Prague Old Town Square - Tyn Church
The Church of Holy Lady before Tyn, or simply Tyn Church, located on the Eastern side of the Old Town Square, is probably the fourth most attractive building in medieval part of Prague - after the Castle, Charles Bridge and Old Town Hall. This is not because of size, religious importance, architectonic significance or inner decoration - the Church is special by its appearance on the Square. Yes it is the second largest sacral building in Prague, nicely renovated and well maintained, but the main thing about it is the way how it is integrated into the surrounding block of houses and palaces.
You can never see the whole front side of the Church. Its lower part is hidden behind palaces on the Eastern side of the Old Town Square. If you want to enter the Church, you must walk the passage leading through the Gallery of Art Palace to a small backyard from which the main entrance to the Church is accessible. There you can see how the Church is integrated into the block of surrounding buildings.
This setup creates an unique look and feel of the Church. It is best admired from the corner of Old Town Square and Melantrichova Street. From there you can see the whole beauty - the palaces and the Church behind and above them.
The reason for this setup needs to be traced back to the medieval times. The whole area behind the Tyn Church, today known as Ungelt, had been used as customs station and was fortified. The name "Tyn" meant "fortress". It was the place where salesmen coming with goods to the City of Prague had to pay the toll and where they were allowed to store their goods before they brought it to the city markets.
There are several streets around the Tyn Church which have been preserved in their original shape since the medieval times. It is worth exploring them all by walking there and back - the Tynska Street, the Ungelt area, Stupartska, Dlouha and Celetna streets.
Entering the Church itself, you can admire the late Gothic style of Central Europe. It is worth the visit but do not expect too much.