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Rotunda of the Holy Cross in Prague

The oldest Romanesque rotunda in Prague, the Rotunda of the Holy Cross, is situated at the corner of Konviktska Street and Karoliny Svetle Street in Prague Old Town. It was built in the 11 th century and there are various legends and stories related to it.

Legend about the cross

The story about the origin of the rotunda says, that there used to be a lake at the place originally. A crucified girl, punished for her Christian belief, was thrown there with her cross. The cross reared up during a storm, which was regarded as a God´s sign. A large dozy cross was really found in the foundations of the rotunda, when it was restored.

History of the rotunda

The first mention of the Rotunda of the Holy Cross is from 1365, but it was probably built already at the end of the 11 th century. It is a small simple building with a rounded nave and an apse. A lantern at the cupola has a gilt cross, a crescent moon and an eight-pointed star at the top.

Rotunda of the Holy Cross was probably a private chapel belonging to some of the mansions in Prague Old Town. There used to be a parsonage nearby and a cemetery around.

Dominicans gained the rotunda in 1625. Emperor Joseph II. abolished the chapel in 1784, as well as many other churches, and it became a private storage. It was planned to demolish the rotunda in 1860 because of building a new house at the place, but it was finally saved.

Gothic paintings

There are remains of Gothic wall paintings from 14 th century inside. The most valuable Gothic fresco is the “Three Magi veneration”. There are also some remains of tombstones from 13 th century.

Legend about the treasure

A legend says, that there is a basement with a huge treasure underneath the Rotunda of the Holy Cross. And one more story is related to the place: a strange monster allegedly used to walk around the place in the night and assault people. He is believed to punish people living immoral life near the rotunda.

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