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Old town - Prague 1 Category: Church towers

The Former Monastery of St. Agnes Na Františku

GPS: 50°5'31.92"N, 14°25'26.04"E


There are not many places within our country where the tradition of the Czech State and Czech cultural meet with such unique architecture as it does here in the former monastery of St. Agnes Na Františku. The monastery and the hospital for the Order of Clarisse were probably founded in 1231. The first Superioress of this monastery was St. Agnes of Bohemia of the Přemyslovci dynasty.

The monastery complex underwent many changes during the centuries including construction changes. These were always related to the current political situation. The monastery was disestablished by the Emperor Josef II. on 12th January 1782 and gradually adapted to become a poor-house. The house was almost demolished during the urban renewal of 1888, but fortunately the proposal for its demolition was not followed in the end.

Subsequently, the wasted complex underwent reconstruction, which began in 1940. The crucial step however was note done until late 1953, when the state took over the reconstruction. Ten years later the National Gallery became the new owner of this property and the whole complex was declared a national historic landmark. Individual buildings were gradually re-opened of which the church of St. František, opened in 1986 as the last.

The church of St. František was consecrated in 1234. It was the oldest part of the complicated monastery lay-out. During the building renovation the fallen vaulting had been replaced by a tall asymmetrical roof. The roof’s frame is shaped with glued trusses, which narrows the space as dynamically as any gothic vaults in the past. This roof is also the best orientation point of the complex.

Next is the sanctus bell steeple above the end part of St. Salvatore’s sanctuary at the east side of the whole complex. The tall, slim and hexagonal steeple houses one bell in its lantern. Its spike is then adorned with finial and vane in the form of an iron-plate cockerel representing vigilance.