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Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Písek)

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Title: Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Písek)  
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Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Písek)

Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a basilica with a nave and two aisles. It is located in the historical centre in Písek, Czech Republic. The church tower on the south side of the western facade has become a symbol of the town, it is also the highest building in Písek.


  • History 1
  • Exterior 2
    • Western facade 2.1
      • Monumental tower 2.1.1
    • Northern facade 2.2
  • Interior 3
    • Presbytery 3.1
    • Nave 3.2
    • Aisles 3.3
  • Curiosity 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The construction of the church started with the building of presbytery in year 1240. Walls of the presbytery together with its polygonal ending were made first. Then was built a roof frame, which was protecting the work during the construction of the vault. There was built a temporary wall in a triumphal arch of the presbytery to start the religious ceremonials before the church cunstruction was completed.[1]

The work continued with a construction of two towers in corners of the western facade. At the same time were built side walls of the church. A main entrance was built in the northern wall, which was quite uncommon. After finishing the exterior walls a sacristy by the presbytery and an arcade, they were able to build a cross vault above the nave and two aisles. After that, the temporary wall was demolished and the church was completed. The church was probably consecrated around 1360. The Late Gothic construction period is connected with the master builder Mikulas Pisecký, who changed the western fasade and he constructed the south tower. The Neo-Gothic reconstruction was made according to plans by the architect Josef Mocker.


Western facade

The entrance portal in this part of the church was built in the middle of 14th century. There are organ loft in the wall of the northern tower.

Monumental tower

The monumental southern tower built in the western facade is 74 metres height and it has become the symbol of the town Písek. The construction of the tower started in 1489. In 1555 the lightening hit to the new tower and it burned down.[2] During the following reconstruction was built the bulbous roof (also called onion roof) instead of the old saddle roof.
At the top is a observation deck with a tracery railing. Behind the observation deck is a room for watchman, because in the past was the tower a part of the town defense system. At each side of the observation deck are clocks, which were moved from the city castle in 1860. There are some pointed windows at each side of the tower.

Northern facade

During the reconstruction of the monumental tower in the 16th century were made changes also in the northern part of the church. Above the north portal were built Renaissance shield arches with a new roof construction of the northern aisle. In 1726 was built an entrance hall in front of the entrance portal. It was removed in the middle of 19th century while the church was in another reconstruction. In the same years an old sacristy next to the presbytery was demolished. The window above the old sacristy was enlarged to the same height as other windows in the presbytery. It has became the biggest window in the presbytery because of the original window. Windows in the nave above aisles or in the sacristy are usually wider than in the presbytery.


In the church was used a so-called „bonded construction system“ in which the length of one field of the nave correspond to the two fields of the aisle and to two arcades. The system was interrupted by the tower which was built on the two western fields of the southern aisle.


The presbytery contains one cross-ribb vaulted bay and polygonal ending, which is radially vaulted and in its center is a simple keystone without any decoration. The second keystone in the western part has been decorated with a radially lined up overlapping leaves. The axial pointed window is noticeably larger than other pointed windows, except the widened window in the northern facade.
The adjoing bay of the presbytery has a ribbed vault connected to the reduced supports of the vault ended by a console. The consoles have simple floral and geometric motifs.


Also the nave has the cross-cross vault. It creates a quite lowered space behind the entrance portal.

On the border of the northern aisle and the nave are placed paintings Enthroned Madonna and Jesus crowned by two angels from 1270. The fresco of the Crucifixion is on the border of the southern aisle and the nave.


In the southern aisle next to the fresco of the Crucifixion is an altar of Virgin Mary of Písek from the middle of 14th century. The original painting of the Virgin Mary has been stolen and from the 1975 is exhibited a copy. On the left are vaulted windows with expanded moulding. There is also an entrance to the chapel of Saint John of Nepomuk, which was added in years 1741 – 1743 to the southern aisle. This radical extension of the church ground plan was possible, because a churchyard was moved behind the city wall in 1549. Today the chapel serves as sacristy and it has its own entrance, which was made in 1723.

The northern aisle is less changed by reconstructions. In the western part are enlarged chapel of Saint John of Nepomuk.


  • The original main portal on the north side is quite unusual. Its origin may be due to the orientation of the church of East-West and dropping it to the highest point surrounded by walls. The church was in that place parallel to the walls and the best access road was straight from the today's´ Ales Square to the north side of the church as could be clearly seen today.
  • Throughout the history of the building were built entrance portals in all sides of the church. Even there was an entrance portal leading directly into the presbytery, which was bricked up in 2001. The southern entrance was bricked up two years earlier.
  • The tower clock swapped size of pointers because of economic reasons. The big pointer shows hours and the small pointer shows minutes.


  • Soukup, Josef: Soupis památek Historických a uměleckých, díl 33. Politický okres písecký (1910), str. 202-226.
  • Adámek Jan, Sommer Jan; Všetečková Zuzana, Středověký kostel Panny Marie v Písku, Prácheňské nakladatelství firmy Ires (2001), 145 str. ISBN 80-86566-00-5
  • Adámek Jan, Škoch Jiří, Písecké katolické kostely, Písek, Římskokatolická farnost Písek v Prácheňském nakladatelství (2005), 54 str. ISBN 80-86566-26-9


  1. ^ Adámek, Jan; Sommer, Jan; Všetečková, Zuzana (2001). Středověký kostel Panny Marie v Písku. Písek: Prácheňské nakladatelství firmy Ires. p. 145.  
  2. ^ Soukup, Josef. "Soupis památek Historických a uměleckých". 

External links

On-line tourist guide
Official tourist page
Virtual visit

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