The current image of the Bethlehem Chapel is the outcome of the generous reconstruction from 1950–1954 using the partly preserved medieval structures according to the design of Jaroslav Fragner. The burghers of Prague, shopkeeper Jan Kříž and courtier Hanuš of Mühlheim, who explicitly specified that Czech language be used for sermons in the chapel, founded the original Bethlehem Chapel in 1391. The period after 1402, when Master John Huss preached and administered the chapel, was the chapel’s most significant era. The structure retained its function until the late 18th century when it was closed and torn down. Between 1836 and 1837, a residential tenement house with a façade facing the Bethlehem Square was erected on the vacated space.
During the chapel reconstruction, many interesting archaeological findings were discovered; they are partly displayed in its modern basement. The space covered with a reinforced concrete ceiling presents in situ the uncovered bases of two piers from the original beam ceiling and fifteen bases of a 16th century Late Gothic vault. The local ossuary enshrines bone relics from the underground chapel and former cemetery where one medieval grave is displayed in its original appearance. Three circular blast furnaces from the 11th century are an interesting archaeological find of the underground chapel. They were dug into the natural foundation at a level about three metres under today’s chapel pavement. The time of their origin dates them among the earliest settlements in the Old Town of Prague.
Datum vložení: 21.1.2019 | Datum aktualizace: 3.7.2020
Autor: Jaroslav Podliska