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August 3, 2005
More than 1,000 years old, it was founded in about 920 AD by Prince Vratislav I and was enlarged in 973 AD, when the adjoining St. Georges Convent was established.
The basilica displays a unique mix of architectural styles. The present Romanesque appearance is from 1142 AD, when the basilica was rebuilt following a fire that almost completely destroyed the original structure. The Romanesque interior of the basilica is extremely austere and monumental. The baroque exterior (now painted red) is in stark contrast and was done at a much later time in its history.
It's difficult to imagine that this basilica is as old as it is; it's so wonderfully preserved and pristine. Almost everywhere you look you'll find statues, carvings, and frescoes of Saint George slaying the dragon.
In the Gothic Chapel of St. Ludmila, there is the tomb of the saint, widow of the 9th-century ruler Prince Borivoj. Also buried in the basilica are two princes, Prince Vratislav and Boleslav II.
St. George's Basilica now serves as a concert hall, and I found it to be a delightful setting for an early evening classical concert. I enjoyed an evening of Mozart following my afternoon tour of the castle district.
Book tickets for St. George's Basilica concerts at http://www.pragueexperience.com/opera_concerts/opera_concerts.asp.
From journal A city that never ceases to amaze
November 30, 2002
Instead, we followed the crowd to the Golden Lane, where sharpshooter-defenders and goldsmiths had dwelt, passing right by the Alchemist’s Tower(which I had planned on seeing), which is just to the right in our photo of the lane. Then, we drifted to steps where we encountered the "new" Republic of individual commerce offering souvenirs and a dizzying assortment of glitter emulating a Western souvenir shop mecca but on a small scale and with products very artfully arranged. The puppets and marionettes were particularly tempting! This surprisingly astute way of separating the new commercialism from the hallowed and old struck us as fitting a people proud of their cultural heritage and careful not to sully the Cathedral and governmental edifices with too much proximity to souvenir stands.
Hradcany requires at least two visits of three or so hours each, I would advise. Consult a Hrad map often or you’ll miss some of the sites you’d planned to see. Explore Hradcanske Namesti and the Sternberk Palace with its collection of pre-nineteenth century art, and then, proceed to Loretanske Namesti and the treasures of the Loreta, both of which we missed by being sheep and following the crowd out through the southeast steps. The Hradcany area downhill from the castle is an area we regret we didn’t see.
From journal So, You want to go to Prague?