Basilica of St. James in Prague

Basilica of St. James in Prague

Historically one of the most significant churches in Prague

The Basilica of St. James is located in Prague's Old Town, close to the Old Town Square. It forms part of a unique architectural compound comprising also the adjacent monastery of the Minorites and a school building. The church is admired for its typically exquisite Baroque decoration and is one of the largest churches in Prague. It is used for church services and hosts regular organ concerts.
The tour around the church and its impressive interiors with paintings by top artists of the Baroque period is certainly a unique experience. The Basilica is famous for its historic organ originating from 1705 and excellent acoustics. The most valuable work of art is the beautiful Baroque tomb of Czech Supreme Chancellor Jan Václav Vratislav of Mitrovice. The Church of St. James has the third largest collection of paintings by Baroque artist Petr Brandl.

Today, the Church of St. James has three towers. The highest being the 60 metre tall onion-domed clock tower. The second tower with a lantern opening is 50 metres high and stands at the west end of the south nave and the third is on the north side of the frontage.

Dark legend of old Prague

There is a dark legend that is set in the church. The statue of the Virgin Mary on the main altar was believed to have magical powers. Therefore, it was worshipped and donations were brought to it. One night a thief managed to stay inside the church after it was locked so he could steal the donations, but when he approached the statue to take the money, it grasped his hand and held him there until the morning, when he was found at the scene of the crime. The monastery superior then asked the statue whether the thief should have his hand cut off. When the statue released him it was indeed cut off and the unfortunate thief’s mummified hand still hangs on a chain in the back part of the church.


Konvent minoritů v Praze, Malá Štupartská 6, 110 00 Praha 1