One of the most interesting points of the programme is, in fact, the opportunity to tour the bell-towers, and in some cases even ring the bells.
The Cathedral bells will ring
The number of bells in churches and bell-towers of the Prague diocese varies considerably. According to diocesan campanologist Petr Vácha it can be said that the average is about two bells to each bell-tower. During Night of Churches it will not only be the bells of the 220 participating churches that ring out. Bells will also ring in other places, including all seven bells of the Cathedral of St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert.
At 6pm the second largest bell in the Czech Republic (after Zikmund) will also ring out. This is the Marie Bell in the tower of the Church of Our Lady before Týn in Prague’s Old Town Square. In Benešov Petr Vácha will give a talk about the biggest and oldest Czech bells. Visitors will hear that the second oldest dated Czech bell, cast in 1322, comes from the bell-tower in the ruins of the Conventual Franciscan Monastery in Benešov. Neither will the oldest known bell in the Czech Republic be overlooked. This bell was cast in 1286 and is now in the care of the Regional Museum in Cheb.
Peals of bells will ring
Not only single bells will be heard, but also complete peals. The best-known of these include the peal of bells at Loreta or Vyšehrad in the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul. This will ring at 11.45pm. In many places it will be possible to visit the bell-towers themselves. The bell-ringer of Prague Cathedral will not only talk about the biggest bell, known as Zikmund, and the newly-cast bells, but also about his passion for bells and bell-ringing.
Hostivař bell-tower to open
There will also be many opportunities to actually try out bell-ringing. For example, in the Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist in Hostivař, visitors will be able to take part, along with bell-ringers, in the initial bell-ringing in the adjacent old bell-tower from 5.45pm.