St. Wenceslas Rotunda preservation project – construction and restoration works

rotunda vaclav uzky

Malostranské nám. 2/25, 118 00, Praha 1 

Description work: 

Construction works
Restoration works

Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University, Prague
Supported by grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway
norsky grant uzky obr
Contractor: GEMA ART GROUP a.s.
Implementation: 01 - 05/ 2016



Overall view The original tiles Detail of the tile Work in progress Closing the entrance -measures against dust Work in progress Entrance into the rotunda Documentation work Work in progress Work in progress Work in progress
The St. Wenceslas Rotunda, first mentioned in the St. Wenceslas legend originating in the 13th century, was searched for by historians and archaeologists for centuries. It was located thanks to a comprehensive reconstruction of the building of Charles University's Faculty of Mathematics and Physics situated at Malostranské náměstí (the Lesser Town Square). The remnants of the rotunda were discovered on 3 February 2004 during the reconstruction works, by accident.

Based on an engraving depicting the 1611 invasion of the Lesser Town of Prague by the Passau mercenaries, scholars had always assumed that the rotunda was situated within the western row of houses in the middle of the Lesser Town Square. The archaeological discovery proved that, in reality, it was situated more to the east. Historical sources claimed that the rotunda was torn down in 1683 while, in fact, its parts were incorporated in the foundations of a 'house of professions' built by the Jesuits.
The discovery of an intact fragment of the original Romanesque floor tiling made in the Vyšehrad style lends the rotunda a world-wide significance. The tiles come in three categories. The smaller tiles are triangular with puce to black glazing finish. The square-shaped tiles make up the bordure along an even stone step leading up to the apse. The hexagonal tiles are the most numerous; they lack glazing and feature motifs of the lion and the griffin (a mythological winged creature with the head of an eagle and body of a lion).
The hexagonal tiles have since become the symbol of the online funding application at, through which the Charles University's Faculty of Mathematics and Physics invites people to contribute towards the reconstruction. Aside from public donations, the project is largely financed from grants from Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.
The works within the St. Wenceslas Rotunda preservation project are of a construction and restoration nature. The ongoing works are closely supervised by the National Heritage Institute, archaeologists, an architect and other specialists.
The construction part of the project includes disassembly of makeshift constructions within the rotunda space, mounting of an entry staircase leading from the Faculty's corridor, manufacture and mounting of visitors' walkways, brickworks, installation of replicas of the Romanesque tiles, installation of mains, air conditioning, lighting and audiovisual technologies.