St. George’s Basilica is one of the landmarks in Prague that you shouldn’t miss. Aside from its impressive, well-preserved Romanesque architecture, the basilica has a long history and is recognized as the second oldest church in the city. Within the Prague Castle Complex, St. George’s Basilica is the oldest church building.
Planning to visit Prague soon? Don’t forget to drop by St. George’s Basilica and know more about this historical religious landmark. To help you plan your trip, we’ve created this handy guide for you.
A Brief History of St. George’s Basilica
Established around 920 A.D. by Prince Vratislav I, St. George’s Basilica is considered one of Prague’s most historic landmarks. In 973 A.D., the basilica was enlarged with the founding of the Benedictine nuns, which paved the way for the construction of St. George’s Benedictine Convent.
However, a devastating fire in 1142 consumed part of the church, which led to its reconstruction. That gave the basilica its current Romanesque interior. During the first half of the 13th century, the church saw the addition of a chapel that was consecrated to St. Ludmila, the grandmother of St. Wenceslas.
Throughout its long existence, the basilica had become a witness to history and the various periods that came with it. Its striking façade and subsequent renovations were a testament to the Early Baroque period. In the early 18th century, the church had another addition to its structures. F.M. Kanka, a Czech architect and builder, added the Baroque Chapel of St. John Nepomuk.
During the late 18th century, however, the church was occupied by troops. It wasn’t until 1887 when its reconstruction was resumed. This lasted until 1908, following the design of F. Mach, who was able to restore the church’s original Romanesque appearance.
What You Can Expect to See When You Get to the Basilica
You can opt to join a guided tour of the Prague Castle to get a good look at the basilica’s Romanesque interior, as well as the tomb of the Přemyslids. One of the tombs belongs to Prince Vratislav, the father of St. Wenceslas.
Outside, the church is flanked by two white stone steeples, one at the south and a narrower one located at the north. The former, which is a wider tower, is called Adam, while the latter is called Eve.
Inside, you can see the altar paintings and frescoes on the dome, which are works by V.V. Reiner, who was a Baroque painter. You can also see the chapel of St. Ludmila, which houses her tomb and relics.
How to Get There
To get to St. George’s Basilica, you need to visit the Prague Castle Complex first. There are several ways to reach the castle complex. Here are some of them:
- Via tram no. 22
Taking tram no. 22 gives you a variety of options to get to the castle complex. The first option requires you to take the tram and to stop at Pražský hrad. From there, turn left and walk for about five minutes until you get to the 2nd Courtyard.
Another option is to take tram no. 22 and stop at Pohořelec. Walk down the hill, and in around 10 minutes, you can reach Hradčany square. The entrance to the complex can be accessed through the 4th Courtyard. Alternatively, you can take tram no. 22 to Malostranské náměstí. Once there, you need to navigate Zamecka street and turn left at Thunovska street after 15 meters. This route will take you to the New Castle Stairs. Climb up the steps to reach Hradčanské Square, and access the castle complex via the 4th Courtyard.
- Via metro line A
You can also take metro line A (green line) and stop at the Malostranska station. Follow tram no. 22. Once you‘ve reached 100 meters, turn left to get to the Old Castle Stairs. Climb up the steps to get to the Na Opyši gate.
Other Things You Need to Know Before Your Visit
St. George’s Basilica lies within the Prague Castle Complex. As such, you can find it at Prague Castle náměstí U Svatého Jiří, 119 00 Praha 1 – Hradčany. It’s part of the Prague Castle circuit admission, so you don’t need to pay additional fees. The basilica is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm from April to October. During November to March, it’s open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm daily. To check the admission fees and to stay updated on the opening hours, which may vary, visit the Prague Castle for visitors website.