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Former Dominican homestead in Branik

Branik - Prague 4 Category: Church towers

GPS: 50°2'12.48"N, 14°24'43.92"E

 

The former Dominican homestead in Branik has a colorful history, at least in regard to its owners. Here is where the political and war events of the relevant time periods are reflected in this homestead. A short time after the fatal Bělohorská battle, which took place on 8th November 1620, a part of Branik, the steeple together with the stronghold, was given to the Dominican Order, probably as a part of the re-catholicization process.

The Dominicans came to Branik in 1625 to take over this property. Years later they established a brewery within the homestead and used the water from the in-house deep well for the beer production. During the Thirty year’s war everything in the homestead was destroyed, mainly because the area was not protected by the Prague City walls. After the war the Dominicans carried out extensive reconstruction of the entire homestead. This reconstruction was done step by step and was completed as late as 1761.

The large property with its ground arcades facing the yard acquired a corner tower with a belfry. The tower is double-floored. Its highest floor is separated by a molding and its windows are semicircular with a sunblind. The roof is topped with a turret with lantern, apex and finial. In the lower part of the tower was a chapel with fine stucco decoration, which is still partly preserved.

On the outside wall, seen from Branicka St. there is a framed stucco relief representing Jesus Christ crucified together with a kneeling member of the Dominican Order. According to some sources this figure represents the one time Provost, Vincenz Onorporte de Narbone. Unfortunately there is a rather insensitively placed street sign just below this relief.

The former Dominican homestead today is surrounded by new age buildings in very poor condition. The Prague 4 district is therefore looking for ways to ‘retrieve’ this area.