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1. The Ducal Rotunda of the Virgin Mary and St Catherine

- The oldest fresco gallery of the Czech statehood -
 

 
 

Znojmo’s most precious historic monument. Although experts still have not uttered the ultimate statement, the latest analyses show that this Romanesque circular church may well have been built in the 1080s by Conrad I of Brno (1035-1092), the lord of Moravia. At that time, Conrad was founding a new castle at Znojmo because the old ducal seat at Hradiště/Pöltenberg had from a strategic point of view become unsafe. This mighty rotunda is one of the most unique buildings in the whole of the Czech Republic particularly for its late-11-century frescoes. Influenced (and probably also painted) by contemporary Byzantine artists, they prove that Znojmo dukes were no mere local rulers but internationally active politicians. Typical New Testament motives are here combined with a gallery of members of the Přemyslid dynasty ruling over the Czech lands at that time. Since Znojmo dukes were usually younger relatives of the ruling dukes in Prague, the gallery apparently symbolizes a formal hereditary right of each member of the dynasty to rule as a sovereign on the throne in Prague. The central position among all the Přemyslid princes painted on the rotunda walls belongs to Vratislaus II, the first King of Bohemia, Conrad’s elder brother.     

 
Responsible: PhDr. Jiří Kacetl
Created / changed: 18.6.2008 / 18.6.2008

 

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