Clementinum in Prague – the most beautiful library in the Czech Republic

Prague can be safely called the treasury of medieval buildings. Nevertheless, even among such a cluster of ancient architectural structures, there are those that stand out against the background of a rich historical heritage. Clementinum (Prague), an architectural ensemble with an area of ​​2 hectares, is considered to be such a pearl. The complex is decorated in the Baroque style, for several centuries it was the center of religion, education, culture.

Hall in the Clementinum library, Prague

General information

Decor of the Clementinum Library, Prague

The architectural and historical complex is the second largest in Prague after the Prague Castle. The territory is divided into courtyards on the principle of the same Prague Castle. The attraction consists of buildings dating from the 18th century:

  • university library;
  • astronomical observatory;
  • mirror chapel;
  • math museum;
  • weather station.

Interesting fact! The Clementinum weather station was the first in Central Europe, work on the study of weather conditions began here in the middle of the 18th century, air temperature measurements were carried out daily. In this weather station, Keller discovered the laws of the movement of the bodies.

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The architects of Habsburg Baroque were involved in the design of the landmark. The name of the complex is associated with St. Clement, in whose honor in the 11th century a chapel was built on the site of the complex, and later a Dominican monastery.

The main facade of the Church of the Savior faces Krzhizhovnitskaya street, this part of the attraction is the oldest. Decorated with busts of rulers.

Clementinum Library Building

Also, the facades of the building overlook Platnershskaya street, they are decorated with the faces of saints. The facades on Marianskaya Square are decorated in the Baroque style, they are decorated with statues of Athena, Apollo and images of the Jesuits. Part of the facades overlook Karlova Street, this part of the building is also made in the Baroque style.

The attraction is a two-story building, which form five enclosed courtyards. As conceived by architects, towers are dominant in the architectural design:

  • Astronomical, decorated with an Atlanta figure;
  • clock tower;
  • typography.

Interesting fact! In the courtyard, the attention of tourists is attracted by a sundial, a reservoir stylized as a fountain and original sculptures.

Clementinum Library

The decoration of office and public spaces is strikingly different. The interior of public places is rich and luxurious, since the main goal is the chanting of faith. The halls present a variety of types of art, many of which have been preserved in excellent condition to this day. The key elements of the interior of the church are the fresco “four parts of the world”, as well as the altar. The arch of the church is divided into four parts by frescoes, telling about the life of St. Clement. Brown, Brandl worked on interior decoration.

The iconostasis of the church was completely renovated in 1984, its 10 pillars symbolize the apostles, the royal gates and the Old, New Testaments.

Good to know! The church is active, services are regularly held here.

Story

The symbol of the Jesuits
The symbol of the Jesuits

Initially, several residential buildings, churches, a Dominican monastery, and gardens were built on the territory of Clementinum in the Czech Republic. In the middle of the 16th century, the Jesuit College was founded, three years later (1555) the entire territory of the complex passed to the Jesuits. Gradually they expanded their possessions – they built a school, a printing house, a theater in Clementinum, the university also passed into their full control.

Good to know! In the 17th century, the Jesuit College became the largest Jesuit training center in the world.

At the end of the 18th century, the Jesuit order was expelled from the Czech Republic, because according to the king, the influence of the order on society became too serious. Since then, Clementinum has become a secular institution. Later in Clementinum they began to collect and store books from Charles University, as well as libraries of collegiums and Jesuit temples.

What to see inside

Clementinum Library in Prague

Hall at the Clementinum Library

The Clementinum National Prague Library is one of the most famous in the world. The last reconstruction was carried out in the period from 1924 to 1931. The most valuable copies of manuscripts, ancient editions and rare books are stored in the halls of the library. The room is richly decorated with frescoes on the theme of science, art, the Dome of the Temple of Wisdom is depicted on the dome.

Interesting fact! The Clementinum Library is one of the ten most beautiful libraries in the world.

The library is not only a tourist attraction and historical landmark; readers, students and books come here for public access. Now the readers of the complex are 60 thousand people. Throughout the entire period of existence, library staff translated a huge number of rare books and manuscripts. At the end of the last century, work began on the digitization of documents that are stored in Clementinum.

