saint Roch, Žižkov
- Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord
Churches in Prague8
- Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius (Karlín)
Churches in Prague10
- Hus Congregational House
- Hus' House (Vršovice)
- Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary
- St. Nicholas Church (Vršovice)
- St. Wenceslas Church (Vršovice)
- Parish Congregation of the Evangelical Church
More Churches in Prague
- Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, Prague
- Basilica of the Assumption (Prague)
- Cathedral of Saint Lawrence (Prague)
- Church of Our Lady on the Lawn
- Church of St. Ludmila
- Church of St. Martin in the Wall
- Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord
- St. Nicholas Church (Malá Strana)
- St. Nicholas Church (Staré Město)
- Church of Our Lady Victorious
- Sts. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral
- St. Thomas' Church
- St. Giles' Church
- St. Longin's Rotunda
- St. Michael's Church in Jircháře
- St. Salvator Church
- St. Stephen's Church
- St. Wenceslas Church (Zderaz)
There are 12 cathedrals and 15 churches elevated to the rank of basilica by the Pope, calm monasteries, many modern and ancient churches – for example Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk is one of those inscribed on the World Heritage List. Away from the towns, areas such as Český ráj, Šumava and the Krkonoše Mountains attract visitors seeking outdoor pursuits.
This article lists actually existing churches in Prague of some historical or artistic value. The first part contains churches in the historical city center (Hradčany, Malá Strana, Old Town, New Town and Vyšehrad), the second churches in the outer districts (Prague 3 to Prague 10).
Church of Our Lady before Týn
The Church of Mother of God before Týn (in Czech Kostel Matky Boží před Týnem, also Týnský chrám (Týn Church) or just Týn), often translated as Church of Our Lady before Týn, is a gothic church and a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague, Czech Republic. It has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires.
In the 11th century, this area was occupied by a Romanesque church, which was built there for foreign merchants coming to the nearby Týn Courtyard. Later it was replaced by an early Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn in 1256. Construction of the present church began in the 14th century in the late Gothic style under the influence of Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler. By the beginning of the 15th century, construction was almost complete; only the towers, the gable and roof were missing. The church was controlled by Hussites for two centuries, including John of Rokycan, future archbishop of Prague, who became the church's vicar in 1427. The roof was completed in the 1450s, while the gable and northern tower were completed shortly thereafter during the reign of George of Poděbrady (1453–1471). His sculpture was placed on the gable, below a huge golden chalice, the symbol of the Hussites. The southern tower was not completed until 1511, under architect Matěj Rejsek.
After the lost Battle of White Mountain (1620) began the era of harsh recatholicization (part of the Counter-Reformation). Consequently, the sculptures of "heretic king" George of Poděbrady and the chalice were removed in 1626 and replaced by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, with a giant halo made from by melting down the chalice. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.
Renovation works carried out in 1876–1895 were later reversed during extensive exterior renovation works in the years 1973–1995. Interior renovation is still in progress.
The northern portal is a wonderful example of Gothic sculpture from the Parler workshop, with a relief depicting the Crucifixion. The main entrance is located on the church's western face, through a narrow passage between the houses in front of the church.
The early baroque altarpiece has paintings by Karel Škréta from around 1649. The oldest pipe organ in Prague stands inside this church. The organ was built in 1673 by Heinrich Mundt and is one of the most representative 17th-century organs in Europe.
Church of Saint Michael the Archangel
This is the church where I got married! English services every Sunday @ 11:AM
Church of Saint Michael the Archangel is a Hussite / Lutheran church situated in Prague, Czech Republic. It was built in Romanesque and Gothic style, and later rebuilt in Baroque style. The priest and church reformer Jan Hus celebrated masses in the church. The church and adjacent monastery were disestablished during the reforms of the Emperor Joseph II in the 18th century. Later, the buildings served as a warehouse. In the crypt, there are buried rectors of the Prague's University.
The Church of St. Michael (kostel sv. Michala) originally a Romanesque structure, is older than the New Town (Nové Město) itself, which started to evolve in the place of the fields and meadows, settlements and villages in 1348.
