The former Ursuline Convent has been well-preserved, with the interior especially having almost no subsequent modifications. The current monastery complex was rebuilt from the original Renaissance building, whose remains are still partly preserved in the brickwork, after the great fire of 1709. The monastery was built in the Baroque period as a two-storied yet unfinished building complex around two central courtyards. There are still a number of vaulted rooms in the interiors. In the former refectory there is a preserved stucco ceiling with murals. In the nineteenth century, the monastery complex was extended by a further wing in today's Křivá Street.The Gothic Church of St. Catherine is the most valuable object in the monastery. It was built before 1287, together with the original Dominican Convent. Dominican nuns occupied the Convent until 1782, when they were superseded by the The Ursulines. The Dominican convent was the last of the early medieval monasteries built in the city.
The Church of St. Catherine was rebuilt in 1362, perhaps by the bishop's building works, which had previously worked on the construction of the Church of St. Maurice in Kroměříž. From this time originates the vaulting of the rectangular end of the presbytery. Some adjustments took place in late 14th and early 15th century, according to shapes of some of the window traceries. During the Renaissance, the western Gothic portal of the church was equipped with an imposing door decorated with a rich ornamental carving. The portal itself originates from around 1400. A Baroque coat of arms of Count Albert Friedrich Vetter of Lily is placed above it. The Convent church was also hit by the devastating fire in 1709. The nave had to be vaulted over with a new groin vault at that time. Another fire in 1800 destroyed the roof of the church and a new roof was built. The church interior underwent the last adjustment, a re-gothization, in the years 1848-1884. In 1987 a restoration of the facade took place, during which the original Gothic windows with stone tracery have been uncovered.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.