St. Agnes Convent is one of the oldest convents in Europe. It is also the oldest Gothic building in the whole Czech republic. The convent was founded by St. Agnes of Bohemia, sister of King Wenceslas I., between 1231 and 1234. The Order of Poor Ladies dwelled in the convent and St. Agnes was the first superioress there.
St. Agnes of Bohemia
Premyslid Princess Agnes was an important clerical personality of the 13 th century. She founded the only Czech religious order, the Order of the Knights of the Cross with a Red Star. She spent her whole life helping poor and ill people. St. Agnes was beatified in 1870 and canonized in 1989.
Gothic churches in the convent
The St. Agnes Convent is a complex of two buildings, the convent of the Order of Poor Ladies and the monastery of Franciscans. The first one is the oldest brick building preserved in Prague. The early-Gothic St. Francis Church belongs to the convent. It has a Gothic window, which is the oldest one in the Central Europe. The dome of the church collapsed in the past, so it was covered with a new roof. The hall was restored and there are concerts held there nowadays.
There is a church of an unknown dedication, built for the nuns of the convent, and also the St. Salvator Church. The latter one was built between 1270 and 1280 and it was the first example of the French Gothic style in the country. The entrance of the church has a triumphal arch, decorated with statues of kings´ and queens´ heads. A royal burial place was there originally. King Wenceslas I. was buried there in 1253 and also St. Agnes has her tomb there, but it was never found.
Sad history of the St. Agnes Convent
During the Hussite wars in the 15 th century the nuns had to leave the convent and the buildings declined. Finally, the convent was abolished by Emperor Joseph II. in the 18 th century and it was devastated in the following years. The complex was used as a storage, there were workrooms and homes of poor citizens of Prague. Several buildings were even demolished.
Medieval art exhibition – National Gallery in Prague
St. Agnes Convent was restored in the 20 th century and it fell to the National Gallery in Prague. An exhibition of medieval Central European art, especially Czech, is placed there nowadays.
St. Agnes Convent is one of the many places in Prague , that have its own ghost-story. It says that one of the nuns was killed by her own father, when he found out that she is in love with a poor young man. Then he cursed her for putting the family in shame and said she shall never rest in peace till the convent is there. The ghost of the girl reputedly rambles around the convent in the night, moaning and wearing a habit stained with blood. It is said that she helps young people who are unhappily in love.