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Rotunda of the Finding of the Holy Cross (Rotunda Nalezení sv. Kříže)

Although the first written mention of this, the oldest of the three Prague rotundas, dates back to 1365, it was actually established at the end of the 11th century. Also of interest is its supposedly magical location – at the exact centre of the “urban cross” of old Prague, which connects the Cathedral of St Vitus, St Wenceslas and St Adalbert with the Rotunda of St Longin, the Church of St Clement in Old Town, and the now-destroyed Church of St Philip and St Jacob at Arbesovo náměstí.

Rotunda of the Finding of the Holy Cross (Rotunda Nalezení sv. Kříže), Karoliny Světlé, Praha 1 - Staré Město, 110 00
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tel.: +420224319528

The rotunda is administered by Old Catholic Church.


  • Su: 17.00
  • Tu: 18.00

The rotunda is open for sightseeing Mo - Fr upon prior request or one hour before the mass.

occasional concerts, exhibitions

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Object history

At the corner of Konviktská and Karolíny Světlé Streets there is the oldest Romanesque Prague rotunda of St. Minor Cross (unlike the cancelled St. Mayor Cross at the Cyriak Monastery in Jewish Quarter). There is a tale on rotunda establishment telling that at the place there used to be a pond, into which the crucified girl was thrown who was thus punished for adopting Christianity against the wishes of her parents. At night during the storm the cross is said to have been erected above the pond surface, which was considered a sign of God. At the repair of the rotunda a large rotten cross is really said to have been found at the foundations. Although the first written mention is from 1365, when it was the parish church, its origin dates back to the late 11th century. The small simple structure is characterized by especially superior construction technique. It has a rounded hull and semicircular apse on the east side, decorated with arched frieze. The hull has an arched dome with lantern on the top and associated windows. The lantern is topped with a gilded cross with crescent and eight-pointed star. It was built of small marl ashlars arranged in rows. Only since the 12th century the constructions have been built using large blocks. It is possible that originally it was a private shrine of one of manor courts in the Old Town. Near there was a parish which ceased to exist during the Hussites times and a cemetery stretched around it. In 1625 the rotunda became the property of Dominicans of St. Giles. Under the rule of Joseph II the chapel was closed in 1784 and became a private warehouse and in 1860 it faced a possibility of the demolition for the construction of a new house. Only a decisive initiative of the Artistic Forum (BESEDA) on a basis of the initiative of Ferdinand Břetislav Mikovec and Josef Mánes this precious monument was saved. The town council decided to buy the rotunda and the architect Ignac Ullmann undertook to restore its exterior free of charge and also designed a new altar with paintings made by Jan Popelík. At that time Josef Mánes created the painting called Worship in the St. Cross Chapel, where he demonstrated his idea on the interior restoration. He suggested that there would be horizontal stripes on the walls with scenes from the legends of Czech patrons. However, his idea was not implemented. According to his design the neo-Romanesque decorative metal grille was made with the motif of Czech wild roses, which separates the park at the rotunda from the street. The remains of the Gothic wall paintings from the 14th century were repaired by František Sequens, including the rarest Gothic fresco The Adoration of three Kings. The image of the Saviour in the apse is by Peter Maixner from 1870. During the reconstruction works the remains of the original brick floor and fragments of tombstones from the 13th century were discovered under the pavement. During the area adjustment the golden denarius of Prince Jaromír from 1012 was found. But the legend says that the there is a basement under the church with a large treasure.
Today the Rotunda is the parish church of Old Catholic Church and church services are held here. It was opened after reconstruction in 1977.


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