Rotonde Saint-Martin (St Martin’s Rotunda) – Prague, Czechia - Atlas Obscura

Rotonde Saint-Martin (St Martin’s Rotunda)

The largest and best-preserved rotunda in Prague. 


Originally surrounded by a cemetery, St Martin’s Rotunda was constructed around 1100 CE and is one of Prague’s most ancient churches.

Positioned outside of the Royal Acropolis, it may have belonged to an individual of high status although no records exist that show the original owner. It was ransacked by looters during the Hussite Revolution in 1420, and in 1525, the rotunda burned down.

Following this, during the 16th and 17th centuries, the rotunda was used as a prison and a storehouse during the 30 Years War. It was reconstructed in 1719 but was seized for military use 65 years later.

In 1757, the Prussian attack on Prague damaged the rotunda, and a cannonball remains lodged in the wall above the entrance as a reminder of this event and can still be seen today.

In 1841, the rotunda was meant to be demolished. Instead, the apse was converted into a kitchen, and the building was rented out for the impoverished. It wasn’t until 1875 that the church regained control over the rotunda. In 1878, it was converted back to its original religious purpose.

The Vysehrad Chapter took ownership of the rotunda in 1975 and began full restoration, even constructing a new Neo-Romanesque portal; evidence of the original entrance is still apparent in the wall above the road. Today, St, Martin’s is used for religious ceremonies.

Know Before You Go

St Martin’s rotunda sits inside the Vyšehrad castle complex and can be visited at any time. Rotunda opening hours are: Tuesday 10 am–1 pm, 2–6 pm Wednesday 10 am–1 pm, 2–5:30 pm Thursday 10 am–1 pm, 2–6 pm Friday 10 am–1 pm, 2–6 pm Saturday 10 am–1 pm, 2–6 pm Sunday 10 am–1 pm, 2–6 pm Monday 10 am–1 pm, 2–5:30 pm Suggest new hours Guided tours by appointment only.

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March 10, 2024

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