It was evidently founded at the same time as the Settlement of Opatovice and a rectory stood here under the reign John of Luxemburg. It belonged to the Hussites during the Hussite Wars (1419), became the property of the Lutherans 100 years later (1524), and then the Catholics after the Battle of White Mountain (1621). It was then bought by the German Lutheran Church in 1790 after being abandoned.
The German choir had a picture of Martin Luther created for the side window of the church in 1915. After the Second World War, the confiscated church was passed to the Prague choir of the Slovak Evangelic Church. The Gothic structure of the church dates hack to the last 25 years of the 14th century.
It was expanded and added to on a number of occasions, with its final re-Gothicization dating back to 1914 – 1915 under the leadership of builder Štěpán Koloschek.
An oblong nave was created with a flat ceiling and a prismatic tower to the west. The irregular presbytery is distinctive for its remarkable vaulting and is one of the most interesting religious structures in Prague and beyond. The asymmetric three-naved structure is externally unified by an orbiting, Baroque, main cornice. The Baroque extension of a staircase to the gallery sits next to the southern Gothic nave. The structure comes to a peak with its slender prismatic tower, which has a Gothic core. The portal from the north is fitted with a fanlight, whose tracery was made up of a number of stylized nuns. The late-Rococo main altar (around 1770) remains the Gothic fittings. This was originally dedicated to St. Michael.
Church of Our Lady Victorious (Baby Jesus)
The Church of Our Lady Victorious (Kostel Panny Marie Vítězné) in Malá Strana, the "Lesser Quarter" of Prague is a church governed and administered by the Discalced Carmelites, and home of the famous Child Jesus statue called the Infant Jesus of Prague. The statue, a 16th-century depiction of infant Jesus holding a globus cruciger, was donated to the Carmelite friars in 1628 by Polyxena, 1st Princess Lobkowicz.
A chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity was built on this site in 1584, following Rudolph II´s Letter of Majesty a larger church for German Protestants. With the Battle of White Mountain, November 8, 1620, the Counter-Reformation signalled the re-Catholicism of Prague. The church was given to the direction of the Carmelites in September 1624. The triumphalist altarpiece of Our Lady of Victory was sent from Rome by Pope Gregory XV. The Carmelites were ordered to hand over the church to Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, June 3, 1784.
At the request of the Archbishop of Prague Miloslav Vlk, the Discalced Carmelites returned to the church after 200 years of absence on July 2, 1993. The Carmelite Sisters of the Child Jesus help the Carmelites with the care of the gracious statue and the church. The pilgrimage church is under the parish administration of the Church of St. Thomas in Mala Strana.
On 26 September 2009 Pope Benedict XVI declared the church and the Infant Jesus the first station on the Apostolic Road in the Czech Republic. The Pontiff also donated a gold crown, decorated with eight shells, pearls, and garnet gemstones to the Infant Jesus of Prague, which the statue dons today.
Church of Saint Nicholas
The Church of Saint Nicholas (Czech: Kostel svatého Mikuláše) is a Baroque church in the Lesser Town of Prague. It was built between 1704-1755 on the site where formerly a Gothic church from the 13th century stood, which was also dedicated to Saint Nicholas.
The original Gothic Parish church of Saint Nicholas stood on the site of the present church which dated from the 13th century. In the second half of the 17th century the Jesuits decided to build a new church designed by Giovanni Domenico Orsi. A partial impression of the original planned appearance of the church at the time the Jesuits chose the initial plans by Giovanni Domenico Orsi in 1673 and laid the foundation stone is provided by the Chapel of St. Barbara, which was built first so that mass could be celebrated. The church was built in two stages during the 18th century. From 1703 until 1711 the west façade, the choir, the Chapels of St. Barbara and St. Anne were built.
The new plans involved an intricate geometrical system of interconnected cylinders with a central dome above the transept. The massive nave with side chapels and an undulating vault based on a system of intersecting ellipsoids was apparently built by Christoph Dientzenhofer. The pillars between the wide spans of the arcade supporting the triforium were meant to maximize the dynamic effect of the church. The chancel and its characteristic copper cupola were built in 1737-1752, this time using plans by Christoph's son, Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer.