Interesting fact! In 2005, the library received an award established by UNESCO for its active participation in the Memory of the World program.

Main Hall at the Clementinum Library

For some time, mysterious manuscripts dating to the first half of the 15th century and written in an unknown language by an unknown author were kept in Clementinum. Attempts to translate documents and establish authorship have so far failed. Today the manuscripts are at Yale.

The total fund of the National Library has 7 million books, half of them are presented in the historical hall of Clementinum.

Astronomical tower
Astronomical tower

Another object available for visiting by tourists. The observatory still carries out meteorological measurements. Here, at an altitude of 68 meters, an observation deck is open, from where old Prague is perfectly visible. You can get to the observation deck by elevator to the third floor, and then on foot, breaking 87 steps. Near the observation deck is the Meridian’s room. A string is used as a meridian; at noon a solar bunny falls on it, which passes through a hole in the wall. This event is reported daily to residents of the city with a raised flag. Here you can also see an exhibition of ancient astronomical instruments, see documents that describe the history of the tower.

Good to know! Entrance ticket entitles you to visit the Astronomical Tower.

Mirror Hall (chapel)
Mirror Hall

The author of the project is an architect from Prague with German roots – Kilian Ignaz Dintsenhofer. The name of the hall was given by mirrors built into the walls and complementing the stucco molding. The main theme in the design of the room is the Blessing of the Virgin Mary.

Two organs are preserved in the chapel, which, with excellent acoustics of the hall, sound great in unison. One of the musical instruments built in the 18th century, it was played by Mozart.

Good to know! Classical concerts are regularly held in the hall, and there are also many who wish to hold a wedding ceremony in the Mirror Hall.

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Interesting facts about Clementinum

The big hall in the library
  1. One of the Jesuits in the area of ​​the sights in Prague burned about 30 thousand books, which were considered heretical.
  2. During the revolution in 1848, Clementinum was a fortress for students.
  3. According to one legend, after the decree of the Pope, when the Jesuit order was dissolved in 1773, the Jesuits hid their wealth, walled them up in the walls of the cellars of Clementinum.
  4. The Jesuits arrived in Prague with just one book, but over the years of their stay in the Czech Republic, the book stock increased to 20 thousand books.

Practical information

  • The Clementinum address in Prague: Mariánské náměstí 5, Praha 1.
  • Working hours:
SeasonDays of the weekTime
From March 15 to November 24DailyFrom 10-00 to 18-00
From November 25 to March 14Sunday to ThursdayFrom 10-00 to 17-30
From November 25 to March 14Friday and SaturdayFrom 10-00 to 18-00
From December 15 to January 10DailyFrom 10-00 to 18-00
  • Admission: adult ticket 300 CZK, preferential ticket 200 CZK, children under 6 years old admission is free, the price of a family ticket is 900 CZK.
  • Official website: https://www.klementinum.com/en/.

Useful Tips

Geography Hall in the Clementine Library
  1. Be sure to visit a concert of classical music. The event is light, unobtrusive and will undoubtedly become a “cherry on the cake” during a visit to Prague. Tickets for classical music concerts are purchased separately, their cost is on average 30 EUR.
  2. Daily from 10-00 with a frequency of 30 minutes for tourists guided tours in English and Czech. Duration – 45 minutes.
  3. Entrance to the library is prohibited, you can only admire the luxury from the doorway. Taking pictures is also prohibited.
  4. Near the entrance to Clementinum, guests are offered printed products about the sights, including in Russian.
  5. How to get there. The complex is located in the center of Prague, you can walk from Charles Bridge. Alternatively, take metro line A to Staromestska Station. Trams No. 2, 17, 18 follow Klementinum, tram No. 93 runs at night. The complex can also be reached by taxi.

An excursion to Clementinum (Prague) will certainly leave a good impression, because in addition to the old library you will find yourself in the Astronomical Tower, visit the Meridian’s room and go up to the observation deck.

Walk through the Prague library Klimentinum:



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