The main entrance to Strahov Monastery is through quite a nice Baroque gate, with statues atop, one of St. Norbert, the founder of the Premonstratensian order. The statue was made in 1742.
I don't know what the old wall is in the second photo, only that it was close to the main entrance.
Obviously it was something important for the tour group to be there!
The very tall St Rochus Church is located across the courtyard from the Library to the left of the entrance gateway. This Church was built 1603–12 during the rule of Emperor Rudolf II, is quite different to the rest of Strahov Monastery. St. Roch is a patron against plague.
I didn't go inside, as this Church is now the Gallery MIRO where you can view exhibitions of Modern ART
When it came to us to visit the Library, we found it was 15mins before closing time! We paid the entry fee and entered, only able to have a quick look.
The Theological Hall is so named because most of the volumes refer to the Bible in some way. Over 18,000 volumes are stored in the Theological Hall. One wall contains nothing but different editions of the Bible or parts of the Bible in many languages.
The Theological Hall is the oldest part of the Library, dating from 1679. The beautiful ceiling frescoes are based on the hall's founding ideas "that true wisdom is acquired through fear of God." These were added when it was renovated in 1727.
There is a Gothic wooden statue of St John the Evangelist holding a pouch which is known as a girdle book. This was used as a travel bag, quite often destroyed during journeys or cut off on inclusion in the book collection.
Other points of interest are the 'compilation wheel', commissioned by the library in 1678 and used to compile texts, and the collection of astronomical and terrestrial Globes.
You can see all of these in my photo's.
We had to view this room from behind a barrier. It was quite crowed and of course, everybody wanted "their" time to take a photo, including me!
Open daily ..9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m., lunchtime break 12.00 p.m. - 1.00 p.m.
Admission: CZK 80
If your looking for Toilets, they are next door to the entrance
The Basilica of Assumption of Our Lady is our next stop at the Strahov Monastery.
This is another building which has seen several changes in styles of architecture, starting of as a triple-aisle Romanesque basilica, then re-built in Gothic style after a fire in 1258. When the Hussites plundered the Church and it fell into disrepair, reconstruction began in Renaissance style. This was not the end though!
In 1742, the basilica was severely damaged again, this time by the French, so the building was given a Baroque overhaul which is how it has finally been left!
Over the years, the Basilica has grown in size, from 56 metres long, to the 63 metres long it is today.
Inside, we could only view from behind lovely wrought iron gates. We could see 10 Altars, sculptural work and lots of lovely frescoes on the ceiling and walls, depicting the Virgin Mary and scenes from the life of St Norbert.
We were too far away to see the gilded brass sarcophagus and body of the founder of the Premonstratensians, St Norbert, who lies buried in an ebony coffin, and the Organ that Mozart once played.
The Strahov Cabinet of Curiosities is not one Cabinet, but many lining either side of the walls of the connecting passage way between the two Library Halls. These were bought for Strahov out of the estate of Karel Jan Erben in 1798. Each holds weird and wonderful collections of insects, minerals, all types of things, even the remains of an extinct Dodo Bird.
Different and interesting, I wish I had more time for a better look. The cabinets themselves were beautiful!
Open daily throughout the year 9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m., lunchtime break 12.00 p.m. - 1.00 p.m.
Admission: CZK 80
The Philosophical Hall is the "other" Library in the building. The newer of the two Libraries, the outside façade was built in 1783, then the inside wasn't completed until 1797.
The lovely walnut interior of the Library came from the Premonstratensian monastery in Louka. The hall is 32 metres long and 22 metres wide and has a beautiful ceiling fresco which took 6 months to paint the fresco 'Intellectual Progress of Mankind' - a depiction of developments in science and religion.
I thought it was interesting, that the highest rows of books are only accessible from the gallery by a hidden spiral staircase behind false book spines.
This Library holds 42,000 books.
To view this Library, we also had to stand behind a barrier.
Open daily throughout the year 9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m., lunchtime break 12.00 p.m. - 1.00 p.m.
Admission: CZK 80
The Refectories were included in our admission to the Art Galleries. I really thought the stunning frescoes in the Summer Refectory, that spans the whole length of the vaulted ceiling, was just as good as in the Philosophical Hall. This seems to be overlooked by the majority of tourist's who just head to the well known sites. The Romanesque hall and the stucco ceiling of the Winter Refectory is not as impressive, but still very nice to the eye!
These were large halls used for communal meals, even today, they are used for social events and gala's.
I am not sure of what kind of Art this was at the Monastery, I though it may have been Caricature Art. Perhaps somebody may know?
There were quite a few pieces on display, of which I looked at every one! I absolutely loved this art, and had a good laugh and took many photo's! It was in the Art Gallery, so I hope you can see it too!
Included in the admission price.
Located in the central court is where we found the Strahov gallery. This gallery is quoted as "One of the most unique art galleries in Prague."
In the 18th century, the Monastery had a good art collection by famous Artist's, unfortunately, when the communist government had the Monastery demolished, the Art pieces were spread around different Prague galleries. Since 1992, when the Monastery was rebuilt, these important pieces [1500 of them] were returned to the Monastery and are on show. Lovely pieces date from the 14th -19th centuries.
The Art gallery has a permanent exhibition and a temporary one. Do make sure to visit both floors
so you can see everything! There are complete sets of Bohemian and Mid-European Gothic paintings and sculptures and works of Bohemian and Mid-European Baroque Rococo paintings, Dutch, Flemish and Italian paintings of the 17th and 18th centuries as well as paintings from prominent Bohemian painters from the beginning of the 19th century.
