Prague

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On visiting Our Lady of the Snows, you would be forgiven for thinking that the buildings proportions seem wrong. This is due to the fact that the full splender planed for the building was never fulfilled, in fact only the High Choir was completed in 1397due to a delay caused by the Hussite conflict.

Our Lady of the Snows - Prague 1

Our Lady of the Snows is a Roman Catholic church that can be accessed off of Jungmann Square which is very close to Wenceslas Square. The church is accessed through an arch in the Austrian Cultural Institute on Jungmannovo namesti, but there is a good view of the exterior from the neighbouring Franciscan Garden. This Gothic church was founded in 1397 and presented to the Carmelite Order by Charles IV on the day following his coronation. It stayed in their possession until 1542 but the had allowed the building to fall into disrepair. During the Hussite wars and the church along with many others, was badly damaged and for almost a hundred years it was left to decay. The Franciscans took on the building, but with little money themselves, the buildings condition declined even further, until it was eventually restored during the early part of the 17th century.

Our Lady of the Snows

Although it remained unfinished, it is still a very large church. The Early Baroque main altar is the highest column altar in Prague  standing 29 meters high. The church also holds the tombs of many of Prague’s important citizens.

The altar-piece was painted in 1724 by Wenzel Lorenz Reiner. The side altar has been decorated with a picture painted by Georg Wilhelm Neunherz of the saint it is dedicated to, St Catherine.  On the north side stands the chapel of Saint Michael with its Baroque style altar.  

Our Lady of the Snows - Prague 3 Our Lady of the Snows - Prague 4 Our Lady of the Snows - Prague 2

In the courtyard are located two Baroque chapels, one dedicated to St. John of Nepomuk's and the other to Our Lady Pomocna's. This is where the Franciscan Brethren now live. They had been forced to leave the monastery in 1950 but returned in 1989.