One of the oldest churches situated in the heart of Prague, Prague Castle, is dedicated to the patron saint of Saint George. The basilica survived all the challenges and hardships of war, plague, flood, and other natural disasters and remained magnificent and astonishing for visitors.
St. George Basilica’s story dates back to 920, more than a thousand years ago when Vratislaus I of Bohemia established it. However, it was built as the second church at the Prague Castle; the only one to remain. Initially, it was pretty small; that is why it was enlarged and reconstructed in 973 with the addition of the Benedectine St. George’s Abbey.
There is a Gothic chapel in the church complex, which is devoted to the Ludmila of Bohemia, and which is situated on the western side. Ludmila was the grandmother of King Wenceslaus, who spent most of her days raising a future king. Her tomb is located there, and the shrines of Vratislav, the son of Ludmila, and Boleslaus II of Bohemia, the great-grandson of Ludmila. Today, the tombs of the Přemyslid dynasty are located in the central nave.
In 1142, the basilica suffered from the great fire, which led to the building’s reconstruction. The church has taken on the form of the Romanesque appearance with the central apse and two white stone steeples, which remain integral parts of the building and reach a height of 41 meters. Interestingly, the wider southern tower is called after Adam, the narrower one is named after Eve.
Intrestingly, the early Baroque period left its mark as well: the church’s façade comes from the 17th century with a unique and marvelous Baroque style. A century later, F.M. Kanka, one of the beautiful architects, added the Baroque Chapel of St. Nepomuk to the basilica complex.
During the 18th century, the era of Joseph II, when the troops occupied the city, the church had to undergo reconstruction works. Thanks to the master of its craft, F.Mach tried his best to design and make the church look more Romanesque. The process of renewing the basilica took place from the years 1887-1907.
F.Mach tried his best to design and make the church commemorate the history of the previous generations. The ceiling is made of dark solid wood, its height accentuated by the church’s narrow point. When you are standing inside the basilica, you experience the last centuries’ spirit and magnificence. The windows have a decorative and aesthetic aspect: they provide warm and cozy lighting to the stone walls. In the dome, there are altars and frescos that are a work of art by V. Reiner. They depict Jerusalem, the figures of Jesus Christ, and other essential people.
Since the 19th century, the basilica has served as a house of the Bohemian Art Collection of the National Gallery in Prague (NGP) for temporary exhibitions and a concert hall. There, you can find such artists as Hans von Aschen, Benedikt Wurzelbauer, Bartholomeus Spanger, and Adrian de Vreis.
To visit the basilica, you need an entrance ticket to visit the church – either Prague Castle Tour or Self-Guided Prague Castle Ticket. If you do not feel like going on the excursion, you can always attend the evening classical concert hall. We recommend booking it in advance due to the popularity of the hall.