The Santa Casa, at least the original one, was the house where it is believed that the Archangel Gabriel told Mary about the future birth of her son Jesus.
It is also believed that the original house and the scene played out within it, were in Nazareth. The original Santa Casa was moved from Nazareth to Loreto, Italy in 1278 because it was being damaged by the Saracens. The legend has it that because of this, the house was lifted up and moved by a host of angels, but it is quite possible that the angels took the human form of sailors and the moving was done brick by brick on a ship at the bequest of an Italian family by the name of Angeli.
In any case, it’s a great story and there were fifty replicas of the house built in Bohemia and Moravia. This one, at The Loreto, is by far the most venerated. The building of the small house began on June 3rd, 1626, by the grace of Baroness Benigna Katharina von Lobkowitz. She chose an Italian, G. B. Orsi, from Vienna as the architect of the Casa. It was for centuries the focus of pilgrimages by Catholics from all over Eastern Europe.
The Santa Casa also contains a miracle-working Black Madonna, Our Lady of Loreto, made of linden wood.
The Santa Casa
Loretanske Namesti 7
Hradcany, Prague 1
Open: Tu – Su: 9am – 12:15pm and 1pm – 4:30pm
Getting There: Trams 22 and 23, go to the top of the hill and follow the signs. If you walk all the way to The Castle, you’ve gone too far.