In 1752, after the death Dientzehofer in 1751, the construction of the church tower was completed. During the years the church continued to expand its interior beauty. Following the abolition of the Jesuit Order by Pope Clement XIV, St. Nicholas became the main parish church of the Lesser Town in 1775.
During the communist era the church tower was used as an observatory for State Security since from the tower it was possible to keep watch on the American and Yugoslav embassies respectively and the access route to the West German embassy.
It has been described as "the most impressive example of Prague Baroque" and "without doubt the greatest Baroque church in Prague and the Dientzenhofers' supreme achievement".
The church excels not only in the architecture, but also in the decoration, mainly with the frescos by Jan Lukas Kracker and a fresco inside the 70 m high dome by František Xaver Palko. The interior is further decorated with sculptures by František Ignác Platzer. The Baroque organ has over 4,000 pipes up to six meters in length and was played by Mozart in 1787. Mozart's spectacular masterpiece, Mass in C, was first performed in the Church of Saint Nicholas shortly after his visit.
The 79 m tall belfry is directly connected with the church’s massive dome. The belfry with great panoramic view, was unlike the church completed in Rococo forms in 1751-1756 by Anselmo Lurago.
The church of St. Anthony of Padua is the most significant sacred building in the area of Prague 7. In the beginning of the 20th centrury the growing community of Christians in Prague 7 needed the new church. In 1908 the foundation stone was laid, but the construction works were soon interupted due to the lack of money. In 1912 the works were started again, the church was finished two years later and consencrated on October 25th, 1914. The church was realized in pseudo-gothic style and is 51 meters long and 21 meters high, each tower (incl. the jag) 68 meters high.
The church´s frontal was firstly decorated by the statues of St. Anthony, St. Cyril and St. Method, later the statues of St. Wenceslas and St. Ludmila were added. The church itself strongly resembles the St. Tyne's cathedral, located at Old Town square in Prague 1.
St. Wenceslas Church (Zderaz)
St. Wenceslas Church at Zderaz is a Gothic single-nave church in Prague – New Town. It is located at the crossroad of Resslova Street and Dittrichova Street.
The Zderaz settlement has ancient origin and is named after the owner, Zderaz. In 1115, the village was first mentioned with a church, which was probably dedicated to Saint Peter and Paul.
In the years 1180 to 1190, the settlement belonged to two Czech noblemen, Kojat and Všebor (Svébor), members of the aristocratic House of Hrabischitz, who gave their land to found a monastery of the Order of the Cross – the Guardians of the Holy Sepulchre. However, due to this, the villagers lost their parish church, therefore the brothers founded a new Romanesque church dedicated to St. Wenceslas. The new church took over the parish duties of the Church of St. Peter and Paul. St. Wenceslas’ Church at Zderaz was consecrated November 26, 1181 by the Bishop Valentine of Prague.
Archeological research made by archeologist Karel Guth (1883-1943) in the years 1927 – 1929, showed that it was a simple one-nave construction with a semi rounded apse on the east and a large square tower on the west. A part of this tower was later included into the Gothic reconstruction and it became a part of the western frontage of the church from 14th century. The church was surrounded by a cemetery. Three gravestones were preserved and are now placed in the City of Prague Museum.
St. Procopius Church (Czech: Kostel svatého Prokopa) is the parish church of the district of Žižkov in Prague, Czech Republic. Dedicated to the patron saint of Bohemia, Procopius of Sázava, the three-aisled Neo-Gothic church, located at Sladkovského Square on Seifertova Street, was designed by Bohemian architects Josef Mocker (who completed St. Vitus Cathedral) and František Mikš. Its steeple dominates the skyline of Žižkov (along with the more-recently constructed Žižkov Television Tower).
Žižkov became an independent city in 1881, but at the time did not have a sufficiently large Catholic church for its population. An association for the establishment of a Catholic church was formed in 1879. In 1883, it bought a building with a large dance hall, which was converted into a simply-decorated chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. This chapel accommodated thousands of the faithful for more than 20 years, even after the dedication of St. Procopius Church, closing only in 1919.
The foundation stone for St. Procopius Church was ceremonially laid by the Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal František Schönborn, on October 30, 1898 on the 50th anniversary of the reign of Franz Joseph I of Austria. Therefore, in the first years of its existence, the church was known as the "Jubilee" Church. Construction lasted five years.
