Convent of St Agnes

Top choice in Staré Město

In the northeastern corner of Staré Město is the former Convent of St Agnes, Prague’s oldest surviving Gothic building. The 1st-floor rooms hold the National Gallery’s permanent collection of medieval and early Renaissance art (1200–1550) from Bohemia and Central Europe, a treasure house of glowing Gothic altar paintings and polychrome religious sculptures.

In 1234 the Franciscan Order of the Poor Clares was founded by Přemysl king Wenceslas I, who made his sister Anežka (Agnes) the first abbess of the convent. Agnes was beatified in the 19th century and, with hardly accidental timing, Pope John Paul II canonised her as St Agnes of Bohemia just weeks before the revolutionary events of November 1989.

In the 16th century the convent was handed over to the Dominicans, and after Joseph II dissolved the monasteries it became a squatters’ paradise. It is only since the 1980s that the complex has been restored and renovated. In addition to the art gallery and the 13th-century cloister, you can visit the French Gothic Church of the Holy Saviour, which contains the tombs of St Agnes and Wenceslas I’s Queen Cunegund. Alongside this is the smaller Church of St Francis, where Wenceslas I is buried; part of its ruined nave now serves as a chilly concert hall.

The gallery is fully wheelchair-accessible, and the ground-floor cloister has a tactile presentation of 12 casts of medieval sculptures with explanatory text in Braille. Tickets are valid for 10 days.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Staré Město attractions

1. Spanish Synagogue

0.19 MILES

The Spanish Synagogue is named after its striking Moorish-Andalucian interior. Dating from 1868, its exhibition records the story of Jews in the Czech…

2. Novomlýnská Water Tower


A obscure branch of the Prague City Museum, this now defunct, 17th-century water tower houses an interesting exhibit on the various fires that have change…

3. Franz Kafka Monument


Commissioned by Prague's Franz Kafka Society in 2003, Jaroslav Róna's unusual sculpture of a mini-Kafka riding on the shoulders of a giant empty suit was…

4. DSC Gallery

0.21 MILES

One of Prague's leading independent art galleries, the DSC specialises in promoting modern art of international importance from the United States, Britain…

5. Josefov

0.24 MILES

The slice of Staré Město bounded by Kaprova, Dlouhá and Kozí contains the remains of the once-thriving quarter of Josefov, Prague’s former Jewish ghetto,…

6. Church of St James

0.27 MILES

The great Gothic mass of the Church of St James began in the 14th century as a Minorite monastery church, and was given a beautiful baroque facelift in…

7. Granovsky Palace

0.28 MILES

In the northwestern corner of the Týn Courtyard is the 16th-century Granovsky Palace, with an elegant Renaissance loggia and sgraffito and painted…

8. Týn Courtyard

0.28 MILES

This pretty courtyard tucked behind the Church of Our Lady Before Týn was originally a sort of medieval caravanserai – a fortified hotel, trading centre…