The International Spirit Center Prague Crossroads is one of the projects of the Dagmar and Vaclav Havel Foundation VIZE 97, which also takes care of saving and managing this unique space. The Prague Crossroads are housed in a long-tempered church founded by St. Wenceslas in 927 AD.
The former President of the Czech Republic, dissident, writer and dramatist, Mr. Václav Havel, gave the most impetus to the Prague Crossroads. His vision was to create a suggestive place for the most diverse encounters, lectures, discussions, concerts, performances, exhibitions, happenings and meditation, taking into account the multicultural diversity of todays world. The main mission of these meetings is to respond to the now widely shared need for unprejudiced and creative conversation of people of different beliefs, beliefs and professions about the state of our civilization and the dangers that threaten it, about its hopes and the future.
Located in Zlatá Street in the Old Town (entrance from Liliová Street) the Prague Crossroads is housed in the long-deconsecrated church of Saint Lawrence which was originally founded in 927 A.D. by St. Wenceslas. After 1230, the Knights Templar settled there and they expanded St. Lawrence’s Church according to their traditions so that it copied the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, but on a smaller scale. In 1313, the Dominicans from the Monastery of St. Anne at Újezd purchased the monastery buildings, including St. Lawrence’s Church. During the Hussite period and thereafter, the monastery and the church had a very unsettled fate. In 1782, Emperor Joseph II closed the monastery and the church was deconsecrated. The building went to the court printer, Johann Ferdinand von Schönfeld, who established a printing works there in 1816.
Among the paintings created immediately after the completion of the church, three large works depicting the Seven Sacraments, the Adoration of the Magi and the Lamentation of Christ are preserved in the sanctuary. The Lamentation of Christ is considered by art historians as the most valuable remaining painting in the sanctuary, as it has a close relationship to the Passion paintings by the master of the Třeboň altar.
The church has been under the administration of the National Theatre since the 1970s. In 1999, it leased the church to the Dagmar and Václav Havel VIZE 97 Foundation on a 99-year lease and work began on the very demanding reconstruction and rescue of the building. In 2004, the 3rd stage of the reconstruction work was completed and the area was officially opened with the traditional presentation of the VIZE 97 Foundation Awards. Since that time, many significant and socially interesting events have been held there.