All the way to the west of the Hradcany, the Castle Hill, you'll find the famous Loreto sanctuary. This really is a place with a history. The story goes that during the 13th century's crusade to the Middle East, some angels wanted to protect the house of Maria from the winning muslims. The crusades were being lost and the hosue should be protected. They flew the hosue over to the Italian town of Loreto.
When the battle of the White Mountain (at Petrin-Hill) was won by the catholics in 1620, they decided that the non-believing city of Prague needed a sanctuary like the one in Loreto. Between 1626 and 1636 the Loreto-cloister was built as "Santa Casa". It became an important place for pilgrims until today and it also has an important role as treasury for the Catholic Church. Hundreds of pieces of art, clothes, books and gold, silver and diamants are kept here.
From the outside Loreto looks baroc, with pillars and lots of statues. The tall central tower has a bell that was made in Amsterdam. It plays the Maria melody every hour. This is because of another nice story: a widow of a neighbouring area once adopted 27 children. In that time the pest ruled Prague. Every time one of her children died, she paid to play Loreto's bells. She did that lots of time. By the time she died herself, she was all out of money. At that moment the Holy Madonna of Loreto let the angels sing for her. Since then, every hour the bells play for the ones who need it.
The Loreto is a sanctuary, not a monastery as I first thought. This Baroque 17th-century complex was made to impress in an attempt to win the Czechs back to the catholic faith. Impress it does, and the wide facade with the elegant tower is one of the prettiest things I saw in Prague. My personal opinion of course, but with so much beauty in this city it does say something, I guess.
Inside the walls is a copy of Mary's house in Nazareth. Or so they say, I'm not sure if I really believe that. Of course there's is a building that they call the Santa Casa, but I'm not sure if it really is a copy of that old house. which, BTW, is said to be preserved in an Italian place called Loreto. Anyway, who am I to judge. I didn't even see it. When I passed by the door to the complex was still closed. You'll have to pay to get in. I wonder if locals in the 17th century were charged too. Guess not, the original goal of the Loreto, to convert people, just doesn't seem to matter anymore. However, this is one of a few things I didn't mind having to pay for, but as it was still closed and time was limited I will have to wait until next time.
On the entrance of the sanctuary you can see the statues of the saints Joseph and John The Baptist realized by Ondrej Quitainer.
In the Baroque bell tower there is a carillon of 30 bells created between 1691 and 1694 by Claudy Fremy in Amsterdam.
Loreto Square is one of the nicest areas in Prague. It's often much quieter up here than nearby at the Castle. The Loreta Church and Cernin Palace, which both face on to the square, are amongst Prague's most beautiful buildings. Also, don't miss the statue of Edward Benes, President of Czechosolvakia from 1935 until 1939, when he fled to Britain after the Nazi invasion.
There is an old legend, saying that the small house of Jesus' mother Mary was taken by 4 angels from Jerusalem to Loretto in Italy ( close to Ancona ) in the year 1291.
Loretto became a famous place for pilgrims since, and plenty of Loretto-chapels were built all over the world.
Giovanni Orsi from Como and Andrea Allio started to build the " Casa Santa " as the centre of the Loreto-monastery of Prague in 1664.
It looks really great from outside with all its ornaments and sculptures, but inside there is just a replica of the small house of Mary, a portait and a small sculpture of Mary.
Loretto is located close to the castle so you can combine your castle visit together with Loretto. The baroque style sanctuary houses a replica of Santa Casa. There is also a treasury section on the upper level. The admission fee is 100 CZK, but you have to pay extra for photography.
The Loreto is a catholic monastery, just a few blocks away from the castle. As Prague was always disputed ground between the catholic and protestant churches, this beautiful monasteries purpose was to impress the non-catholic part of the population and possibly help converting them to the true faith.
If you take Castle Hill to its westernmost extension (by now you will have seen the twin domes of the Strahov Monastery), you'll pass the Loreto shrine and Cerninsky Palace. Inside Loreto you'll find much to marvel about, but sadly too much to remember -- photography is strictly forbidden. The world famous collections of chalices and monstrances is guarded at all times.
The tour of the museum at the Loreto shrine, justly famous for its collection of chalices and monstrances, is well worth the money. Classical performances (as in so many other places) are held at Loreto regularly, though of the performances themselves I can say nothing but this: Don't try to enter without a ticket to either one, or some stiff matron will give you a glaring send-off.
This sanctuary is one of my favourite places in Prague. It has a peaceful atmosphere, seemingly far away from the troubles of this world. The Casa Santa, the actual sanctuary, was built 1626-31 by Giovanni Battista Orsi and is decorated with absolutely beautiful stucco works. It is surrounded by cloisters. On their upper floor you have access to an amazing display of religious works of art. The Baroque church is also worth a visit.
Admission fee is 110 CZK. Since June 2010 taking photos is allowed - the fee is 100 CZK. No tripod, no flash.
The Baroque Church of the Nativity of Our Lord was build in 1734-35. In the Tower there are 27 Loretto bells. Every hour the bells play a Marian song : We Greet You a Thousend Times.
Inside you can see the liturgical treasury. Don`t miss the monstrance called Praque Sun. It wight 20 kg and is embellished with 6222 diamonds. Really great!!!
The Loretto Church in Prague looks rather ordinary from the outside, but is a wonderful Baroque jewel on the inside. In addition to the church, you should also visit the Treasury, which contains some beautiful gold and jewel-encrusted religious items such as chalices and monstrances.
I must admit that the concept of the Loreto is a strange beast. A church, I guess, has a replica of the Santa Casa in Loreto. For what it is, it is quite a complex. For reasons known only to those that gave, it has quite a treasury and gold, jewels,
The Loreto is one of the country's most important pilgrimage sites. Commissioned by Katerina Lobkowicz, this Catholic cloister dates back to 1626, and its center piece is the Santa Casa - the sacred house of the Virgin Mary - a replica of the house where Mary lived when she was told she would give birth to Jesus. It lies at the center of the Loreto's courtyard, and the beautiful cloisters that surround the Santa Casa were completed in 1661 to accommodate the Loreto's numerous pilgrims. Its lovely ornate arcades feature several small chapels along with a church that was completed in the 18th century. On the second floor, visitors can also see the cloister's treasury.
The Loretto complex was built around the 'Casa Santa' in the 17th century, and has been the place of pilgrimage ever since.
The large bell-tower contains the diamond carillon of 27 bells, aka the Prague Sun, weighing over 12 kilos and embellished with more than 6,000 diamonds.