The church was consecrated on September 27, 1903 by Cardinal Lev Skrbenský z Hříště in the presence of the governor of the Kingdom of Bohemia, Archduke Karl Ferdinand, Count of Coudenhove, with his wife. The first parish priest was Mons. Eduard Šittler.
Between 1992 and 1997, the church was thoroughly restored, with the support of the district administration.
The church is over 51 meters long and 17 meters wide, and accommodates 2000 people. The height of the dome is 16 meters and the tower is 73 meters high. The church has two entrances, on the northern and western sides. The tympanum over the north entrance has a relief depicting the Madonna with the Infant Jesus in the middle and a kneeling St. Procopius on her right side presenting her a model of the church. Over the west entrance is a relief of St. Adalbert. Both works come from the workshop of Josef Pekárek, a pupil of Josef Václav Myslbek.
Of the interior furnishings, the most famous is a painting by Karel Škréta of St. Wenceslaus defending Prague against the Swedes in 1649. The painting had originally belonged to the Emauzy monastery.
The main altar is Neo-Gothic, designed by architect František Mikš. In the center is a statue by the sculptor Štěpán Zálešák of St. Procopius, the patron saint of the church, surrounded by Saints Cyril and Methodius. Eight panel paintings by Karel Ludvík Klusáček present scenes from the life of St. Procopius. The top of the altar is decorated with a group of the Crucifixion of Our Lord.
A side altar has a statuette of Madonna with Jesus, possibly the original from the first half of the 15th century. It was saved during the Thirty Years' War in the house called At the Three Acorns in the New Town of Prague, where it was held until 1742. The chapel of Our Lady, on the right side, has a panel with scenes from her life. The chapel of the Divine Heart of Our Lord, on the left, has images of St. Augustine and St. Alois. These were also made by Zálešák.
The Baroque Venice chandelier was donated to the church by the Prince of Auersperg. The pulpit with granite stairs was made according to the design of Mikš. The organ was made by the Žižkov company of Emanuel Peter.
The stained glass windows were made according to designs of Klusáček. The last window in the south of the nave, originally design of Cyril Bouda, was successfully completed only in 1992. The scene shows the meeting of Duke Oldřich with St. Procopius in the woods of Sázava.
Strahov Monastery (Czech: Strahovský klášter) is a Premonstratensian abbey founded in 1143 by Bishop Jindřich Zdík, Bishop John of Prague, and Duke Vladislav II. It is located in Strahov, Prague, Czech Republic - next to Prague Castle above Petrin Park in Malostranska.
After his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1138, the bishop of Olomouc, Jindřich Zdík, took hold of the idea of founding a monastery of regular canons in Prague. He had the support of the bishops of Prague and the Duke of Bohemia Soběslav I and -- after his death -- Vladislav II. After Zdík's first unsuccessful attempt to found a Czech variant of the canons' order at the place called Strahov in 1140, an invitation was issued to the Premonstratensians, whose first representatives arrived from Steinfeld in the Rhine valley (Germany).
The religious began to build their monastery first of wood, with a Romanesque basilica as the center of all spiritual events in Strahov. The building was gradually completed and the construction of the monastery stone buildings continued, in order to replace the provisional wooden living quarters with permanent stone. In 1258, the monastery was heavily damaged by fire and later renewed.
In 1670 Jeroným Hirnheim, a philosopher and theologian became the abbot of Strahov. His greatest work, which has survived to the present days, was the building of the new library, in the so-called Theological Hall (Teologický sál) completed in 1679. During the 17th and the early 18th century other abbots continued in the reconstruction of the monastery. They also cared for the church, which was repaired and decorated several times during the given period. The monastery experienced other great building activity namely after the assault of French and Bavarian troops in 1742, when Prague was bombarded and seriously damaged. Then the abbot organized building works again in the course of which the church was rebuilt along with the monastery area.
After 1950, the library was incorporated into the Memorial of National Literature. After 1989 the library was along with the monastery returned to the Premonstratensians. Within the library reading room also works today. The Strahov Library contains over 200,000 volumes, including over 3,000 manuscripts and 1,500 first prints stored in a special depository.
