Monastery of St. James

Located in the Old Town of Prague, on the corner of Štuparská and Jakubská streets, this ancient church of St. James was mentioned already in the 12th century. Both church and monastery belong to the most astonishing sights in Prague, combining various architectural styles starting with Gothic and culminating with Baroque. With the exception of educational and musical activities, there historical sights were up to today closed to the public. Around 1310, the coronation banquet of John of Luxembourg and Elizabeth Premyslid took place in this place. Around 1337 the second wedding reception of John of Luxembourg, with Queen Beatrice, took place in this cloister.

Later, Charles IV exercised his title as the Margrave of Moravia. He was also present when the church of St. Jacob was consecrated in 1374 by Archbishop Jan Očko of Vlašim. There are 21 altars in the church made by such prominent Baroque masters as Heinsch, Brandl and Reiner, whose painting called The Martyrdom of St James adorns the main altar.

The Church St James is the second longest church in Prague (after the Cathedral of St Vitus). Most attention probably attracts the baroque tomb of the Czech chancellor Vratislav z Mitrovic. Regarded as the most attractive tomb it was designed by Jan Bernard Fisher of Erlach and decorated with sculptures by Ferdinand Maxmilián Brokoff. Underneath the tomb is a crypt containing the tombs of the Earls of Mitrovice.

There is a legend connected to the tomb - the earl was buried alive by mistake and four years later, when the tomb was opened, his body was found in the sitting position trying in vain to lift the top off the tomb. However, in reality he died and was buried in Vienna. There is a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary on the main altar, a priceless piece from the 15th century. Interestingly, the statue was always considered to have miraculous powers.

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