The second oldest Prague church and the oldest one preserved at the Prague Castle – that´s the St George´s Basilica. It is also one of the most important Romanesque buildings in the country. Founded in 920 by Premyslid Duke Vratislav I., it was intended to be the main sanctuary in Bohemia.
St. George´s Basilica was a burial place of rulers from Premyslid dynasty till 1055. Several rulers from the early existence of the country are buried there. The first Czech Christian martyr St. Ludmila was buried there as well, already in the 10 th century. Her relics were moved to the Chapel of St. Ludmila later.
Architecture of the St. George´s Basilica
When you look at the St. George´s Basilica, the most noticeable are the two white prismatic towers. They were added to the basilica in the 12 th century, when it was rebuilt. The narrow northern tower was called Eve and the bigger southern one was called Adam.
The western frontage with the typical brick-red facade is Early Baroque, from the 17 th century. It is decorated with statues of the founder Vratislav I. and Mlada, the first abbess of the near convent. The southern entrance from Jirska street has a Renaissance tympanum, where the fight of St.George with a dragon is depicted.
Tombs of Premyslid rulers
The medieval interior of the basilica is monumental. There are 3 tombs of the Premyslid rulers. The wooden tomb from the 14 th century on the right belongs to the founder Vratislav I. It is decorated with paintings from the 15 th century.
There is a big wooden crucifix on the wall of the St. George´s Basilica and some strange stories are connected to it. It is said, for example, that the Christ figure on the crucifix started bleeding, when princess Anna prayed nearby for her father Premysl Otakar II. in the 13 th century. It was a sign, that her father had already died in a battle and a long sad period was to come for the country.
Underneath the nave choir, there is a crypt from the 12 th century. You can see a Late Gothic Statue of Brigita there, representing a dead and decaying girl´s body. It is a symbol of impermanence. A legend says, that it was made by a sculptor, who killed his girlfriend and wanted to create her statue before he was executed. However, he was only able to make it as a dead body, because of his despair.
Chapel of St. Ludmila
A Chapel of St. Ludmila is situated by the southern side of the St.George´s Basilica. Originally a Late Romanesque chapel from the 13 th century, it was rebuilt in Gothic style in the 14 th century. The martyr St. Ludmila is buried here, under the tombstone from 1380. There are Renaissance wall paintings in the chapel.
Another chapel, dedicated to the Saint John of Nepomuk, was built in the 18 th century. There is a Baroque altar inside, adorned with a painting of St. John of Nepomuk by V. V. Reiner from 1722.