The Clementinum and the National Library is one of the most historical landmarks of Prague where holds more than 6 millions books. Also, in Czech its called Klementinum. Actually, The Clementinum (Klementinum) and the National Library is not just one building. It is a complex of multiple historical buildings. You should add this important heritage of Czech national history heritage to places to see the list in Prague. You can visit here while you are walking to Prague Castle or while turning back from there. It is just next to the Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) where is another important place to see.
History of The Clementinum and the National Library
Jesuits was founded the Klementinum in 1556 after their arrival to the Bohemia. When the Jesuits first came to the region they were lived in a former Dominican Monastery. As in the years, they started to expand the premises and building starting from 1653. Maybe you won’t believe it but the construction works took more than 170 years. This is the main reason variations of the architectural style of the Klementinum. When you go there you will clearly see and understand what I mean. The total area of the Klementinum is more than 2 hectares which makes it one of the biggest historical complexes in all Europe.
After the foundation of the Klementinum, Jesuits opened a school in 1622. However, it became a university complex with classroom and bedrooms for the people. In addition to this a library, theatre, churches and couple more building added to the complex within the years. In 1654, Klementinum merged with the Charles University and also all library collections. After the leaving of Jesuits from Prague due to disestablishment of the movement in 1773, Czech gain the control of Klementinum. It later became the National Library of Czech in 1930. From that date, it called not only the Klemetinum, The Clementinum and the National Library. Especially, the interior of the buildings are truly amazing, bookshelf, ceilings, detail of the design and of course the atmosphere inside the building are truly from another timeline. I can point out 4 important places/things to see in Klemetinum. You can find the details below.
This towers offers you one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Prague City. Astronomical Tower built in 1722 and it 68 meters height. You will the Atlas carrying a sphere made by Matthias Bernard Braun. By the increase of the astronomical studies in the city, astronomical tower constructed for those studies. During the construction of the Klemetinum worldwide famous astronomers like Kepler, Brahe and Hajek were living in the city but the observatory built-in 1751. Astronomy was always an important topic for the Klementinum since its foundation.
Astronomical Tower of the Klementinum is just located at the centre of the building complex next to the Baroque Library. You will see it just in front of you when you enter from the southeast entrance. Astronomical Tower is the most famous part of The Clementinum and the National Library. Also, don’t forget to visit the Meridian Hall on the 2nd floor of the tower. Meridian Hall was used to determining the noon as a part of the astronomical studies.
Similar to the Astronomical Tower of Klementinum, Baroque Library opened in 1722 as a part of Jesuit school. Baroque Library was holding around 20.000 volume of historical records starting from the 17th century, mostly focused on theological literature and studies. The interior design of the Baroque Library is the same since the beginning. Maria Theresa announced the Baroque Library became a Public university and Library in 1777. Today, Baroque Library has an important place among the world’s library and universities because of its very wide collections. However, an official of the Baroque Library started to digitize its recording which can be accessed from anywhere in the world. I can definitely tell that the Baroque Library is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, worth to see!
Probably you have never heard of anything about Vyšehrad Codex before. Vyšehrad Codex is a Latin coronation Gospel book. It is one of the most important and valuable written manuscripts in Bohemia. It is not clear but the prevalent thought is Vyšehrad Codex probably written for to honour the coronation of King Vrastislav II in 1085. Vyšehrad Codex becomes the national cultural monument of the Czech in 2005. You can see Vyšehrad Codex’s replica at the Klementinum. Originals are under the protection.
Where is The Clementinum and the National Library?
Klementinum is very close to the Old Town Hall, located next to the bank of Vitara river. The eastern entrance of the Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) goes directly to the entrance of the Klementinum. In Prague, you can go to most of the historical places and landmarks. Also, I’m suggesting to walk around the discover Prague but if you want to use public transport that’s ok, you have multiple options. You can use the metro, tram or bus to go to The Clementinum and the National Library. You can find the list of the nearby stations for the public transport below.
- Staroměstská metro station (Green line)
- Staroměstská tram station (Line 2, 13, 14, 17, 18, 93)
- Mariánské náměstí bus station (Line 194)
- Staroměstská bus station (Line 194)
Klementinum Tickets and Tour
Klementinum has 3 entrances; Marianské náměstí, Karlova ulice and Křižovnická ulice. It doesn’t matter where you enter from but I think it is good to know these kinds of things. Klementinum tours are daily which is very good. You can avoid the weekend due to overcrowding. Generally, Klementinum tours start at every 30 minutes and last around 60 minutes. During the Klementinum tours, you will see Astronomical Library, Meridian Hall and Baroques Library. Klementinum Tour generally operates with a maximum of 20 people and you can find text information for multiple languages.
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You can buy Klementinum tickets from its website in advance. There are different discounts for the people and also skip the line advantage for it. You don’t need to print your Klementinum tickets. Generally, the ticket prices for Klementinum varies between 200 to 900 CZK which is equivalent 9 to 40 USD. Also, don’t forget to take look at the offers below to find the other important sport in Prague.
Please share your thoughts, experiences and suggestions about The Clementinum and the National Library on the comment section. Also, feel free to ask any question about this unique place.