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Loreto Prague

31 Mar

Loreto PragueThe Loreto sanctuary is not only one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Prague and the Czech Republic but also one of the beautiful buildings of the Bohemian baroque – comparable only to the church of St. Nicholas in Mala Strana, the Wallenstein Palace, and the Strahov Monastery – and, with its wealth reflects the fervent Catholic of its founders, the Lobkowicz family.

The sanctuary was founded by benign Katerina von Lobkowicz on 3rd June 1626, only a few years after the end of the bohemian part of the Thirty Years War. The Loreto was built in Prague to celebrate the political importance of Lobkowicz family, and especially to celebrate the restoration of the power of the Habsburgs and the Catholic Church.

The structure is mainly composed of six side chapels, the Church of the Nativity, and the bell tower with a carillon of bells that play a song every hour. At the center there is the true heart of the structure, namely the Holy House … a building inspired by the house of the Madonna, which was, according to legend, transported by angels to Italy, to Loreto.

Holy House (Santa Casa): The first and most important building of the whole structure. It was founded on the 3rd June 1626 by benign Katerina von Lobkowicz, who has entrusted the Italian architect Giovanni Domenico Orsi who finished the work in just five years. So on the 25th March 1631 the Holy House was consecrated in-person by the archbishop of Prague, Cardinal, and Count von Vojtech Arnost Harrach. Initially, the walls of the Holy House are decorated with frescoes but only in the second half of the 17th Century, thanks to the offer by the Countess Alzbeta Apolonia von Kolowrat and the artistic work of Giovanni Battista Comet, the statues are made, that reflect the decoration of the original at Loreto in Italy … and are inspired by the life of the Virgin Mary and the childhood of Jesus. Inside the Holy House there is also an exact replica of Our Lady of Loreto.

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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Prague Sights

 

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