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Church of St. Katherine

New town - Prague 2 Category: Church towers

GPS: 50°4'24.96"N, 14°25'31.08"E

A significant dominant feature of the upper part of Prague’s New Town is the church of St. Katherine. Thanks to its slim and tall steeple, we are reminded of a prayer tower. The original church was built between 1355 and 1367, on the behest of Charles IV. The church was dedicated to a favourite saint of Charles IV, to St. Katherine. Beside this church there used to be a monastery of the women’s Augustinian Order and from 1568 it was occupied by the men’s Augustinian Order. From the original gothic buildings there remains only a small part of a wall.

A new monastery in a baroque style was built by Kryštof Dientzehofer in 1718-1730. The church was reconstructed in the same style in 1737-1741 and the author of this reconstruction plan was Kolián Ignác Dientzehofer. The original steeple was preserved and ingeniously integrated into the church facia.

The Augustinian monastery was discontinued as well as the St. Katherine church during the reforms of Josef II. After its reconstruction the monastery building was utilized as a house for the mentally affected. For the same purpose the new building in a late classical style was built in the south part of the garden. From 1837 church services were provided for the house boarders.

The church was consecrated in 1950 and the ‘Museum of Prague Capital’ established a sculpture depository. In the 1960s this depository was even opened to the public for about 10 years.

The steeple of the St. Katherine church is 51.3m high and it is an important orientation point from many different directions. It has five floors. The lower three are of prismatic shape and the two upper floors are of octahedral shape. The lower floors have baroque windows and the upper floors have gothic windows. The steeple is covered by an octahedral pyramidal roof with finial and a cross at the top.