SAINT GEORGE’S MONASTERY AND BASILICA AT PRAGUE CASTLE

Prague 1, Town of Hradčany

square U sv. Jiří, Jiřská street

Early medieval basilica and torso of monastery.

The basilica is accessible within the Prague Castle visitor circuit and during the Holy Mass on the Feast of St. Ludmila (Sep 16); the remains of a medieval monastery are hidden.

Prior to 921, Prince Vratislav I founded the Church of Saint George as the second church at Prague Castle. It soon functioned as a burial ground where the remains of Princess Ludmila were transferred in 925. Later, Boleslav I dedicated St George’s Church to the new female convent which was founded after the imperial example and which was the first monastic facility in the Duchy of Bohemia. Mlada, a daughter of Boleslav I, was the head of the mission in Rome with the request to establish this convent as well as the Prague diocese. Around 970, Mlada became the first abbess. In 999, Prince Boleslav II was buried in the basilica.

To this day, there is no consensus between archaeologists and building historians regarding the evaluation of the research. As revealed in the last review of sources in 2015, the earliest relics of the first stage of the basilica, which are preserved and largely hidden underground, do not come from Vratislav’s church from the first quarter of the 10th century as was assumed previously but from the structure built around 1000 (already made of ashlar masonry). It was the basilica with the western crypt. Cylindrical pillars located east of the crypt separated the nave from the aisles. The eastern apse of the basilica remains unknown – yet, princely graves including the grave of Boleslav II († 999) and an earlier cross structure were located in the eastern part of the nave. The basilica has been reconstructed according to its earliest preserved stage from around 1142.

The earliest stage of the convent buildings from the founding in the 10th century and the situation after 1142 remains unknown – they may have been made of wood and perhaps disappeared with later reconstructions. Only relics of the High Romanesque convent from the time after the 1142 fire have survived in the current basement below the level of today’s garth. It is the western wing of the convent with five continuing rooms and an indication of the northern wing damaged by the foundations in the High Middle Ages. The Romanesque masonry was built below the terrain level; as a result, the convent building must have been two-storeyed. There were lime floors in the rooms which were later paved with stone tiles. The southernmost room followed directly the basilica and its traces have survived under the southern arm of the current cloister. The eastern line of the former Romanesque quadrangle is indicated by the single-nave Romanesque convent chapel (formerly of the Virgin Mary, today of Saint Anne). The Romanesque convent did not suit the needs of the later nuns and was entirely reconstructed in the 14th century. Nevertheless, some of the older rooms survived in the form of cellars. Traces of the cloister enclosing the garth have remained from the High Middle Ages.

Datum vložení: 21.1.2019 | Datum aktualizace: 31.8.2020
Autor: Katarína Mašterová

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