Loreta (Loreto) is an extraordinary baroque pilgrimage church built in 1626 with funds donated by Countess Lobkowitz. Its grandiose design and the miraculous stories about it became part of Ferdinand II’s campaign to re-Catholicize the Czechs. In order to increase faith in the Catholic religion, the Hapsburgs built replicas of the sacred Santa Casa of Loreto in Italy. It was said that the original Santa Casa was carried by angels from Nazareth to the Italian town of Loreto when Islam had overrun the Holy Land at the turn of the first millennium.
The baroque decoration and a distinctive bell tower were designed by Kristof and Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, two of the most skilled architects of their time. In the interior, you can see two skeletons of the Spanish saints, Felicissima and Marcia, dressed in nobles’ clothing with wax masks over their skulls. In the Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua is Santa Casa decorated with figures depicting scenes from the Virgin Mary’s life. Inside is also located the miracle-working statue of Our Lady of Loreto. Do not miss seeing the treasury on the first floor, which includes a gold-plated and diamond-encrusted monstrance dating from 1699.
Regular services in the Church of the Nativity of our Lord services are held on Sundays at 18.00 and in the Santa Casa on Saturdays at 7.30. If your parish or community would like to make a pilgrimage to the Loreta, you can also hold your own service.
Opening hours: Tues–Sun 9:15 am-12:15 pm and 1-4:30 pm.
Location: Prague Castle, Loretanske Square.
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