Saint Agnes Convent


Anezský kláster (Saint Agnes Convent)

On an embankment of the river Vltava, in the district of Prague’s Old Town, there is a preserved part of the very specific quarter “Na Frantisku”. The heart of this quarter is the important convent of the Poor Clares, founded at the wish of Princess Anezka (Agnes) of the ruling Premyslid dynasty.

The attractiveness of the wide ranging group of buildings, showed very clearly the participation of the royal family. The convent was the scene of many important state events, because of the distinguished abbess. The construction of the convent was finished around the year 1282, when Agnes died. The Clares left the convent in the turbulent Hussite period and the convent remained unused for a long time. It lasted until the 16th century before the Dominicans started a reconstruction in renaissance style.

The sisters did not have the same kind of need as their predecessors and also, there were not so many of them. They sold land for the building of houses and in this way founded the chaotic, bizarre quarter, named after the first convent church Na Frantisku.

The quarter is still preserved and most of it is renovated. The historical and cultural importance of the convent site is immeasurable. The buildings witness the first attempts in gothic architecture. Within scope of the early Gothic style, the buildings show elements of several expressive styles. The cultural public demanded a dignified appearance again.

In the year 1893 the “Association for the renewal of Agnes Convent” was founded. One of its purposes was to create a social institution, which would continue with the original, charitable activities of abbess Agnes. One of the first things that Agnes started was a hospital. The association began with reconstructing the Church of the Holy Saviour (Kostel svatého Spasitele) and parts of the other churches. The work progressed slowly because of over populated buildings.

A second important phase in the work dates from the year 1940. After archaeological investigation the buildings were renovated. The new architectural look did not disturb the original atmosphere from the 13th century. On the contrary, the convent was renewed with great respect. In the renewed Agnes Convent is a permanent exhibition of Czech painters and sculptors of the 19th century. Its beautiful ambience also serves for temporary exhibition and concerts.