Prague Minos Guide

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17. století

Prague's Loreto carillon

How the bells rang for the first time in the Loreto's tower
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The Loreto’s frontal façade is dominated by a tall baroque tower built in 1693, where the famous carillon is located. It was built by the clockmaker Petr Neumann in 1694; the bells were cast by the Amsterdam bell founder Claudius Fremy. The carillon rang for the first time on August 15th, 1695. There are two systems: one is run by a clockwork, which activates every hour the playing of the Marian song “Tisíckrát Pozdravujem Tebe” (We Greet You a Thousand Times), and the second system is run by a musician and can play various compositions in a limited range of octaves. The legend says that close to the church on the New World street, there once lived a poor widow, who had as many children as there were bells in the Loreto. She saved silver coins for

them, gifts from their godmother, which they were to receive once they had grown up. But the family was struck by the plague, and one child began to die after another. Every time a child had died, the mother would take one coin for the funeral procession, with enough left for the ringing of the death knell by one of the Loreto’s bells. When she sent off her last child in this manner she herself became ill. She lamented that she had no one left to see her off and at that moment all the bells began to ring at once creating a beautiful melody. She became entranced in the music, which reminded her of the voices of her children, and with a peaceful look on her face she fell in everlasting sleep. Since then the carillon plays every hour from 8am to 6pm.


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