Have you seen this place?! My biblophile heart exploded.
Before I get into the most magnificent pictures of this library, here’s a bit of history on it:
This amazing place was founded in 1232 and is part of a complex building series, the oldest and most historic in Prague’s Old Town. There are three major buildings within the Klementinum —
- Mirror Chapel: a truly beautiful and unique chapel built in 1724, with extensive frescos and carvings. Houses two 18th century organs, one played by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on his visits to the Klementinum.
- Baroque Library Hall: stunning home of the Czech National Library, housing 20,000 books from the early 17th century onwards. The hall is decorated with magnificent ceiling frescoes, and remains unaltered since the 18th century.
- Astronomical Tower: 172 steps lead to the top of the tower for 360° views over Prague. A lift operates only part of the way, so not for visitors with walking difficulties. On the 2nd floor of the tower is the Meridian Hall, which was designed to determine noon.
And some more info, thanks to Wiki:
- At one time the Clementinum was known as the third largest Jesuit college in the world.
- The oldest weather recording in the area of the Czech lands started in Clementinum in the year 1775. The recording continues through the present day.
- The Clementinum is mentioned in “The Secret Miracle” by Jorge Luis Borges. The main character has a dream of the library of Clementinum where the librarians look for God in the books of the library. One of the librarians says:God is in one of the letters of one of the pages of one of the four hundred thousand books of Clementinum. My fathers and the fathers of my fathers have looked for this letter; I myself have gone blind looking for it. So, a reader enters and delivers an atlas for the main character, saying that this atlas is useless. The main character opens the book at random, and find a map of India, touching one of its minimum letters and, then, finds God.
- The Baroque library hall inside Clementinum is known for its beautiful interior, including ceiling artwork by Jan Hiebl.
I could just stare at the library images all day.
And since I’ll be studying in London for two years, a flight (one-way) is roughly $50. How could I pass up a weekend trip to this beauty?!