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Basilica of St. George - Jiřské Square, Prague Castle

Basilica of St. George

Jiřské Square, Prague Castle

Romanesque basilica of St.George is the oldest preserved building of the Prague Castle. It was founded aroung 920 during the reign of Vratislav I as a single-naved church from which only the foundations were preserved. The building was enlarged during the reign of Boleslav II in 973 as the Prague Bishopry and the Convent of St. George were established; a short triple-naved basilica in a pre-Romanesque style was founded. Until 1005 the basilica served as the official burial place of the Přemyslid family. The basilica was elongated into its present length after a fire in 1142 when the towers were built (northern one named Eva and the southern one called Adam) and a triple-naved crypt under the main choir too. In the first half of the 13th century the Chapel of St. Ludmila was built-on. The western façade is from mid-14th century and in 1657-80 it was restyled in early Baroque style by F. Caratti; the façade is quite simple and moderately decorated. The last part of the building, the oval Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk based on a plan by F. M. Kaňka was built in 1718-22 on the occasion of St. John’s beatification. At the turn of the 19th and 20th century the church was renovated based on a purism plan by E. Mach. The minimalistic interior hides the tombs of its founders – princes Vratislav I and Boleslav II, St.Ludmila, patron of the Czech state, is buried in the chapel of St.Ludmila. The most precious part of the church decorations are partially preserved Romanesque frescos of Heavenly Jerusalem on the choir walls or a fresco and a painting by V. V. Rainer in the St. John of Nepomuk Chapel. Three-part Romanesque relief of Madonna with Jesus was originally placed in the tympanum of the main portal of the basilica but now is found in the crypt by the alter; is it is one of the most precious artefacts of Czech Romanesque sculpture. The church is used as a concert hall.

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