Břevnov Monastery (Czech: Břevnovský klášter, German: Stift Breunau) is a Benedictine archabbey in the Břevnov district of Prague, Czech Republic. It was founded by Saint Adalbert, the second Bishop of Prague, in 993 AD with the support of Duke Boleslav II of Bohemia. Hence the first Benedictine male monastery in Bohemia, it also has the oldest tradition of beer brewing in the Czech Republic, up to today, the Břevnovský Benedict beer is brewed here. Beer brewed according to the same recipe and under the supervision of the Břevnov Monastery brewery technologists is produced in South Korea since 2017 under the brand Praha 993.
The first monks descended form Niederaltaich Abbey in Bavaria, filial monasteries were established at Broumov and Police in northern Bohemia.
During the Hussite Wars in the 1420s, abbot and convent fled to Broumov and the entire monastery including brewery were nearly destroyed. After the Thirty Years' War, the construction of a Baroque monastery complex has been realized under Abbot Othmar Daniel Zinke in 1708–1740 according to plans designed by Christoph Dientzenhofer. The interior of the buildings, including St. Margaret's church, the conventual buildings and prelate's house was designed by his son Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, with altarpieces by Petr Brandl, a ceiling fresco by Cosmas Damian Asam and stucco works by his brother Egid Quirin Asam. At the same time the annual production of beer reached up to 5,000 hl.
After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, the monastery was seized by Wehrmacht forces during World War II and finally expropriated by the Communist Czechoslovak government in 1950. Abbot Anastáz Opasek (1913-1999) was condemned for high treason and espionage in a show trial, the monastery was dissolved and the remaining monks were deported, if they had not fled to Bavarian Braunau in Rohr Abbey re-established by their Broumov brothers in 1946.
The complex was used until 1990 by the StB, after the Velvet Revolution, was thoroughly repaired from 1991 until its 1000-years-jubilee in 1993. In 1997 it was visited by Pope John Paul II and was elevated to the rank of an Archabbey.
The monastery served as the basis for the Red Rose Mansion (2005) in Naoki Urasawa's noted anime/manga series Monster.
The Emmaus monastery (Czech: Emauzy or Emauzský klášter) is an abbey established in 1347 in Prague. The area was the only Benedictine monastery of the Bohemian kingdom and all Slavic Europe.
In the 1360s, the Cloisters of the Monastery were decorated with a cycle of 85 wall Gothic paintings with parallels from the Old and New Testaments. The Gothic cloisters also feature original faded frescoes with bits of Pagan symbolism from the 14th century. The monastery was baroquized in the 17th-18th centuries and the two temple towers were added.
Charles IV gave to the just-founded monastery the manuscript Reims Gospel, it was probably lost from Prague in the time of the Hussite Wars, manuscript later became part of the Reims Cathedral treasury. The monastery became a center of culture and art, students of Cyril and Methodius studied there in addition to Jan Hus.
During WWII the monastery was seized by the Gestapo and the monks were sent to Dachau concentration camp. The monastery building and vaults were destroyed by a U.S. bombing raid on Prague on 14 February 1945. The modern roof with steeples was added in the 1960s. It was returned to the Benedictine order in 1990, the monastery is administered by three monks, two of whom live there.
The Cistercian Abbey of Zbraslav (Latin: Aula Regia, Czech: Zbraslavský klášter) located in Zbraslav near Prague (today part of Prague) was one of the most significant monasteries of the Cistercian Order in the Kingdom of Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic). Founded by King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia in 1292 it became the royal necropolis of the last members of the Přemyslid dynasty. The abbey was abolished by the Bohemian King and Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II in 1789. The best-known abbot of this monastery was Peter of Zittau († 1339) who wrote the Zbraslav Chronicle (Latin: Chronicon Aulae Regiae), the most important historical source for the history of Bohemia in the first half of the 14th century. The Zbraslav abbey is also known for the Madonna of Zbraslav, an outstanding Gothic painting from the 1340s.
