Church of St Anne - Prague Crossroads Centre (Kostel sv. Anny – Centrum Pražská křižovatka)
The international spiritual centre Prague Crossroads is one of the projects of the Dagmar and Václav Havel Foundation Vision 97, which is also responsible for preserving and administering this unique space. Prague Crossroads is located in the deconsecrated Church of St. Anne, founded by St. Václav in 927 AD. The multifunctional centre can host a wide variety of events - theatrical performances, concerts, banquets and conferences.
Remains of a Romanic rotunda of St. Lawrence were found in the foundations of the St. Anna’s Church, as the Templar Knights settled in its vicinity around 1230 and began to build a monastery. The built an aisle to the rotunda, and turned the rotunda into the church’s chancel. The Templar Order, whose task was to protect the pilgrims on their ways to the Holy Land, was abolished in 1312 during the reign of John of Bohemia, and the monastery with the church was acquired by the Dominicans. At that time, in the years 1313 - 30, a Gothic bricked single-aisle Church of St. Anna was built with a tower, which was partly taken down in 1870. This church was one of the few in Prague that was not destroyed by the plundering Hussites, perhaps thanks to the kinship of the pious nun and Jan Žižka. The entire monastery was restored in the 17th century thanks to donations of the Emperor Matthias’ wife, Queen Anna, yet in 1782, Joseph II abolished the monastery just like all the others. The church was then in 1795 acquired by a prominent printer and antiques’ collector Jan Ferdinand of Schönfeld, well known publisher of c.k. (royal-imperial) Post Newspaper, who later opened a printing plant here. After 1834, the Haas brothers established the greatest printing plant in Austria here. In 1880, the Gothic vault was taken down and the church was then used as a warehouse.
Besides the foundations of the former rotunda, also remains of Gothic wall paintings were discovered in 1962, made by an artist from the group around Master Theodorik (Adoration of the Magi, Seven Sacraments, etc.). Above the church cornice, there is a high bricked gable with traces of the pulled-down tower, and behind it, there is a fully preserved original Gothic truss dating to the first half of the 14th century. It is a masterpiece made of top quality pinewood. All the connections are made via overlapping, and secured without using a single nail, via wooden pins. There are 47 tie beams in the truss, settled onto a couple of wall plates on a 90 cm thick wall.
The National Theatre, which has the church in its administration, rented the object for a symbolic 1 crown per year to the Foundation of Dagmar and Václav Havel Vize 97 for 99 years. All the in-built constructions were removed, the frescoes were restored, and the ventilation system modified. The author of the interior modifications, architect Eva Jiřičná, intentionally left the walls nearly untouched, with the fragments of the frescoes, holes after the removed constructions, remains of plasters as well as Baroque stuccoes. The entire history of the temple is thus marked in its walls. There are new elements in the form of steel elements and ceramic tiles. On the Eastern side, there is a high panel with a niche and a painting of Adriena Šimotová on a silk paper named “Extatic Figure”. Among other artists participating in the co-creation of the premises, there was Kurt Gebauer, Bořek Šípek, or Jiří David.
This first stage of the restoration works was completed in September 2004. A cultural centre named Pražská křižovatka (Prague Crossroads), where concerts, lectures and cultural events are held.
In October 2004, other Gothic wall paintings were discovered, which were probably made by some artist from the group of the Master of the Třeboň Altar, considering from the artistic quality. Their theme is Lamentation of Christ.