Tucked rather discretely among the opulent, ornate buildings in Old Town, Prague lies the Basilica of St. James (Bazilika svatého Jakuba Většího). From the outside, this rather nonchalant church can easily be missed however once inside be prepared to be spellbound by its elaborate, thrilling beauty.
Built in the 13th century in Gothic style over a Minorite monastery, the church suffered three different fires. It was eventually destroyed by the third fire in 1689 and rebuilt in the beautiful Baroque style it appears today. It is the second largest church in Prague after St. Vitus Cathedral and contains an impressive collection of elaborate sculptures, art and paintings.
The interior of the church was designed by Italian artist Ottavio Mosto and contains over 20 altars along with several important sculptures including the sculpture of Pietr and the Virgin Mary at the main altar which date back to the 15th century.
In 1705 an organ designed by the famous Czech organist Abraham Starka of Loket was added to the church and today the church is world renown for its amazing acoustics.
The magnificent organ has been repaired and reconstructed many times over the years with its last reconstruction in the early 80s. This impressive instrument has four manuals, 91 stops and 8,277 pipes.
The interior of the church is absolutely awe-inspiring with its ornate sculptures and grand marble pillars and arches that grace the church. The church also holds the famous tomb of the past Czech Chancellor Vratislav of Mitorovice. It has been rumored that he was found lying up inside the tomb trying to get out but whether that is true is yet to be known. The tomb is known as one of the most beautiful tombs in all of Bohemia.
The church is open 9:30 to noon, and 2-4 pm daily except for services. They also offer organ concerts to the public.
If you go:
Mala Stupartska – Prague 1
How to get there:
Walk from the Old Town Square to Tynska street, then continue through the Ungelt. Mala Stupartska street is behind the Ungelt.