Many members of the Czech Royal Dynasty had been buried in the Prague Castle basilica over centuries. However, the human bones displayed in the altar of St. John of Nepomuk located in the chapel of St. George's Basilica belong to someone who lived long before the Bohemian kingdom was established - St. Theodora.
Very little is known about this early Christian saint. She probably lived around 120 AD in Rome and was martyred together with her brother St. Hermes, who she had cared about when he was imprisoned. They were both buried on the Salarian road outside of Rome, and later the bones of St. Theodora were gifted to the St. George's Basilica in Prague.
To visit St. George's Basilica you need to purchase Prague Castle A or B ticket. You can read here what the difference between the two tickets is.
St. George's Basilica is one of the oldest churches of the Prague Castle established in 920 by Duke Vratislav, father of the famous St. Wenceslas. The basilica has undergone 7 reconstructions and its interior is predominantly Romanesque. Members of the Premyslid royal dynasty are buried there. Among them is the grandmother of St. Wenceslas, St. Ludmila.
St. George's Basilica became a convent of St. Benedict after Vratislav's granddaughter Mlada came back from a pilgrimage to Rome and brought Pope's permission to establish the Prague bishopric. Mlada appointed the first Prague bishop, Detmar, and became the abbess of the convent.
The Basilica was attacked by Konrad of Znojmo (Moravian Duke) in 1142 and damaged so badly, that the abbess Berta who rebuild it after is considered to be its second founder. Berta also established a new chapel for relics of St. Ludmila in the presbytery of the basilica.
In 1541 the great fire of Mala Strana destroyed the roof and the towers of the church but left out the new Renaissance portal on the southern side. 17th century became the time of major reconstructions when basilica for a new Baroque facade and the chapel of St. John of Nepomuk.
The Convent of St. Benedict was canceled in 1783 with the Joseph II reforms, but the basilica is active and belongs to the St. Vitus Cathedral archbishopric nowadays.
St. George's Basilica was modernized in the Purist style between 1897-1908 when the ceiling of the vault of the main nave was changed into its purist replica and most of the altars were cleared out from the interior.
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Author: Valeriia Zahradnikova and Vaclav Zahradnik, Prague guides certified by Prague City Tourism agency. Valeriia and Vaclav have worked in tourism for over 6 years and have guided thousands of Prague visitors.