cloudy, rain
Su 21.7.
22/26°
overcast
Mo 22.7.
19/27°
cloudy
Tu 23.7.
19/24°

Břevnov and Bílá Hora (White Mountain)

Forested, and later agriculturally worked land spreads out to the west and northeast of Prague Castle. To the west of Hradčany, Břevnov was first settled. The bishop St. Adalbert founded, in 993, the oldest Benedictine monastery in Bohemia here. All that was preserved from the original structure is the impressive Romanesque crypt from the 11th century; however, most of the monastery buildings were remodelled at the beginning of the 18th century in the Baroque style. The Convent Church of St. Margaret (klášterní kostel sv. Markéty) and the convent complex as a whole preserved many Baroque art treasures.

West of Břevnov, the remains of the local game preserve can be found. The Hvězda Game Reserve was founded by Ferdinand I (1534) and up until the beginning of the 19th century, forest animals were kept here; after that the reserve was transformed into a park. The name of the reserve determined the appearance of the current version of the local Hvězda (Star) Summer Castle. It was designed in 1555 by Ferdinand of Tirolen and the structure is actually built on the groundplan of a six-pointed star.

Not far from Hvězda, we find Bílá hora (White Mountain), a symbol of tragedy for most Czechs. The Monument is a reminder of the place where on the 8th of November 1620, the better paid emperor’s Catholic League mercenary army met with the poorly paid Czech Protestant army mercenaries. Confusion, chaos and an embarrassing stampede are an apt characterisation of the professional army. For the next 300 years the Czech lands became only a Habsburg province. The elite of the land emigrated, and most of the Czech nobles, the richest from the city and the intellectuals, including the famous “teacher of the nation” J. A. Komenský disappeared. 90 % of the inhabitants of Bohemia were Protestants; those who refused to convert to Catholicism had to leave and their property was confiscated. By the end of the Thirty Years War the Czech kingdom had lost half its population. However, Bílá hora became a place of pilgrimage for Catholics. The Cathedral of the Virgin Mary (chrám Panny Marie), located here, was built at the beginning of the 18th century and is decorated with the rich frescos of K. D. Asam and V. V. Reiner.