One of the most beautiful places in Prague – won’t take you more than an hour to two hours to see yet you’ll be blown away by it for hours on. The Strahov Library. The library of the Premonstratensian monastery at Strahov is allegedly one of the most stunning and well preserved historical libraries in the world. It contains 2 main halls and consists of approximately 200,000 books. This absolutely gorgeous places dates back to 1671 and apart from books it also houses a damn creepy cabinet of curiosities.
Why visit the Strahov Library in Prague?
Walking through the city centre of Prague your eyes will always be drawn towards the Castle and its gothic towers. It is a mighty sight and that sort of architectural beauty that sweeps you off your feet, there’s no arguing about that. Just a few more steps in the direction past the Castle and you find yourself in Strahov. This majestic quarter of the city stretches along the bank of the Petrin Hill (crowned by the baby Eiffel Tower) and it used to be the literal gate to the Prague Castle back in the olden days. Today it’s a quarter that houses university student accommodation, a huge traffic tunnel and a sports stadium. But also the original monastery and its unique library.
The Strahov Library is split into two parts – the Theological Hall and the Philosophers’ Hall. Each hall houses books from different era, but altogether they house over 200,000 volumes of books including facsimiles from the 9th century, books made out of wood and manuscripts of Czech kings and priests. Unfortunately you’re not allowed to enter the halls as such, you just walk to the large doorway and can peek in. Which to be honest isn’t that bad. Considering how many tourists come in every day, they really do need to protect the books and the interior as much as possible.
Cabinet of Curiosities
The Cabinet of Curiosities which is directly adjacent to the halls is a fascinating collection of weird and wonderful. The collection reflects the Rudolphine Renaissance and their interest in the mysterious and remarkable, and the beginnings of the systematic concept of natural science. There are hundreds of bugs and butterflies, but also taxidermy fish, birds and other animals.
For 120 CZK per person you can admire the breath-taking library halls as well as the remains of the Dodo bird and other strange yet wonderful rarities. You can find more information here on their website.
Don’t forget to read more of my tips on what to do in Prague!