1819. Fire of Týn Church. Description by a contemporary (from František Vejdělek: The Memorial to the Fire Brigade of the Royal Capital City of Prague 1853-1903. Prague 1903.) On 29 July a great disaster befell the temple of Týn when a bolt of lightning set it on fire and the whole town was filled with dismay and fear. It had been a nice day but at 4 pm the sky suddenly darkened, scattered grey clouds crashed one against the other and a downpour followed. At about half past five, with a great rumble of thunder, a bolt lightning struck the top of the second tower of Týn, situated by the Týnská lane, and set it alight. In a short while, a little flame shot up from the truss under the very roof and started to spread with might and velocity, although it continued raining for some time still. Soon all the other eight spires around the truss caught fire, the fire reached the bell, the sight of it was terrible, the whole truss like a torch up in the height was burning, the spires, one after another bowed their napes and fell down and an hour and 45 minutes later, only four bare walls of the burning tower could be seen and at 9 the flame was still blazing heavenwards from the tower like from a huge chimney. The following morning, the tower still belched a lot of smoke, the bell, weighing 27 cents and cast by bell-founder Brikcí in 1585, melted and the bell-metal was dripping down. All human help was fruitless and the fire engines were unable to reach the fire, so the efforts had to be aimed at saving the church and surrounding houses. Fortunately, the wind was blowing form south-west and the second tower was spared destruction. It was impressive how all the classes of Prague inhabitants were moved by the loss, how everybody looked with pain at the destruction of the venerable, ancient structure, how everybody eagerly rushed to help to extinguish the fire, and those who bore witness to the dreadful theatre, shall undoubtedly remember it very vividly. Towards the evening, when the fierce heat was still blazing upwards from the tower and the firemen were working incessantly, the venerable Capuchins of Hradčany came, knelt in front of the town hall and prayed, their hands raised, to the almighty master of the elements for protection against disaster. On the following day, the town council ordered that the mud caused by the fire-fighting efforts be removed from the church and thus services were suspended for several days. The fire had devoured the whole inside of the tower all the way to the vaulting that prevented it, by lucky chance, to advance further. A few days later, the tower was covered with a low shingled roof and the government issued a permit for a general collection of money in Prague as well as countryside churches which raised some 7,000 Viennese golden coins within a year. Burning tower of Týnský Church struck by lightning on 29 July 1819, engraving, MMP Fire of Týn Church in 1819, from the memorial of Prague firemen, 1903, MMP Fire of the tower of Týnský Church on 29 July 1819, MMP View of Týnský Church on fire, gouache on paper, (29 July 1819) Stop 1 – Týnský Church, Old Town Square 1819 On 29 July at about 4:30 pm, lightning set fire to one of the two main towers (the northern one) of Týnský Church. The truss burnt down as well as the whole roof and the inside of the northern tower all the way to the vaulting. Attempts to put out the fire kept failing – water from fire engines could not reach the flames. The heat also destroyed the heavy bell. Multitudes of Prague inhabitants watched the destruction and tried to help. People were awed by the fire and many depictions were made of it.