Czech Open Information Project
THE CONVENT OF ST. GEORGE
The convent of Benedictine nuns with the basilica of St. George are among the oldest
stone structures of the entire castle complex. No later than the year 921 Prince
Vratislav built a triple-aisled basilica on this site and next to it a convent was founded in
973, the first of such institutions for women in Bohemia. The first abbess was Mlada
Premysl. When new buildings were added to the convent the church was also renovated.
It underwent alterations in the last quarter of the 11th c. and again after the fire of 1 1
42, from which it emerged much as it appears today, as a basilica of Saxon type with
pillars and twin towers, a triple-aisled crypt at the east end, a raised square choir with
round apse bearing traces of the original murals dating from the second half of the 12th
c. and representing the Last Judgement. The stone tympanum is late Romanesque,
about 1220, representing the Virgin enthroned with royal donors, now in the Prague
National Gallery. The south chapel was built about 921 to receive the tomb of St.
Ludmila. It underwent alterations at the end of the 14th c., when the Parler masons
carved a tombstone with a figure of the saint. In the 14th c. the convent was renowned
for its manuscript illumination. The Renaissance and baroque periods also left their
mark, the Renaissance portal in the south wall is the work of Benedikt Ried's studio. A
new facade was fashioned in the third quarter of the 17th c. and between 1718 and
1721 the chapel of St. Jan Nepomucky was erected in the south side and adorned with
murals by V. V. Reiner. A purist restoration of the basilica was undertaken in 1880-
1890. The adaptation of the convent for the National Gallery, exhibiting Czech Gothic,
mannerist and baroque painting and sculpture, was completed in 1976 in accordance
with the plans of the architects Frantisek Cubr and Josef Pilar.