Going to the capital of the Czech Republic , many tourists are heading for the famous Prague Castle , but few people know that the second largest city complex is Clementinum, where the National Library of the country is now located. It is built in the late Baroque style and surprises visitors with the architecture of the XIX century, the splendor of decoration and valuable artifacts.


The complex of buildings, known today as Clementinum, was built on the site of a Dominican monastery. In 1552 a Jesuit collegium was built here. Subsequently, the complex grew to become the largest center for the preparation of the Jesuits in the world, as the rich order bought the surrounding lands and erected new buildings on them. In 1773, it was abolished, and Clementinum itself - redeveloped to the library, the largest in Prague and in the Czech Republic as a whole.

The name of the complex came from the chapel of St. Clement (Clement), which was located here in the Middle Ages.

Clementinum these days

Today, the library has registered more than 60 thousand readers, and for tourists there are excursions . In addition to the library business itself, Clementinum's employees are involved in the translation of ancient manuscripts and ancient texts, and since 1992 - also digitizing all the documents contained in the repositories.

In 2005, this institution received the UNESCO Prize for its participation in the Memory of the World program.

Clementinum is the most beautiful library

Make sure that this is really so, you can by visiting the tour. However, even from the photo Clementinum in Prague you will see the amazing luxury of the inner halls.

The complex consists of the following buildings and premises:

  1. The Jesuit Church of the Savior , or the Church of St. El Salvador. Its facade overlooks the square from which the Charles Bridge begins.
  2. An astronomical tower 68 m high. At its top there is an observation deck , you can get to it by climbing 172 stairs. There is a sculpture of Atlanta holding the heavenly sphere. From the Astronomical Tower Clementinum offers a wonderful view of the Old Town with its tiled roofs.
  3. Library Hall in Baroque style, where about 20 thousand old volumes of books are collected, including incunabula (rare specimens, published before 1501) in the amount of 4200 pieces. The Clementinum Library was established in 1722 and since then has not changed much, completely reflecting the structure of all the bookrooms of that period. The ceiling here is painted with amazing frescoes by D.Dibel. Several large astronomical and geographical globes are installed in the center of the hall. To inspect the hall you can only stand at the entrance - access is allowed only to researchers and students who have special permits.
  4. The Mirror Hall , or the Mirror Chapel in Clementinum, is one of the most popular places in Prague for a wedding . Stunning interiors of the chapel are marble floors, murals on the walls, stucco molding and a mirror ceiling. There are also concerts of jazz and classical music.
  5. Meridian hall . Thanks to the movement of the sunbeam through a semi-dark room, arranged in a special way, the inhabitants of medieval Prague knew exactly when it was noon. So it was until 1928. Also here you can see old appliances - two wall quadrants and a sextant.

Interesting Facts

You do not need to book an excursion to learn about Clementinum the following:

  1. When the Jesuits settled in Prague, they had only one book. Their wealth they were able to increase to more than a solid fund of 20 thousand copies.
  2. At one time, the books of "heretics" were destroyed in Clementinum. It is known that a Jesuit by the name of Konias burned here about 30 thousand volumes of this kind.
  3. For some time, the mysterious manuscript was kept in the Clementinum library in Prague. Written in an unknown language at the beginning of the XV century, she confounded the best scientists in Europe. Voynich's manuscript, as it was called, was never deciphered. Now it is stored in the library of Yale University.
  4. One of the Prague legends says that in the cellars there are treasures of the Jesuits, who allegedly hid their wealth after the Pope of Rome dissolved the order.

Clementinum in Prague - how to get there?

The famous library is located in the area of ​​Stare Mesto, near the Charles Bridge. To get here the easiest way is by tram: in the afternoon until the stop of Staroměstská, itineraries Nos. 2, 17 and 18 run, and at night - N93.

The length of the Clementinum tour is 45 minutes, and its cost is 220 CZK ($ 10) for adults and 140 ($ 6.42) for children and students. The guide speaks English or Czech.

To comfortably explore all the sights of the old city, you can stay at one of the hotels near Clementinum - for example, Century Old Town Prague 4 *, EA Hotel Julis 3 *, Wenceslas Square Hotel 3 *, Club Hotel Praha 2 *.