Velehrad belongs to the most significant pilgrimage places in Moravia. It is connected with the seat of Moravian rulers and with the place, from which Christianity has spread on the lines of the Saints Cyril and Methodius. In the neighbourhood of Velehrad there used to be the metropolitan church of St.Methodius, where he was buried. Hungarian raids destroyed Great Moravian habitations of that time, so that today we cannot specify the exact place of the cathedral or the grave.
The beginning of Velehrad is dated to the early 13th century, when the Moravian count Vladislav Jindrich together with his brother King Przemysl Otakar I originated the first Cistercian monastery in Moravia. The first twelve Cistercians came to Velehrad in 1205 from Czech Plasy. In the mid 13th century the construction of the Cathedral the Virgin Mary´s Assumption and the monastery in Romanesque-Gothic style was completed. The cathedral was a grand five-nave basilica.
In the 15th century the Hussites burnt down the monastery. In the following centuries it was rebuilt several times and at the turn of the 17th and the 18th centuries it got the recent form. The architect of the Baroque reconstruction is unknown as well as the artists, who decorated the interior. According to the style it is attributed to Giovanni Pietro Tencalli.
In the period of the religious reforms by Joseph II, the Cistercian monastery was abolished and the famous basilica became an unimportant village church.
In the second half of the 19th century in connection with millennium commemoration of the Cyril and Methodius´s mission to Moravia Velehrad was revived. In 1890 the Jesuits came to Velehrad. They have stayed there until now, with the exception of the forty years of communism, when the monastery was abolished. In 1927 the pope Pius IX appreciated the meaning of Velehrad and administered the title “basilica minor” to the cathedral. In 1985 at the 1100 years anniversary of St.Methodius death the pope Jan Paul II donated the Golden Rose to the basilica (only a few cathedrals all over the world obtained this honour). In 1990 during his first visit to the Czech Republic the pope visited this place.