Lots of beautiful Art!
OPEN 9-12 closed for Lunch RE-OPEN 12.30-5 PM
ADMISSION ADULTS 80czk DISCOUNT 40 czk
The Strahov Monastery, built in 1140, is best known for its magnificent library, but I found more than the Library of interest!
Where the Monastery was built by King Vladislav II, back in 1140, was the approach route to Prague Castle. Premonstratensians are a Roman Catholic order of canons founded in 1120 by St. Norbert, who settled in Prague in 1143. This is when the Monastery began to prosper, the old was knocked down, and new Romanesque buildings were built. After a fire, it was rebuilt, this time in Gothic style, then later added to in Baroque style.
I really don't know why they changed the styles so often!
We had walked to here from Petrin Tower, having a wonderful approach view of this huge Monastery. After another short climb, we were there and in the first courtyard where some big Czech Lions were standing guard. They were magnificent!
This is a very important point to remember
If your here around lunch time, like we were, you may be out of luck, AS THEY CLOSE FOR LUNCH. The Library closes 1 hour Open 9-12 & 1-5pm The Gallery closes half hour
Open 9-12.30 & 1-5pm
Strahov Monastery and St Norbert is a permanent exhibition about the past and present of Strahov monastery. Exhibition includes a chapter hall and cloisters.
Entrance fees: 40 czk adults & 20czk reduced.
Strahov Picture Gallery declared as "One of the most prominent monastic collections"
Entrance fees:80czk adults & 40czk reduced.
Phone : +420 220 517 451
Metro/Bus : Tram: 22 - Bus: 143, 149, 217
Strahov Monastery was founded in 1140, though the present Gothic structure dates back to the 13th century. It is currently home to about 80 monks of the Catholic Premonstratensian Order and remains an active monastery to this day. It features an impressive church, and an even more impressive library that did not fail to catch my attention and make a rather lasting impression! The library consists of two amazing Baroque halls built in the 17th and 18th centuries. The first one, the Theological Hall, was completed in 1679 and besides its book collection, it also features a collection of 17th-century astronomical globes. The second one, the Philosophical Hall, was completed in 1782. On top of its lovely wooden bookcases is a vaulted ceiling featuring an elaborate fresco called "The Struggle of Mankind to Know Real History". Both the library (admission: 80 CZK) and the church are open to visitors.
The Strahof Monastery is a must-see destination for anyone---the Library is fascinating, and as well as books, there are some Natural Specimens including a Dodo Bird (pretty much starting to disintegrate, tho). The restaurant is excellent right across the path from the Library---The Brothers make a great dark beer and I had a bowl of very good Goulash Soup to go with it! I took public transport up the hill and walked down---there was a fun antique shop on the way down which I never would have seen otherwise---bought Mom a metal (local) vintage Nativity Scene, which she collects, for about $15 US!
About $5 entrance----
The Strahov Monastery is one of the earliest settlements of the Premonstratensian Order. It is located on a hill at the end of the valley that separates castle hill and Petrin hill, that stretches up from the Lesser Town (Mala Strana). Due to its relatively long distance to the hot spots of tourism, especially the old town, it is hardly ever crowded - one of the reasons to make it one of my favourite places in Prague.
The other reason is that it offers stunning architecture and art. See the next tips for the famous library and the museum/cloisters. This one is about the churches and grounds (which are mostly designed as gardens).
The main entrance with a gate, on top a statue of St. Norbert, founder of the Premonstratensian Order, from 1755 takes you to a large and nice courtyard with trees providing shade on hot summer days. In the middle is a Baroque Trinity column. On the left side, right after passing the entrance, is the St. Rochus chapel, a donation of Emperor Rudolf II. It was erected 1603 - 12 in a mix of late Gothic and early Renaissance style which makes the architecture quite interesting. It is currently used as exhibition hall for contemporary art. Open daily, small entrance fee.
The Abbey church is the dominating building of the courtyard. It was reconstructed quite some times during the centuries, the latest time 1742 - 58 in Baroque style by Anselmo Lurago. The door is open during daytime but an inner glass door is NOT. So you can only catch a glimpse of the interior, even worse is that the wrought-iron bars obstruct the view and make taking photos a tough job. Anyway, I got the impression that the redesign in Baroque style was a quite forced work; somehow it doesn't fit well with the older architecture.
I highly recommend to spend some time in the gardens of the monastery. They are below the complex on the hillsides. Easy walking paths lead through the gardens providing great views of the city. Turn right to get to Petrin hill. From that path is also the place with the statue in pic 5 accessible - great views again and very peaceful.
Strahov Monastery is IMO an absolute *must* when you're in Prague. Most tourists only see the library (which is stunning, granted) and miss the cloisters and the gallery.
In the cloisters you can see some really old architecture: Romanesque and Gothic style, beautiful Baroque halls with frescos and stucco. It's a very peaceful place and I enjoyed wandering around w/o the usual crowds.
Don't miss the gallery upstairs. They have a wonderful collection of old religious paintings and woodcarved figures. The rooms looked like recently restored and are beautiful as well (2nd floor of the cloisters).
Admission fee is inexpensive.
Strahov monastery first time was mentioned in 1120, when St. Norbert founded Order of Premonstratensians. There was Romanesque monastery at first, later fully rebuilt to gothic and in 18th century big changes were made adding Baroque style.
Strahov monastery is known as pilgrimage site and a place, where famous Strahov library is, saving huge number of medieval books, writings.
It is pity I haven’t had too much time to visit it inside, but I think it is well worth place to see.