Robust structures with strong walls, interiors with simple vaulting, windows small or grouped together – these are the marks of the Romanesque style. Most of the buildings preserved from this period primarily are of an ecclesiastical nature, i.e. monasteries, churches, basilicas and rotundas, the ruins of some castles and the foundations of municipal buildings.
Romanesque basilicas and rotundas in Prague
The Prague Castle complex includes the Basilica of St. George, whose white tower, built out of carefully-worked marlstone blocks, is a major element of the Castle’s silhouette. Entry to the Basilica is included with a ticket to the National Gallery, which runs a permanent exhibition of 19th-century art at the Castle.
Several rotundas have also been preserved in Prague and the surrounding area. The oldest of these is the Rotunda of the Holy Rood in Karoliny Světlé street in the Old Town. In Na Rybníčku street in the New Town you will find the Rotunda of St. Longinus, and at Vyšehrad the Rotunda of St. Martin. On top of the legendary Mount Říp is the Rotunda of St. George.
Mediaeval paintings and the episcopal palace
Romanesque architecture can also be found in many monastery churches, for example those in Teplá and Milevsko. Exceptionally valuable paintings can be found on the interior of the Romanesque Rotunda of St. Catherine in the castle complex in Znojmo, whose Romanesque frescos from the end of the 11th century include Biblical motifs and a family-tree of the first rulers of Bohemia.
Next to the Cathedral of St. Wenceslas in Olomouc is the Archdiocesan Museum. During a tour of the museum you will visit the remains of the Romanesque episcopal palace, consisting of the western and northern peripheral walls, including many grouped Romanesque windows. One interesting and unusual sight is the drawings of animals and inscriptions on the jambs of the Romanesque windows. These were created by students of the cathedral school in the second third of the 13th century and serves as a reminder that school pupils have been relieving their boredom during class in a similar manner for centuries.