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The name Loreto has origins in the Italian pilgrim place where Santa Casa – Holy Cabin is located, originally a cottage inhabited by Virgin Mary in Nazareth in Palestine, where supposedly Archangel Gabriel announced to her that she would become mother of God. From here, she and St. Joseph went to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, and later she came back again. The Holy Cabin has, shortly after Virgin Mary's death, become a worshipped relic, which was however badly damaged after the invasion of the Saracens (Arabian Muslims) into Palestine. Legend says that when the crusading army left Palestine in 1291, a miracle happened. Angels took the Holy Cabin first to Dalmatia and from here into the town in Northern Italy, into a laurel grove, after which the town is called Loreto, which is Laurentum in Latin (laurus – laurel). Archaeological research later confirmed that a part of the brickwork really is identical with Mary's cabin, but it was probably the pope who had it brought from Nazareth in the 13th century. Based on the Italian model from architect Donato Bramante, Loreto was also built in other Catholic countries; in our country it was namely after the defeat at Bílá Hora in 1620. The Holy Cabin in Mikulov, built by Cardinal Diettrichstein, became a model for Prague's Loreto, as Countess Kateřina Benigna of Lobkowicz admired it during her visit. She donated Lobkovicz land plots for the construction of Prague’s Loreto, she entrusted the administration of the future sanctuary to the Capuchins, and she called the builder Giovanni Battista Orsi from Vienna. When he died, Andrea Allio continued with the work. The construction started in 1626, the sanctuary was canonized by Cardinal Harrach in 1631, and the construction continued for many years after that. The Holy Cabin, under which there is the Lobkowicz family crypt established by countess Lobkowicz, is located in the middle of the courtyard surrounded by six chapels. The cabin is decorated by marble reliefs of Giovanni Bartolommeo Cometa, who imitated the originals of Sansovino. One of the reliefs reminds the legend on transferring the house. Inside, there is a 110 cm high Virgin Mary of Loreto in a silver niche, with baby Jesus, from the 1620s, carved out from lime wood. The statue became black over time, which made it even more alike with the Italian original from the cedar wood. It was partly due to the former means of lighting with candles. There is an artificially created crack based on the cabin in Italian Loreto, where the stroke of lightning was supposed to awake the villagers to protect the cabin when a thief got in.


Metro100 A    MALOSTRANSKÁ address100 Loretánské náměstí 15, Praha 1
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