Convent of Saint Agnes of Bohemia (Kláster Sv. Anezky)

Convent of Saint Agnes of Bohemia (Kláster Sv. Anezky) (16)

Although today it is a peaceful cultural and musical centre, the convent of Saint Agnes of Bohemia was also unable to escape the agitated religious history of Prague. It was founded in 1234 by Agnes of Bohemia, sister of King Wenceslas I, for the Saint Clare nuns. Agnes would be named a saint in 1989. The convent was one of the first Gothic works in Prague and was a large complex that at one time housed seven churches and two convents, one for Saint Clare nuns and the other for Franciscans. The works were completed in 1280.

With the Hussite uprisings, its occupants fled from the convent, which remained abandoned until the arrival of Dominican nuns. They moved from Saint Clement, a space belonging to the Jesuits. In 1627 the nuns of Saint Clare returned.

At the end of the 18th century, under the reign of Joseph II, the convent became an asylum for the poor. The general state of the complex, however, was very deteriorated and finally had to be restored. The works began in the late-19th century, but were stopped and not restarted until the 1940s.

Today the convent’s main role is that of housing the Bohemia and Central Europe medieval art collection of the National Museum. Since 2000 some of the masterpieces of painting and sculpture from the Middle Ages can be seen here, exhibited chronologically.

Some works really stand out, such as the panel of the Annunciation of the Virgin, painted in 1350. It is a work of beautiful and delicate lines. The panel of Archbishop Jan Ocko of Vlasim dates from 1370. This panel, by an unknown author, shows King Charles IV kneeling before the Virgin. Also well worth seeing is “The Virgin of Saint Vitus”, from 1400.

Among the sculptures, you should see the Virgin of Strakonice, 700 years old, or a statue of the Virgin with Child which is very similar to that of the Virgin of Krumlov.

Of the seven churches that stood in this convent, only two remain: the church of Saint Francis and the church of Saint Salvatore. In the latter, there are two curious capitals that narrate, respectively, the five kings and five queens of Bohemia with sculptures of the heads.

In the restoration works the chapel was fitted out as a concert hall. This welcoming space is where chamber music lovers can listen to concerts. A curiosity of the chapel is the fact that it is decorated with a sculpture called “Music”, which was initially supposed to decorate the vestibule of the National Theatre.

And if what you are seeking is a moment of peace and quiet, you can take a break strolling around the calm convent cloister. Beneath its Gothic vaulting you will find the silence lost among the hustle and bustle of the streets of the centre of Prague.

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