PLACES OF WORSHIP

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1. St Vitus Cathedral

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The current building, looming majestically over the castle complex, is a combination of architectural styles and took almost 600 years to complete. In days of old, the cathedral was the setting for spectacular Bohemian coronations conducted by Prague’s archbishops. It is also the final resting place of the saints John of Nepomuk and Wenceslas, as well as scores of other Czech worthies.

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Stained glass at St Vitus Cathedral

2. The Loreto

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At the heart of this elaborate shrine to the Virgin Mary is the Santa Casa – a reproduction of the house where Mary received the Angel Gabriel. The Loreto treasury holds several priceless monstrances (open or transparent receptacles) and other artifacts.

3. Old-New Synagogue

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Prague’s Orthodox Jewish community still holds services in this 13th-century synagogue – the oldest in Central Europe. Its curious name may come from the Hebrew Al-Tenai, meaning “with reservation”. Legend has it that its (see Old-New Synagogue) stones will eventually have to be returned to Jerusalem, whence they came.

4. St Nicholas Church, Malá Strana

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The Malá Strana church clock tower and dome upstage its namesake across the river. The splendid Baroque sanctuary was meant to impress Catholic sceptics of the might of Rome (see St Nicholas Church).

5. Church of our Lady Victorious

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This Baroque church contains the famed statue (see Church of Our Lady Victorious) of the Infant Jesus of Prague. The wax baby doll is credited with miraculous powers. The resident Order of English Virgins look after the statue and change his clothes.

6. Basilica of St James

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This is an active place of worship. The Baroque façade is awash with cherubs and scenes depicting episodes from the lives of saints Francis of Assisi, James and Antony of Padua. There is also a mummified arm hanging above the door inside (see Basilica of St James).

7. Church of Our Lady before Týn

prac_info Staroměstské náměstí 14 • Open 10am–1pm & 3–5pm Tue–Sat, 10:30am–noon Sun

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The Gothic towers of Týn loom over Old Town Square’s houses. During the Counter-Reformation, the Jesuits melted down the gold Hussite chalice that stood between the towers and recast it as the Madonna seen today.

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Church of Our Lady before Týn

8. Spanish Synagogue

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The present Moorish building with its opulent interior replaced Prague’s oldest synagogue after the latter was razed in 1867. The Conservative Jewish community holds services here. It also houses Jewish Museum exhibits, offices and a reference centre.

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The beautiful interior of the Spanish Synagogue

9. Pinkas Synagogue

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The names of nearly 80,000 Czech victims of the Holocaust cover the walls (see Pinkas Synagogue) of this house adjacent to the Old Jewish Cemetery, as an emotive memorial (see The Jews in Prague). The women’s gallery was added in the 18th century.

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Romanesque portal

10. Cathedral of Sts Cyril and Methodius

prac_info Resslova 9 • Open during Holy masses; opening hours vary

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The assassins of high-ranking Nazi Reichsprotektor Obergruppenführer Reinhard “The Hangman” Heydrich took refuge in this Eastern Orthodox cathedral (see Karlovo náměstí) after the attack. A few days later, they were killed or committed suicide here. The Nazis executed Bishop Gorazd, who had sheltered them.

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