Today we will visit Letenská street close to the Lesser Town Square where we can find the beautiful eight hundred years old church of St. Thomas. There are not just artificial treasures but also relics of significant people hidden inside of the church.
The impulse to found the St. Thomas Church was given by the Czech King Wenceslas II. This pious monarch was thus the initiator of the founding of the gorgeous Gothic church in the middle of the Lesser Town. Already from the distance you can see the high church tower, one of the dominating features of the church. St. Thomas Church allong with St. Nicholas Church belong to significant Baroque monuments of the Lesser Town.
The originally Gothic church of St. Thomas was built on the foundations of an old Romanic church. The church was consecrated in 1379. It had to face the uneasy fate in the Hussite period when the local monks were chased out and the church burnt down. The church was reconstructed thank to the Augustinian Hermits allong with the architect Bernard die Alberto btw. 1584-1592. Another fire affected it in the 16th century and this time also the church gallery collapsed. The Renaissance reconstruction was completed at the end of the 17th century. The Order of the Augustinians called for the new reconstruction the architect Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer whose designs are responsible for the current Baroque appearance.
Do not forget to look at the main altar during your seightseeing of the church interior. Here you can see the painting The Martyrdom of St. Thomas by Peter Paul Rubens. But it is just a replica of the painting – if you want to see the original you need to visit the National Gallery of Prague. If you visit the former capitular hall,.i.e. the current Chapel of St. Dorothy you can adore the paintings by Josef Heintz there. The lovers of the art visiting the church will certainly be satisfied – another treasures are the paintings by Karel Škréta.
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The crypt which is located in the internals of the church belongs to its chief curiosities and makes the place so much popular with the tourists. Many significant people found their place of the last piece here. Among the most noted ones belongs e.g. Adrian de Vries. We know his name from the walks through the Valdštejn Garden because he was the author of the sculptural decorations. In case you want to find his grave it is located in St. Barbara´s Chapel. The Valdštejn Garden is situated right beside the church where you can see the works of this great sculptor. Another significant person is the architect Ulrik Aostalli alias Aegidius Sadeler. This noted engraver and graphic designer was active also at the court of Rudolph II. He was the master of the chiaroscuro art and also published the map of Bohemia at the beginning of the 17th century.
The church was also the place of work of the famous chronicler Václav Hájek of Libočany.
GPS: Loc: 50°5‘19.282“N, 14°24‘19.322“E