Czech Open Information Project


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.