As the oldest preserved religious building in Prague, St. George’s Basilica (Bazilika Sv. Jiří) is obviously an extremely important place for many different reasons. The church dates back to 920, when it was founded by Duke Vratislaus I of Bohemia and the remains of Bohemia’s first martyr – Duchess Ludmilla – were placed here in 925. In 973 the church was expanded thanks to the founding of St. George’s Abbey and the reconstruction led to an Ottonian Early Romanesque style triple-aisle basilica. In 1142 a fire badly damaged the building, but it was restored to the church that we can see today.
Over the years various additions have been given to the church, starting with the addition of two white marlstone towers during the reconstruction in 1142, along with two sets of Romanesque windows. In the 13th century St. Ludmila Chapel was added and her tomb was laid there. Much of the original building has been preserved, such as the relief showing the angels crowning the Madonna and the side showing Ottokar I and his sister, Abbess Agnes.
Other additions include the church portal, which shows St. George fighting a dragon; the Baroque style of the western side of the church, which was completed in the 17th century; the sandstone statues – probably created by Johann-Georg Bendl – found at the front of the church; the Baroque Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk, built between 1718 and 1722; and the statue of St. John of Nepomuk, which is found inside the church.
Open: 9am-6pm daily (April to October); 9am-4pm daily (November to March).
St. George’s Convent
St. George’s Convent holds a fantastic collection of 19th century art, which is displayed in collaboration with the Museum of Decorative Arts. This exhibition starts with a display of art from the artists of the court of Rudolph II, including Hans von Aschen , Benedikt Wurzelbauer, Bartholomeus Spranger and Adrian de Vries. On the first floor you’ll find a really significant collection of Baroque artwork, which were often used to beautify the churches and other religious sites around Prague in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Some of the Baroque artists displayed here include Peter Brandl, Václav Reiner and the sculptor Matthias Braun, as well as Škréta. While you are at St. George’s Convent, you should also make sure you take in the work by Jan Kupecký and Ignaz Platzer; the latter of these was commissioned to decorate the Church of St. Nicolas in the Lesser Quarter.
Location: Prague Castle, Jiřské nám. 33
Open: daily, April–October, 9am–6pm; November–March, 9am–4pm; closed 24/12.