Monestaries in New Town
The Sts. Peter and Paul Church of the Canons and Holy Grave in the settlement Zderaz was converted and rebuilt to serve as the parish church. Numerous further cloisters and monasteries allowed Charles IV to establish a special area of dominance. He had already founded the monastery of St. Mary of the Snows on a spur of the upper plateau along the old road to the Vyšehrad before the creation of an important monastery in the New Town. In direct proximity to the old parish church of the riverside community Podskalí, St. Cosmas and Damian, in the territory of the Vyšehrad cathedral he settled with the agreement of the Pope Clemens VI on November 22, 1347, an order of Benedictine monks who adhered to the old Slavic liturgy. The monastery church, dedicated in 1372, received from them the name St. Mary's at the Slavs (klášter P. Marie na Slovanech). Further south on the same street was built in 1360 a Servite monastery, with the Church of St. Mary on the Lawn (kostel P. Marie na Trávníčku) or "on the pillars" (Na Slupi). Not far from here, in 1355 the Convent of Augustinian Hermitesses (kostel sv. Kateřiny) was founded. This was instituted by Charles in thanks for his first victory on 25 November 1332 at San Felice castle in Italy. It was dedicated on November 29, 1367.
In summary, it may be observed that parish churches and monastery churches are often either linked to predecessor churches or to settlements or streets already existing in the vicinity. In contrast Charles founded two monastery churches on particularly exposed, but long uninhabited sites. Around 1362 was founded the Collegiate Abbey of St. Apollinaris (kostel sv. Apolináře) on the Wind Hill (Větrná hora or Na Větrníku).
At the highest point of the new fortifications in the SE, the wall changed to a northerly direction at the Painters Tower, where there was a small postern. It is clear that this necessitated the building of a third castle-like construction between Hradčany and Vyšehrad, the so-called Charles' Court. In 1350 Charles established some French Augustinian canons here.
The newly founded monastery and abbey churches in the upper New Town were also distinguished from the parish churches in that they were sited on the edge of the built-up area, or their entire surroundings remained almost entirely free. The slopes and plateaux east of Na slupi street and south of the Augustinian convent were merely vineyards and extended green spaces. Not least, another distinguishing feature was a further concept of town planning which was especially clearly visible from Vyšehrad. The five churches named above formed an almost symmetrical cross, in the center of which was St. Apollinaris Abbey. The imaginary crossbeam ends with Charles Court and the Emmaus Monastery, which each lack towers, while the long arm of the cross is formed by churches with towers whose upper story is octagonal. An extension of this arm leads directly to the Vyšehrad, which was thus included in the plan.
The Gothic Church of Our Lady on the Lawn
The Gothic Church of Our Lady on the Lawn (Na Slupi) is located in the valley of the Prague Botič Stream below Vyšehrad in the New Town. It is quite a small Gothic building which was built beside the monastery of Servites. The church is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. The church and the monastery have been listed as historical monuments since 1958. The church was founded 24 March 1360 by Charles IV. and was built between 1360 and 1375. Its current look is mostly in pseudo-Gothic.
Jan Hus = "You're Goose is Cooked"
Jan Hus (/hʊs/; Czech: [ˈjan ˈɦus]; c. 1369 – 6 July 1415), often referred to in English as John Hus or John Huss, was a Czech priest, philosopher, Master at Charles University in Prague, church reformer, founder of Hussitism, a seminal figure in the Bohemian Reformation and a key predecessor to Protestantism.
After John Wycliffe, the theorist of ecclesiastical Reformation, Hus is considered the first Church reformer, as he lived before Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. His teachings had a strong influence on the states of Western Europe, most immediately in the approval of a reformist Bohemian religious denomination, and, more than a century later, on Martin Luther himself. He was burned at the stake for heresy against the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, including those on ecclesiology, the Eucharist, and other theological topics.
After Hus was executed in 1415, the followers of his religious teachings (known as Hussites) rebelled against their Roman Catholic rulers and defeated five consecutive papal crusades between 1420 and 1431, in what became known as the Hussite Wars. A century later, as many as 90% of inhabitants of the Czech lands were Hussites. Although the Czech Republic was the site of one of the most significant pre-reformation movements, there are only few Protestant adherents remaining in modern times; mainly due to historical reasons like persecution of Protestants by the Catholic Habsburgs, restrictions during the Communist rule, and also the ongoing secularization.
