Strahov Library in Prague

Strahov Library in Prague

Strahov library is a famous attraction of Prague, but not that often visited by the tourists because it is located a bit away from the main tourist routes. The library consists of two beautiful halls called Theological Hall and Philosophical Hall. No one will stay indifferent in front of a fascinating collection of books and fresco-painted ceilings, even though the libraries can be observed only through the open doors on one side of the structures.  

Strahov Library is an integral part of the Royal Canonry of Premonstratensians at Strahov. Premonstratensians are a religious order within the Roman Catholic Church that was founded by St Norbert in 1120. The oldest scripts in the library date back to the foundation of the abbey in 1143.
The whole monastery, including the library, suffered several disasters over the course of its existence: wooden monastery was destroyed in a fire in 1258 after which it was rebuilt; it was plundered several times by different armies; in 1420 it was plundered by Hussit movement after which it was abandoned for 150 years; in 1648 Swedish forces took a collection of books back to Skandinavia; during the communist regime the library was incorporated in the Museum of National Literature.

The Theological Hall was built in 17th century, but because of the rise in the number of books collected by the monastery there was a construction of another Philosophical Hall in the 18th century.
The Theological Hall was built under the Abbot Jeroným Hirnhaim. Its name comes from the type of literature that was stored in the library that hosts around 18.000 volumes.
The Philosophical Hall hosts around 42.000 volumes covering the areas of philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, history etc.

Ticket prices for the Strahov Library in Prague
Regular ticket price is: 100 CZK.
Reduced ticket price is: 50 CZK.
Permission to take photos: 50 CZK.
Reduced price: students under the age of 27.
We advise you to check ticket prices before visiting – check the official website of the Strahov Library in Prague.

Working hours of the Strahov Library in Prague
Every day 09:00-12:00/ 13:00-17:00h.
Closed: 25 December, Easter Sunday and 20 April.
We advise you to check working hours before visiting – check the official website of the Strahov Library in Prague.

Interesting facts

  • The frescoes in the Theoretical Hall were painted by artists Strahov Premonstratensian and Siard Nosecký, 50 years after its construction. The main theme was acquiring wisdom through piety, the fear of God. This is why there is inscription on the far side of the hall: INITIUM SAPIENTIAE TIMOR DOMINI- the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God.
  • It stays a mystery why the books of the founder of the Theoretical Hall, Abbot Jeroným Hirnhaim, ended up locked as forbidden in special cabinets installed by Hirnhaim himself.
  • The globes in the Theoretical Hall were acquired from a Rotterdam based family that specialized in making maps, globes, atlases etc during the 16th and 17th century.
  • One of the rare women that entered the library was Princess Marie Louise, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. This visit happened in 1812, after which she sent gifts to the library. Among these gifts there were four volumes on the collections of the Louvre Museum in Paris. It is believed that Napoleon ordered the whole print to be destroyed and kept just a few complete editions in his private collection, since these books testified that most of the Louvre collections had been taken from Italy.

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