The most notable building at Vysehrad in Prague is the Capitular Church of St. Peter and Paul. It was built already in the 11 th century by the first Bohemian King Vratislav II. as a part of his new residence. It became an important religious centre. The chapter was independent of the Prague bishopric and it was subordinated only to the Pope in Rome.
History of the Church of St. Peter and Paul
The Church of St. Peter and Paul was built according to the church in Rome with the same name. It was rebuilt many times through the centuries. It was a Romanesque basilica originally, and Charles IV. had it rebuilt as a high-Gothic church in the 14 th century. Three aisles and side chapels were built there.
Baroque rebuilding came in 1720s and finally the church gained its neo-Gothic features in the 19 th century. The two high pseudo-Gothic towers were added between 1902 and 1903.
Interior of the church
There is a relief on the tympanum at the main portal, depicting the Last Judgement. The interior of the church is decorated mainly with Art Noveau wall paintings. The most valuable picture in the church is the Virgin Mary from the 14 th century, an excellent Gothic painting. A story says that it was made by Luke the Evangelist himself. It used to be a part of art collections of Charles IV. and later Rudolph II. People reportedly came to the picture to pray for rain during drought periods.
The frontage of the church is decorated with a memorial plaque, commemorating christening of 14 Czech Princes in Regensburg in 845.
A new chime is installed in the Church of St. Peter and Paul at the present. It has 15 bells and it rings at the ecclesiastic and state feasts.
The crypt under the church – former burial place
A Romanesque crypt underneath the Church of St. Peter and Paul was originally built as a burial church by the founder Vratislav II. He was the first ruler buried there in 1092 and later some other members of the royal family were buried in the crypt as well. However, the royal tomb was never found, in spite of the archaeological research at the place.