Libraries stand as symbols of the critical role of education in the community, and they are often rich in history and architectural delights. Large, old, and magnificently-ornamented libraries are stunning places, a universe on their won, that exudes tranquility and wisdom.
If you are a book lover, you surely love large, beautiful libraries. But have you ever seen The Clementinum Library in one of the most beautiful European centers, Prague?
The capital of Bohemia was founded circa 880, and it was the home to the oldest university in Central Europe, dating back to 1348.
Therefore, it is no wonder that Prague is rich in libraries, but the Clementinum Library is simply majestic! Many would agree that this rare treasure is the most beautiful library in the world.
This breath-taking example of Baroque architecture, whose ceiling frescoes were painted by German-born artist Jan Hiebl, has over 20,000 books.
The collection mainly involves theological books in different languages, and some books have been in the library since the time of the Jesuits. The oldest book in the library is “Vyshegrad Codex” (1085), an illuminated Romanesque Gospel Book that dates back to the 11th century.
It is believed to be the coronation Gospel of the first Czech king Vratyslav II.
Apart from the magnificent frescoes, and old and rare books, the library amazes its visitors with the balcony with highly ornate, railing and stairs, astronomical clocks, and large globes, handmade by the Jesuits, in the center of the room.
Frescoes and golds, mahogany woods decorate the hall as well. The frescoes reveal allegorical motifs of education, portraits of Jesuit saints and patrons of the university
It was first opened in 1722 as part of the Klementinum Jesuit university, which was the third-largest Jesuit colleges in the world. In 1781, director Karel Rafael Ungar established Biblioteca Nationalis, a collection of Czech language literature.
Some interest facts linked to the spectacular library are the ones that recording of local weather began in the library in 1775, and that it was mentioned in one of the famous Spanish novel “The Secret Miracle” by Jorge Luise Borges.
Until the present day, everything in the library is untouched as it was almost three centuries ago.