Jan Hus Memorial
The Jan Hus Memorial stands at one end of Old Town Square, Prague in the Czech Republic. The huge monument depicts victorious Hussite warriors and Protestants who were forced into exile 200 years after Hus, and a young mother who symbolises national rebirth. The monument was so large that the sculptor designed and built his own villa and studio where the work could be carried out. It was unveiled in 1915 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Jan Hus' martyrdom. The memorial was designed by Ladislav Šaloun and paid for solely by public donations.
Born in 1369, Hus became an influential religious thinker, philosopher, and reformer in Prague. He was a key predecessor to the Protestant movement of the sixteenth century. In his works he criticized religious moral decay of the Catholic Church. Accordingly, the Czech patriot Hus believed that mass should be given in the vernacular, or local language, rather than in Latin. He was inspired by the teachings of John Wycliffe. In the following century, Hus was followed by many other reformers - e.g. Martin Luther, John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli. Hus was ultimately condemned by the Council of Constance and burned at the stake in 1415. This led to the Hussite Wars.
To the people of Bohemia and other regions around Prague, Jan Hus became a symbol of dissidence and a symbol of strength against oppressive regimes. His opposition to church control by the Vatican gave strength to those who opposed control of Czech lands by the Habsburgs in the 19th century, and Hus soon became a symbol of anti-Habsburg rule. He is said to stand arrogantly in the square in defiance of the cathedral before him. In 1918, a Marian Column that had been erected in the square shortly after the Thirty Years' War was demolished in celebration of independence from the Habsburg empire.
When Czechoslovakia was under Communist rule, sitting at the feet of the Jan Hus memorial became a way of quietly expressing one's opinion and opposition against the Communist rule. The memorial was restored in 2007.
The Hussites (Czech: Husité or Kališníci; "Chalice People") were a Christian movement in the Kingdom of Bohemia following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus (c. 1369–1415), who became the best-known representative of the Bohemian Reformation and one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation. This predominantly religious movement was propelled by social issues and strengthened Czech national awareness.
After the Council of Constance lured Jan Hus in with a letter of indemnity, then tried him for heresy and put him to death at the stake on 6 July 1415, the Hussites fought the Hussite Wars (1420–1434) for their religious and political cause.
Among present-day Christians, Hussite traditions are represented in the Moravian Church, Unity of the Brethren, and the refounded Czechoslovak Hussite churches.
The Hussite Wars, also called the Bohemian Wars or the Hussite Revolution, were fought between the Hussites and various European monarchs who sought to enforce the authority of the Roman Catholic Church on them; various Hussite factions also confronted each other, especially the Utraquists who opposed remaining Hussite spinoffs alongside Roman Catholics. These wars lasted from 1419 to approximately 1434.
The Hussite community included most of the Czech population of the Kingdom of Bohemia, and formed a major military power. They defeated five crusades proclaimed against them by the Pope (1420, 1421, 1422, 1427 and in 1431), and intervened in the wars of neighboring countries. The Hussite Wars were notable for the extensive use of early hand-held firearms such as hand cannons.
The fighting ended after 1434, when the moderate Utraquist faction of the Hussites defeated the radical Taborite faction. The Hussites agreed to submit to the authority of the King of Bohemia and the Church, and were allowed to practice their somewhat variant rite.
Disorder broke out in various parts of Bohemia, and drove many Catholic priests from their parishes. Almost from the beginning the Hussites divided into two main groups, though many minor divisions also arose among them. Shortly before his death Hus had accepted the doctrine of Utraquism preached during his absence by his adherents at Prague: the obligation of the faithful to receive communion in both kinds, bread and wine (sub utraque specie). This doctrine became the watchword of the moderate Hussites known as the Utraquists or Calixtines, from the Latin calix (the chalice), in Czech kališníci (from kalich). The more extreme Hussites became known as Taborites (táborité), after the city of Tábor that became their center; or Orphans (sirotci), a name they adopted after the death of their leader and general Jan Žižka.
