The Church of Our Lady of the Snows was supposed to be a coronation church. It was founded in 1347 as an imposing building with the highest arch of all Prague churches. Unfortunately, the building work was interrupted by Hussite wars and the church remains unfinished. However, it has an interesting high altar and there are many valuable works of art in the church.
Charles IV. founded the Church of Our Lady of the Snow in the area of Prague New Town soon after his coronation in 1347. It belonged to the White Friars monastery. The ambitious building was planned to occupy the whole area of the present Jungmann Square. The choir with the 34 metres high arch was built in the 14th century, but then the Hussite revolution came and the building works had to stop.
The church was taken over by the Protestant Hussites. One of their leaders, Jan Zelivsky, used to preach there and he is also buried in the church. The building later declined, it became desolate and the choir arch collapsed.
The order of Barefoot Carmelites gained the monastery with the church at the beginning of the 17th century. They rebuilt the arch and the roof.
Origin of the name of the church
Inside the Church of Our Lady of the Snows, there is the highest columned altar in Prague. The picture at the altar depicts a legend, which gave the church its name: the legend about founding the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome. A heavy snowfall in August was allegedly a sign given by Our Lady, that a church should be built at the place in Rome.
Works of art in the Church of Our Lady of the Snows
You can see Baroque paintings by V. V. Reiner there and sculptures of saints from the 17th century. The courtyard in front of the church is decorated with statues of St. John of Nepomuk and Petr of Alkantara from 1715. There is a Gothic portal at the entrance of the former monastery´s cemetery.
At the present, there are concerts of choral music held in the Church of Our Lady of the Snows.