St. Martin’s Rotunda

St. Martin’s Rotunda originates from the late 11th century, from the time of reign of prince Vratislav II. and is the oldest rotunda in Prague. With its diameter of 6.5 meters it is also the largest in Prague. Its walls reach the width of 1 meter. During the Thirty Years War it was used as powder storage. It was restored in 1719, but no longer served its purpose. It was reconstructed again in the mid-19th century by Count Chotek.

Reconstruction of the building was conducted by architect A. Baum. St. Martin Rotunda is the oldest preserved Prague rotunda and at the same time the oldest surviving monument at Vyšehrad. During the bombing of Prague by Prussia in 1757 its construction was heavily damaged, and one of the cannonballs stayed in the wall, which can be seen there till today. In 1784 it was abolished by Emperor Joseph II., and then served as a warehouse.

The rotunda was almost demolished when there was a new road being built through Vyšehrad. However, thanks to the intervention of Count Chotek, it was saved. Then it was rented as a dwelling for the poor, a new entry was made, kitchen set up in the apse and a hole for the chimney was pierced in the arch. It was not until the late 19th century, that the Vyšehrad Canonry managed to redeem and restore the rotunda and it was given its recent form.

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