Under the influence of Sigismund, Wenceslaus endeavored to stem the Hussite movement. A number of Hussites led by Mikuláš of Hus — no relation of Jan Hus — left Prague. They held meetings in various parts of Bohemia, particularly at Sezimovo Ústí (not to be confused with Ústí nad Labem), near the spot where the town of Tábor was founded soon afterwards. At these meetings they violently denounced Sigismund, and the people everywhere prepared for war.
In spite of the departure of many prominent Hussites, the troubles at Prague continued. On July 30, 1419 Hussite procession headed by the priest Jan Želivský attacked New Town Hall in Prague and threw the king's representatives, the burgomaster, and some town councillors from the windows into the street (the first "Defenestration of Prague"), where several were killed by the fall. It has been suggested that Wenceslaus was so stunned by the defenestration that it caused his death on August 16, 1419. (Alternatively, it is possible that he may have just died of natural causes.)
Holy Roman Emperor King Charles IV
The Czech name "Čechy" is derived from the name of the Slavic ethnic group, the Czechs, who settled in Bohemia during the 6th or 7th century AD.
Charles IV became King of Bohemia in 1346. He founded Charles University in Prague, central Europe's first university, two years later. His reign brought Bohemia to its peak both politically and in total area, resulting in his being the first King of Bohemia to also be elected as Holy Roman Emperor.
Bohemia enjoyed religious freedom between 1436 and 1620, and became one of the most liberal countries of the Christian world during that period. In 1609, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II, who made Prague again the capital of the Empire at the time, himself a Roman Catholic, was moved by the Bohemian nobility to publish Maiestas Rudolphina, which confirmed the older Confessio Bohemica of 1575.
After Frederick's defeat in the Battle of White Mountain in 1620, 27 Bohemian estates leaders together with Jan Jesenius, rector of the Charles University of Prague were executed on the Prague's Old Town Square on 21 June 1621 and the rest were exiled from the country; their lands were then given to Catholic loyalists (mostly of Bavarian and Saxon origin), this ended the pro-reformation movement in Bohemia and also ended the role of Prague as ruling city of the Holy Roman Empire.
In the 17th century the Jesuits started to build their New Town residence on Charles Square. They also founded a new church dedicated to their patron saint and founder of the Jesuit Order, St. Ignatius of Loyola. This church was designed by Carlo Lurago and built in 1655-1677 in the early Baroque style.
The Romani (also spelled Romany; /ˈroʊməni/, /ˈrɒ-/), or Roma, are a traditionally nomadic ethnic group, living mostly in Europe and the Americas and originating from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, presumably from where the states Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab exist today. The Romani are widely known among English-speaking people by the exonym "Gypsies" (or "Gipsies"), which some people consider pejorative due to its connotations of illegality and irregularity.
Romani are dispersed, with their concentrated populations in Europe – especially Central, Eastern and Southern Europe including Turkey, Spain and Southern France. They originated in Northern India and arrived in Mid-West Asia, then Europe, around 1,000 years ago, either separating from the Dom people or, at least, having a similar history; the ancestors of both the Romani and the Dom left North India sometime between the sixth and eleventh century. There are 300,000 Romani speakers in the Czech Republic (40,370 documented), representing 2% of the total population.
In Czechoslovakia, Gypsies were labeled a "socially degraded stratum," and Romani women were sterilized as part of a state policy to reduce their population. This policy was implemented with large financial incentives, threats of denying future welfare payments, with misinformation, or after administering drugs.
Czechoslovakia carried out a policy of sterilization of Romani women, starting in 1973. The dissidents of the Charter 77 denounced it in 1977–78 as a genocide, but the practice continued through the Velvet Revolution of 1989. A 2005 report by the Czech government's independent ombudsman, Otakar Motejl, identified dozens of cases of coercive sterilization between 1979 and 2001, and called for criminal investigations and possible prosecution against several health care workers and administrators.
An official inquiry from the Czech Republic, resulting in a report (December 2005), concluded that the Communist authorities had practiced an assimilation policy towards Romanis, which "included efforts by social services to control the birth rate in the Romani community... The problem of sexual sterilization carried out in the Czech Republic, either with improper motivation or illegally, exists," said the Czech Public Defender of Rights, recommending state compensation for women affected between 1973 and 1991. New cases were revealed up until 2004, in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland "all have histories of coercive sterilization of minorities and other groups."
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