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Monasteries and pilgrimage sites in the CR – Part 2 – significant Prague monasteries

photo: Anežský klášter (wikipedia.org, foto Ben Skála)

The territory of the Czech Republic, a country with a long Christian tradition, is abundant in religious monuments. Our series aims to introduce the most significant of them.

As there are countless monasteries in the capital city, we will deal with Prague monasteries in this part in order to complete the first “Prague” part of our series.

Significant Prague monasteries

There are many important monastery complexes in Prague, which either still function as classical monasteries or serve for entirely secular purposes. In the first part of the series, we focused on the female Benedictine Monastery and St George Church at m1 Prague Castle, the Benedictine Břevnov Monastery in Prague and the Premonstratensian Monastery in Strahov in Prague. Would you like to discover the other important monasteries in Prague? Then continue reading.

The Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia in the Old Town of Prague (Map) was proclaimed a national cultural monument in 1978. This first monastery of the Order of Poor Clares in Bohemia was founded by the Premyslid Princess Agnes and King Wenceslaus I around 1233-1234. However, the monastery began to dilapidate by the end of the 14th century. In 1556, the Dominican Order began taking care of it, but it was damaged by a disastrous fire at the end of the 17th century. The monastery was finally closed by the Josephine Reform. Today it is one of the buildings of the Prague National Gallery. 

The Loreto and Capuchin Monastery in Prague (Map) has become famous for its baroque chimes and Loreto treasury. Founded in 1600, it is the oldest Bohemian Capuchin monastery. The German SS troops established a prison there during the Second World War. Capuchin monks returned shortly after the war ended, only to be violently removed at the beginning of the 1950s, when the monastery became the seat of the Czechoslovakian counter-intelligence. Since the beginning of the 1990s, it has again served its original purpose.

Emauss Monastery (Monastery Na Slovanech) in Prague (Map) is a national cultural monument, which was founded in 1347 by Charles IV for the Slavic Benedictines, who performed religious services in Old Church Slavonic language. In 1371, a church was built in the monastery complex. It gradually became the centre of education and art. John Hus and Jerome of Prague belonged among the most famous students of the language of Cyril and Methodius. Unfortunately, the monastery was plundered in 1611 and finally revived in the second half of the 17th century, when it underwent a baroque reconstruction led by Spanish Benedictines. In the second half of the 19th century, the monastery was rebuilt by the Beuron Benedictines, who created a specific artistic style, the Art of Beuron. The Emauss Monastery was damaged during the bombing of Prague in 1945, however the complex was finally revived between 1966 and 1969. It later became the seat of the Czechoslovakian Academy of Science. In 1990, it was returned to the Benedictines and both the monastery and the church were reconstructed for the next twenty years.

The Zbraslav Monastery was a Cistercian monastery on the territory of today’s Prague Zbraslav quarter (Map). It was founded by King Wenceslaus II in 1292. The monastery complex includes a convent church where a royal burial ground was established. King Wenceslaus II was buried in the church. The Zbraslav Monastery was the main final resting place of two dynasties of Czech rulers and their families in its time. Prince Fridrich Öttingen-Wallerstein became the owner of the complex in the first half of the 19th century and had the monastery building complex rebuilt into a princely residence. Thus the monastery turned into a chateau. In the 1990s restitution process, the church was returned to its previous owners, the Bartoň Family from Dobenín, and was proclaimed a national cultural monument in 1995.

You will find information about other significant monasteries in the ensuing parts of the series.

Author: Romana Kuncová
Added: 04.12.2012

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