Church of Our Lady Below the Chain

Church of Our Lady Below the ChainOriginally this church (Kostel Panny Marie pod řetězem) was built after 1158, thanks to the settlement of the area below the castle by the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. The Romanesque basilica was completed in 1182, but in 1312 the basilica was knocked down and replaced by a Gothic three-aisle basilica, probably made by Peter Parler’s workshop. The older structures can still be seen in part though, as they stand to the right of the present day courtyard. In the 17th century the church was once again rebuilt, this time in a Baroque style, and the appearance of the church has not changed since.

The sculptures and paintings to be found in the church are one of the main reasons for its popularity with visitors. Two paintings particularly of note are the painting of Madonna blessing the Maltese Knights which is found at the main altar, and the painting of the beheading of Saint Barbara at the southern altar. Both were painted by the artist Karel Skreta in the 15th century. There are also a number of sculptures, mostly created by Jan Petr Wenda.

One of the aspects of the church that attracts the most interest is the name, and it actually refers to the Judith Bridge that used to stand in the city and, more specifically, the chain on the tower gate there. The story goes that this chain was stretched all the way across the river, so that boats would be unable to pass without paying a tool first.

The church is the property of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta and belongs to the Czech Grand Priory of the Order of the Knights of Malta.

Address: Velkopřevorské náměstí/ul. Lázeňská, Lesser Town.



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