The Basilica of St. Procopius speaks of the beauty of medieval architecture, of the greatness of ideas and skills of its builders, of the piety of the monks and of the generosity of its secular patrons. The town of Třebíč owes its origin to the setting up of the monastery which is the second oldest seat of the Benedictines in Moravia.
The decision to build the stone church on the site of the original wooden one dates back to the early 13th century. The rich and impressive basilica, which was then dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, demonstrates the wealth of the local convent.
However, in the first half of the 15th century, the wealth of the monastery was first attacked by Hussite troops, then several decades later it was besieged by the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus, after Viktorin, son of the Czech King George of Poděbrady, had found sanctuary with the local abbot. Unlike the town, the monastery walls withstood the Hungarian attack, but the life of the monastery came to an end anyway. Estates were pledged as security and, in the early 16th century, monks left this place which was now under the authority of the new secular nobility. With the decline of the monastery the prayers also, gradually, became silent in the church. The time of reformed religious movements did not favour the old monastery life. The new lords of the castle, the Osovský family of Doubravice, cared more about raising the economic situation of the estate and they rebuilt the ruined monastery into a comfortable Renaissance residence and used the church as a base for the management of the farmyard. The basilica was used for stabling horses while the crypt, the last resting place of the monks, was desecrated because its constant temperature was ideal for storing beer from the lord′s brewery.
The basilica was again lifted up to its former glory by the Baroque re-catholicisation, a situation which, in Czech history, is often wrongly associated only with spiritual oppression and the Germanisation of the Slavic culture. At the impulse of Count John Joseph Waldstein at the beginning of the 18th century, the basilica was returned to its original purpose, that of worship and after a munificent renovation it was newly consecrated to St. Procopius. The original medieval building, with Romanesque and Gothic elements, was then rebuilt in the Baroque-Gothic style and the renovation was designed by the prominent Czech architect Francis Maximilian Kaňka. The last phase of the building development was completed only in the early 20th century by one of the greatest representatives of modern restoration and conservation, the architect Kamil Hilbert.
For its architectural uniqueness, the Basilica of St. Procopius was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2003.