Our today´s sightseeing concerns one of the sacral monuments in Žižkov. It is the Church of St. Roch(czech: kostel sv. Rocha) located close to Olšanské náměstí in Olšany Cemeteries. Let´s learn more about the oldest Žižkov church.
First of all, who was St. Roch?
In order to understand the significance of this building we need to know first who St. Roch was, whome the church is consecrated to. St. Roch of Montpellier was a French Catholic Saint who is adored as patron against plague. People often addressed him to heal the sick during the plague epidemics. He is frequently imaged in pilgrim clothes and a dog sitting at his feet.
The plague epidemics
A giant plague epidemics broke out in the territory of Prague in 1680 which initiated the the construction on the church. Three plague cemeteries were founded in Prague at that time – in the Old Town of Prague, in the New Town and the Jewish cemetery. The necropolis belonged to the Old Town of Prague which in 1862 decided to build also a plague chapel next to it. The construction was performed based on the plans of Jean-Baptiste Mathey.
After the Olšany Cemeteries started to bury people who were not victims of the plague epidemics, the Church of St. Roch started to serve as cemetery church. In 1839, the parish kostel Povýšení svatého Kříže (Church of the Ascension of the Holy Cross) was cancelled and its parish wa transferred to the Church of St. Roch in Olšany.
What does the church actually look like?
The church is sometimes incorrectly being referred to as „rotunda“ because its shape is very similar to one. However, it is a Baroque elipse-shaped construction with a dome which was built by the architect Hainric. The main Neo-Renaisssance altar is the view point of the church. In the upper part of the altar painting Virgin Mary with the angels is to be found and in the lower part the patron saints helping during plague epidemics – St. Roch , St. Sebestian and St. Rosalia. The background is composed of the sceneries caused by the plague. The oldest extant object in the church is the Baroque tin baptismal font from 1595. The font was made by the tinsmith Voříšek of Roudnice nad Labem.
Kostel svatého Rocha
Praha 3 – Žižkov
GPS: 50°4’56.607″N, 14°27’35.947″E
GPS: 50.0823908N, 14.4599853E
Tram: 5, 9, 26. 55, 58 – Olšanské náměstí
Bus: 136, 175 – Olšanské náměstí
Metro: A – Flora, walk downhill along Jičínská street and you will see the Church of St. Roch on the right.
Other interesting links
All about: Prague 1 Monuments more read here
All about: Prague 2 Monuments more read here
All about: Prague 3 Monuments more read heres
All about: Prague Castle more read here
All about: Royal route and the coronation of King more read here
All about: Petrin Hill more read here