Our today´s target will be the Strahov Monastery which is to be found in the neighbourhood of the Prague Castle. Here beautiful architectural elements combine with historical treasures represented by precious paintings and books. Let´s visit the oldest Premonstratensian Monastery in Bohemia.
The monastery was founded in 1140 by the Prince of Bohemia and future King Vladislav II. who was also burried here in 1178. Also the Olomouc Bishop Jindřich Zdík had a great merit in its founding. In 1143 the first Premonstratensian monks from Westphalian Steinfeld arrived. There were numerous reconstructions during its existence for the complex burnt down in 1258. The turning point was the year 1613 when the abbatian garden was founded in its premises. The present Baroque appearance of the entire complex was a merit of the noted Italian architect Anselmo Lurago. The monastery operated until 1950 when it was closed and the local friars were taken away to collecting camps. Currently the Strahov Canonry has seventy-four friars. Some of them operate in the monastery, others across the Czech Republic.
The author of the current architectural decorations and mainly of the entire Baroque appearance is Anselmo Lurago. The decoration works were also performed by Ignác Platzer, the author of the fighting giants at the main gate leading to the First Courtyard of the Prague Castle.
A very important hall is kapitulní síň (Chapter Hall) which was in 1990 restored to its original appearance. In this room new members join the order. It is a place where very precious paintings and other works of art are situated. In the premises we would also find a significant picture gallery with collections containing paintings from the Gothic to the Romatic period.
Another important room is the monastic library, one of the most precious and best preserved libraries in our country. There are more than two hundred thousand of books here, including more than three thousand manuscripts and even one thousand five hundred incunbula which are placed in a special depositary. The library complex is formed by the Theological and Philosophical Halls.
Strahov monastery -plan
1. The Basilica of Assumption of Our Lady
2. Entrance to the library and monastery
3. Philosophical Halls
4. Theological Halls
5. Entry to the Museum of National Literature
6. Strahov Monastery Picture Gallery
The founder of the order of the Premonstratensians was Saint Norbert who is buried there, too. His remains were transferred to Strahov shortly after the Battle of the White Mountain. The White Mountain just like the Summer Palace Hvězda (Star) is situated in the monastery´s neighbourhood. Another unicum of the Strahov Monastery is its gorgeous organ that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in person was several times playing. He also held a few concerts in the Estates Theatre. Another gem is the 12th-century monastic swimming pool. In case you like to join the monastery you either need to be a widower or unmarried man.
Strahovské nádvoří 132/1
118 00 Praha 1 – Hradčany
Tram – 15, 22 – Pohořelec
GPS: Loc: 50°5’10.342″N, 14°23’22.417″E
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