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Loretta at Hradčany

Hradcany - Prague 1 Category: Church towers

GPS: 50°5'21.12"N, 14°23'30.12"E

 

One of the most pictorial Prague places is to be found at Loretánské Square – the location of Loretta. The Loretta together with the Monastery of Capuchins and the Church of the Virgin Mary Angelic are inherent parts of the specific atmosphere of the once solitary Town of Hradčany.

The complex gained its recent appearance gradually. The first Santa Casa was built in 1626-1627. Later ambits, chapel, Church of Nativity and fountains were built and amongst other premises a unique treasure house was founded. All is on the out side represented by a frontal facade designed by Architect Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer, who continued the previous plans of his father Kryštof Dientzenhofer.

The steeple above the main portal and central gable is 39m tall and houses the famous carillon. Its melody plays at every hour for one minute.

The steeple is accessible from the second floor of the east ambit. The wooden stairs leads up to the lower part of the prismatic tower, to the place of the carillon and the clock mechanism. These were made by Petr Neuman, Prague clockmaker, in 1694. The carillon of Loretta contains 30 bells, but only 27 of them actually play the melody. Three little bells only have strikers and no connecting rod. The range of the carillon is 2.5 octaves and it is possible to play it manually through the use of a fingerboard.

We can climb from the space of the clock mechanism up to the bells and the fingerboard on the steep wooden stairs. The lantern of the tower is only accessible with a wooden ladder.