Between the left bank of the river Vltava and Petřín Hill stand two churches dedicated to St Lawrence (Svatý Vavřinec). The more substantial of the two, on the hill itself, is a baroque structure built on the site of an earlier Romanesque church dating from 1135. Below the hill, on Hellichova street, is a smaller church, dating – along with its interior frescoes – from the mid-thirteenth century, when the building stood in the heart of the now extinct village of Nebovidy.
Emperor Joseph II’s Edict of Tolerance, whose purpose was to reduce the power of the Catholic church, was introduced in 1782, and two years later part of the church was converted for use as a residential building. Today the church is hidden away, a little-known survivor in the centre of Prague’s Malá Strana district. Its house sign depicts the third-century Roman martyr Saint Lawrence holding a representation of the the gridiron on which he was condemned to a fiery death.