St. Nicholas Church (Vršovice)

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The Church of Saint Nicholas (Template:Lang-cs) is a church in Vršovice in Prague 10. There has been a church here since at least the 11th century, although this building with its neo-gothic façade was built in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Description

This understated church is, at least, the third religious building on this site. The first Christian church here was dedicated to Mary Magdalene in the 11th century.<ref name=virt>Church of St. Nicholas in Vršovice, virtualni.praha.eu, retrieved 16 November 2013</ref> The first church here was built here in 1422,<ref name=guide/> although there may have been a religious building here since the Romans. The church building was dedicated to St. Nicholas but it was not the last. There are today three churches dedicated to St. Nicholas in Prague.<ref name=virt/>

The previous Gothic building was replaced in 1704 by a design which proved to be too small for the growing population; it was expanded and a façade by Bohumil Hole?ek was added in the 1890s.<ref name=guide/> By this time the burial ground around the church was abandoned.<ref name=virt/> This is the church you see today. The large eight sided chalice sculpture and filial rises almost Template:Convert. It is above the onion dome and the tower which rises from the presbytery.<ref name=guide>Church of St Nicholas in Vrsovice, 1pragueguide, retrieved 16 November 2013</ref>

File:Vrsovice-vavrousek2.jpg
View through Šafa?íkova street near the church in 1910

The 19th century organ confessionals remain. The only substantive changes made since the 1890s were the replacement of the main staircase and the removal of one of the two bells which was confiscated during the second world war. The remaining large 300 kg bell is dated 1511 and it was made by the popular bell founder "Bartolom?j of Prague".<ref name=guide/> Another smaller 35 kg bell was added just under the main dome in 1923 which is used as a death knell. The bell is by Oktáv Winter.<ref name=virt/>

The astronomical tower clock has a moon dial on its west face that shows the lunar phases and the position of Venus ("the evening star") in the evening sky. It is said to have cost 600 gold coins when the Vršovice council bought it in 1866 from Jan Prokeš in Sobotka.<ref name=virt/>

There is a statue of the priest St. John of Nepomuk on the north wall. He was tortured to death in 1393 at the behest of Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia reputedly because he refused to tell the queen's secrets that had been told to him within the confessionals. Under the statue it says that the town is dedicated to this saint.<ref name=guide/>

The church was renovated in 1973 and in 1988 the icon of St. Nicholas was stolen. A replacement was purchased in 2001 from Václav Rad.

This building was opened to the public in September 2012 as part of the European Heritage Days initiative.

References

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