The Grand Priory Palace (Velkopřevorský palác)
The Palace is the seat of the Grand Prior of Bohemia of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodos and of Malta (also known as the Knights of Malta). Close to the outer walls of the Grand Priory Palace there is the oldest and most memorable sycamore in Prague - the Beethoven sycamore. According to legend, the composer sat under this tree during his visit to Prague in 1796.
Founded together with the nearby church of the Virgin Mary under the Chain, after the return of the Bohemian knights from the 2nd crusade (1180). The present day complex was originaly a fortressed yard.
The Knights of Malta were supposed to defend Christianity from Islam and for the liberation of the Holy Land. The Order employed itself beforehand on the field of charity and care about the sick and wounded and due to the situation in the Holy Land also on the field of warfare.
During more than 800 years of its existence the building has came through many rebuildings according to all the main architectural styles. After 1420 the former Romanesque style was rebuilt in the gothic style, the renaissance makeover came after 1610 and finally, after 1725, the baroque rebuilding, which is excellently preserved till nowadays.
Representative parts are the „piano nobile“ with the Grand Priory´s chamber and the main Knight´s Hall, where the knights met. In all rooms there are paintings of Czech, German and Italian baroque masters.
Established more than eight centuries ago, the Grand Priory of Bohemia is the oldest among all the Grand Priories of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.