Fabulous floor-to-ceiling shelving Strahov Library in Prague

4:22:00 PM

How many of you dreamed of visiting a full-painted library with floor-to-ceiling shelving? Yes like the ones in Disney movies! This weekend we finally visited Strahov Library in Prague and though it was a short visit we could take amazing pictures of this one of a kind library.

Strahov Library is the largest monastic library in the country, and reminds me of the libraries in fairytales and Disney movies (esp. the Beauty and the Beast). The inside of the library is stunning and offers a view of the Philosophy Hall which was built to fit around the floor-to-ceiling shelves that were rescued from another monastery in the country. This library played an important role in the country’s history, and offers around 200.000 old prints mostly from 16-18th centuries, 3000 manuscripts and 1500 first prints.

The origin of these collections goes back to the 12th Century when the monastery was founded. The construction of the library was interrupted through time due the fire in 1258, damaged by Hussite warriors in the 15thC, invasion of the Swedish troops in 1648 –who took many books to their country.

Historical halls of the Strahov Library

After the Thirty Years’ War, the books were stored in a new hall, which is now the Theological Hall. There’s a large ceiling fresco: Mankind’s Quest for True Wisdom, with the figure of the Divine Providence in the center surrounded by a golden light, and at the edges you can see the figures of Adam and Eve, and Greek philosophers. The library was taken care of, and collections of books were intact for many years.

Apart from this library which you get to see first when entering, down the corridor you can see another one, brighter and which offers the Philosophy Hall in a curved ceiling painted mostly in soft colors, decorated with painted cartouches revolving the topic of True Wisdom.

Famous guests of the library

This place was important for the National Revival and became known around Europe in the 19th Century. Many important people visited it –Horatio Nelson, Marie Louise (Napoleon’s wife) etc. The country abolished orders and congregations in the 50s after the Communist coup, and many members of religious orders were killed and their properties were taken. The Strahov Library was a part of the Museum of Czech Literature but in 1989 with the fall of Communism, book collections were given back to the library.

When to visit the library?

The place opens every day except for December 24 & 25 and Easter Sunday, from 9am to 5pm (closes for lunch break 12-1pm).
Price is 120CZK but there are discounts for students (60CZK).

You can also book a guided tour in the inside of the library from Monday to Friday 8.30-4.30.
How to get there?

The library is in Královská kanonie premonastrátů na Strahově, Strahovské nádvoří 1/132, you can get there by public transport, bus or car.

Public transport: take tram n22 from the city center and get off at the caste, it’s just a short walk away from there and there are lots of signs telling you about the place.

*For those of you interested in visiting this gorgeous city here are some posts I wrote during my many trips to Prague:
Vysehrad: the foundation of Prague?
Me, myself & Prague
Prague: where to eat
Christmas time in Prague: markets
What to wear in Prague: summer.


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