Saint George Basilica Prague

The Romanesque Saint George Basilica

If you think that the construction of the Old Royal Palace and the associated All Saints Chapel was the first church, then the Saint George Basilica was second church in the Prague Castle complex. Built in the Romanesque style (monumental and plain) in the year 920 it stayed largely the same for 50 years until in 973 when Prague becomes a Bishopric. At this point the adjacent Convent of the Nuns of Saint Benedikt was added which is now part of the National Gallery and the Saint George Basilica was reconstructed.

saint george basilica prague interior
A view of the Altar area at St George Basilica (where the musicians play)

As is usually the case at Prague Castle, the next major reconstruction was in 1142 when the two towers were added following a fire and apart from that the only other significant external change was the facade which was changed very early in the Baroque period (1700-1710).

The Basilica was originally built by Prince Vratislav the first. You won’t know him of course but he had two sons, the older called Wenceslas, the younger called Boleslav. After the death of Vratislav the older son became Wenceslas Duke of Bohemia but in 935 he was murdered by the younger brother who then became King Boleslav. The emperor at the time (Otto) bestowed the title of “King” on Wenceslas and later he was canonised. So next time you hear the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas”, just remember that he was “good” but was never a king in his lifetime.

saint george basilica in prague, external view
Saint George Basilica

The interior decoration of Saint George Basilica is largely from the period after 1880 and sought to restore it to it’s previous condition before the Swedish army had wrought destruction on Prague Castle at the end of the Thirty Years War. The adjacent Convent was deconsecrated in 1975 and is now used by the National Gallery for exhibiting Old Bohemian Art.

Tour Tips: To access St George Basilica you need the historic buildings ticket. the four tours below allow you to skip the ticket queue. Two are for self-guiders and the other two are for people who want to join a guided tour.

If you are coming here in the winter then wrap up well as it’s not an easy place to keep warm. Saint George Basilica is one of the venues for classical concerts and chamber music in Prague as the Romanesque high ceilings give excellent acoustics. Seating for events is in areas A and B but this only means that the first two rows are the expensive A tickets. As it’s first-come first-served for seats if you get there early you can get a seat in the first B row for less money and have almost as good a view as the A area. Also note that it’s bench seating (and they squeak). Take a look at ST George Basilica Events.

Something Related or a Few Minutes Away

Churches – ST James Basilica

Churches – Our Lady Before Tyn

Churches – ST Nicholas Old Town

Attraction – ST Vitus Cathedral

Attraction – Prague Castle Old Royal Palace

Attraction – Lobkowicz Palace

Attraction – Old Castle Steps

Attraction – Prague Castle Golden Lane

Activity – Prague City Walking Tour

Parks and Gardens – Imperial Gardens

Food and Drink – ST Wenceslas Vineyard

Classical Concerts in Churches and Synagogues

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