Public libraries were once the hub for human intellectual progress where we could find hoards of literature. However, even though e-books and audiobooks are taking over, there is still something about libraries attracting people. It could be their magnificent historical buildings or the smell of old books and dust, or that it radiates tranquility and wisdom.
Libraries were often built to be attractive and made to last, as they symbolize education’s critical role in the community. Combined with priceless book collections and huge intimate spaces, the possesses a charm like no other building, rich in architectural delights and history.
The Clementinum Library
The Clementinum Library is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. It is the second-largest building in Prague; the largest is Prague Castle.
The Clementinum Library is an exquisite model of Baroque architecture. An astronomical tower on the tope became world-famous thanks to scientists Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler.
Built by Kilian Ignatz Dientzenhofer, it first opened in 1722 as part of the Klementinum Jesuit university, the third largest Jesuit college globally. It housed over 20,000 books. Director Karel Rafael Ungar established Biblioteca Nationalis, a collection of Czech language literature in 1781. Some of the rare historical books have been sent to Google for scanning and will ultimately be available on Google Books.
Some of the theological books have been in the library since the time of the Jesuits. “Vyshegrad Codex” (1085) is the oldest book in the library dating back to the 11th century, an illuminated Romanesque Gospel Book.
Jan Hiebl German-born artist, painted the ceiling frescoes of the library in Prague. Fresco is a mural painting technique of painting performed on freshly laid lime plaster, usually on wall surfaces. Water is utilized as a carrier for the dry-powder pigment to blend with the plaster.
The View From The Clementinum Library
Apart from the dazzling frescoes, and rare and old books, the library astounds its visitors with its balcony with highly ornate railing and stairs, and astronomical clocks, giant globes handmade by the Jesuits, in the middle of the room.
The Clementinum Library is totally majestic! Many people would agree that this rare treasure is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.
Interesting facts linked to the spectacular library are that recording of local weather began in the library in 1775. It was mentioned in one of the famous Spanish novel “The Secret Miracle” by Jorge Luise Borges.
It is believed that everything in the library is untouched as it was almost three centuries ago.
The Strahov Library
Prague’s Strahov Library is the second oldest monastery in the city, situated in Strahov Prague. Consisting of two baroque halls, Theological and Philosophical Halls, which you may not go through yet you can peek in.
It is also the most valuable and best-preserved historical Library, consisting of about 200 000 old prints, mostly from the 16th and 18th centuries. Strahov Evangeliary from the 9th century is one of it’s most precious books.
Jan of Šelmberk’s bible, 1440
The Theological Hall’s low curved ceiling is encrusted in ornate baroque stucco work and decorated with painted cartouches depicting the theme of “True Wisdom.” Built by Giovanni Domenico Orsi in 1679 in the Baroque Style.
Roughly 18,000 books focus on Theology and earth, and astronomical globes are on both sides of the hall.
The Strahov Library gained many books in the 17th and 18th centuries. Therefore Philosophical Hall, with its stunning interior, was built by Jan Ignaz Palliardi.
With it’s exquisitely carved and gilded floor-to-ceiling walnut shelving, which was rescued from another monastery, it has spiral staircases in the corners to get to the upper gallery.
The hall is not only focused on religion; there are also medical, pharmaceutical, juridical, philosophical, geographical, mathematical, astronomical, and many other books.
In the lobby outside the hall remains of skates, sharks, and other sea creatures in an 18th-century cabinet.
View from Strahov Monastery
On the ceiling, you can see a majestic fresco “Mankind’s Quest for True Wisdom.” In the heart of the fresco, among a burst of golden light, there is the enthroned figure of Divine Providence, and around the edges are models ranging from Adam and Eve to the Greek philosophers.
Featured image: © Jorge royan / http://www.royan.com.ar(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strahov_Monastery#/media/File:Strahov_Theological_Hall,Prague-_7565.jpg)