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VYŠEHRAD AT THE ROTUNDA OF ST MARTIN

Vysehrad - Prague 2

GPS: 50°3'47.88"N, 14°25'17.04"E

   The best preserved Romanesque building monument of the ancient Vyšehrad is Rotunda of St Martin. Date of its origin has not been known precisely, but we may presume that it comes from the last third of the 11th century. The first written mention of it was in 1396. There used to be a cemetery around the rotunda, where people were buried in 12th and 13th centuries. In the course of centuries the rotunda had gone through many tribulations; however it faced to definite destruction roughly in the half of the 19th century, when a backbone road, running through the whole Vyšehrad, was being constructed. Finally, only the entrance part was changed. The former, now dead, entrance on the road-side was replaced with a new entrance with a portal on the south and the previously walled-up windows were broken out again. A new window was established on the north side and interior was decorated with paintings of Vyšehradský codex motives. It was realized based on design by arch. Antonín Baum. In addition, the rotunda was given back to church purpose.
   West of the rotunda there is standing a pilgrimage chapel of the Virgin Mary on the Fortification. Tiny baroque architecture of squared floor plan with an interesting frontage was constructed in 1760. During the reign of Emperor Joseph II the chapel, also called Šancovská, was abolished, but in 1882 it was bought by Vyšehrad House. It restoration was realized by arch. Bedřich Münzberger.
   Between the chapel and the rotunda there is standing a sand-stone column of the Crucifixion. The column with a chapel-shape extension has a hip roof. In the flat lunettes there are mosaic projections of Czech saints from the subsequent period in all of the four sides.
   The road running along the rotunda goes through the early-baroque Leopold’s Gate, which was most probably constructed in the sixties of the 17th century, in the first phase of construction of new fortification after end of Thirty Years’ War. Architecture of the gate, which has rich stonework decoration on its frontage, was designed by Carlo Lurago.