Church of the Assumption
The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the oldest churches in Pilsen. It is part of the Franciscan monastery, which holds an exposition called the Museum of Religious Art. One of the most beautiful nativity scenes is exhibited in the church every year during the Christmas holidays.
Much like the neighbouring monastery, this church on Františkánská Street has quite a tale to tell. First, it was destroyed by the Hussites, then by the Mansfeld’s army and, finally, the church’s Baroque-style reconstruction withstood the Thirty Years’ War. Despite its rocky history, you can visit the church today and admire its original Gothic-style cross-ribbed vaults. The main Baroque altar was made according to Rubens’ painting of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The façade, visible from Františkánská Street, was redesigned by Jakub Auguston during the first half of the 18th century.
Chapel of Saint Barbara
Both the oldest and most precious places in the monastery are located in the Chapel of Saint Barbara. You can admire the frescos painted on the walls, dating back to the second half of the 15th century. The frescos feature scenes from the life of Saint Barbara. You can also view the frescos brought over during the 70s from the former Dominican monastery. It’s interesting to note that the oldest surviving image of the city Pilsen can be seen in the background of the biblical scenes in the centre fresco.
Nativity scene on Františkánská Street
Even though the Church of the Assumption nativity scene isn’t the oldest, it does belong among the most interesting within the entire region. The scene was carved by Tyrolean carvers just before World War II. It comprises of figures ranging from 3 cm to 1.5 m in height and includes an elephant, camel and horse. This nativity scene is also different in that it displays two Infant Jesuses of various heights. On Christmas Eve a tiny sleeping Baby Jesus can be seen in the little caves, who is then exchanged for a larger, sitting Infant Jesus as the days go by. It’s also interesting to note that two of the figures look strikingly familiar to the Liškový couple, who were responsible for creating the nativity scene. The figures in question are the shepherd with the moustache and the herdswoman with the pitcher.