Emauzy Monastery

The Emauzy Monastery is one of the most peaceful and overlooked Prague sites in the city. It makes for a relaxing escape from the crowds and offers an intriguing blend of history and architecture.

We highly recommend a visit here if you get the chance.

Fortunately, the monastery is very close to all the main attractions so you won't have to go far to find it.

Looking from the Vltava River, the monastery is easily noticeable by its sharp spires that rise from the hillside near Karlovo náměstí (Charles Square).

At first glance, this looks like a modern, out-of-place church. But if you're curious enough, you will find a completely different experience awaiting inside which is probably nothing like the impression the spires might give.

Emauzy was founded in 1348 and captures our imagination every time we visit. The quiet halls with magnificent remnants of rare frescoes always spark our thoughts into thinking of days gone by - days when monks crossed these halls with candles and work to do.

Their work was to copy Slav manuscripts and keep the Slavonian language intact at the behest of Charles IV.

Of course this was just one of the monastery's early intentions. With the approval of Pope Clement VI, it was thought that the monastery would be a place where ties between Western and Eastern churches could be strengthened.

Aside from the early aspirations for the monastery, Emauzy went on to become a beacon of culture and work.  but political changes may have weakened some of its first intentions.

Regardless, much of the work done here lives on as a testimonial to the people that spent time here and weathered the variety of changes in history.

History of the Monastery

Like many sites throughout the city, the monastery has a long story to tell. Here are a few significant highlights from its history...

  • Founded in 1348 by Charles IV
  • In 1353 Croatian Bendectine monks arrive as the monastery is completed.
  • By 1419, the rise of Jan Hus and revival imperiled the monastery, but monks accepted Hussitism and Emauzy was spared the destruction that other monuments endured at the time.
  • In 1712 the church was rebuilt in the Baroque style and then again renovated in the Early Gothic style in 1880.
  • In 1941 the Gestapo moved most of the monks living here to a concentration camp in Germany.
  • In January of 1945, American war planes bombed Emauzy destroying much of the monastery except for parts of its Gothic halls.
  • Following World War II, the church fell into extreme disrepair and its hardships were worsened by the insensitivity of the communist regime. The spires we see today were rebuilt in the 1960's and the monastery was finally returned to the Benedictine monks in 1990.

The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the monastery is open to the public to visit and it seems to always be empty when we visit. So, it makes for a perfect place to take a moment to yourself or just look around. You almost get the feeling like you're trespassing here because of the immense solitude in the church and the monastery itself.

Maybe the highlight of a visit is to see the restored frescoes that line the Gothic halls. Because the monastery sided with Hussitism, these were spared destruction unlike so many other Prague sites and pieces of art in the city

If you start from the wall's base near Ujezd tram stop, you will get a nice work-out walking up the hill - but you will also get a feeling for how much effort the wall must have been. But, further up the hill you will find one of our favorite little gardens in all of Prague. 

Where is It?

The monastery is a short walk from Karlovo náměstí (Charles Square) which is accessed by a number of trams (3, 4, 6, 10, 16, 18, 21, 22 or 24) and the B metro line (yellow).

The closest tram stop to Emauzy is actually Moran which is one stop past Karlovo namesti. Take either 3, 4, 6, 10, 16, 18 or 24 to Moran and down the hill a bit and the monastery will be on your right side.

There is more near here if you have time - and not the standard touris stuff either.

The beautiful Church of St. John of the Rock across the street is another Baroque masterpiece and the little botanical gardens just up the street toward Karlovo náměstí are worth exploring before going back downtown.

Address: Vyšehradská 49, Praha 2, Czech Republic. Church services and times can be found here.

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