An impressive Romanesque church hidden behind a Baroque curtain...
The St. George’s Basilica is one of the oldest witnesses to the history of the Prague Castle. Its stone towers take us back to Romanesque times during which the gigantic Romanesque Basilica of Spytihněv stood on the site of the St. Vitus Cathedral, and the white blocks of Romanesque churches, palaces, and houses dominated the city.
The church’s roots date back to the 10th century. It was then that the first basilica was built, and the oldest Benedictine convent in Bohemia attached to it was founded. Today’s church is the result of the restoration following a fire in the 12th century. The Romanesque layer from precisely this era was enhanced by the 19th century reconstruction of the monument. The reconstruction revealed the original wall and led to the removal of many elements and additions from later artistic eras. Of the ones left intact, the most significant is undoubtedly the southern portal, with a relief of St. George with the dragon: it is among the first Renaissance monuments not only at the Prague Castle but in the entire Czech lands. The Baroque era is represented by the façade and chapel of St. John of Nepomuk, and with their rich expression, they contrast almost provocatively with the austerity of the Romanesque towers.
This place is worth a visit, not only because of the main triple nave with the monumental Romanesque apse, but also the crypt or the chapel of The Virgin Mary, whose masonry walls survived a medieval fire. This place is actually one of the few surviving testaments to the original 10th century church. Special significance to the church is rendered by the presence of the grave of the distinguished Czech saint, St. Ludmila, the grandmother of St. Wenceslas.
A visit to the St. George’s Basilica is only possible with a valid ticket for the small or big circuit tour of the Prague Castle. You can also see this site during one of our private tours of the Castle with English-speaking guides.
There are two white Romanesque towers on the basilica. Prague Castle tour guides have nicknamed one of them Adam and the other Eve. Take a close look and you’ll soon understand which is which.Šárka