TYN COURT (UNGELT)

Prague 1, Old Town

block between Týnská, Štupartská and Malá Štuparts

the extinct medieval courtyard

Public transport - metro station Náměstí Republiky (yellow B line) then walking along Jakubská Street. Both the courtyard and some monuments are freely accessible.

Tyn Court is one of the well-preserved medieval courts, from time immemorial regarded as a witness of the earliest history of the settlement below Prague Castle. It is recorded in written sources from the rule of Bořivoj II (1100–1107) and in 1135. However, these sources date from the 13th and first half of the 14th centuries. As it emerges from archaeological findings, the court was really created in the 12th century. Later, it assumed the role of a ducal and royal customs house and a centre for foreign merchants. A reliable written record about Tyn Court having this function dates from 1251; the codification of the rights of foreign merchants is from 1304. They stayed there, displayed and sold their goods to the local vendors, and paid fees from the profits. This duty is reflected in the German name Ungelt which means customs duty. As recorded in medieval sources, the traded goods included horses, oxen, leather, wine, hops, wax, honey, fish, shields, cloth, salt, and grain. The municipal registers give an idea about the fees – 6,197 threescores of groschen were collected between 1311 and 1322. The Czech name Tyn refers to a lightly fortified space while the Latin Laeta curia (Merry Court) refers to the life in the court. During the Hussite riots, the Old Town municipality took over Ungelt to return it to the royal hands as late as the mid-15th century.

Archaeological research evidenced the earliest settlement at the beginning of the 12th century when the marketplace in the area of today’s Old Town Square also formed. In its earliest stage, the court encompassed the western half of today’s Ungelt and was surrounded by a moat which ran across the centre of today’s Ungelt. The moat’s fragments were detected also outside the block. The housing of this area whose character fully corresponds with the term ‘tyn’ was exclusively wooden. During the second building stage, which was carried out around the mid-13th century, the moat was backfilled and replaced with a stone wall. The former wooden structures were gradually replaced by stone ones. The increasing foreign trade resulted in the expansion of Ungelt to the east and in building a new ashlar wall. Archaeological findings and interpretations of written sources agree on dating this change to the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. Fragments of several large sunken buildings with assumed aboveground wooden frames have been discovered during the research; assumingly, they were storage houses for goods. A stony road ran across the court’s centre in the Middle Ages. When the trading function terminated, burgher houses were constructed and reconstructed while observing the overall ground plan form of the enclosed court.

Datum vložení: 24.1.2019 | Datum aktualizace: 3.7.2020
Autor: Zdeněk Dragoun

Použité prameny:
  • Dragoun, Zd. – Škabrada, J. – Tryml, M. 2002: Románské domy v Praze. Praha – Litomyšl.
  • Hrdlička, L. 2005: Týnský dvůr a středověká Praha. Praha.
  • Hrdlička, L. – Dragoun, Z. – Richterová, J. 1984: Praha 1 – Staré Město, Ungelt. Pražský sborník historický 17, 154–165.