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Strahov Monastery is a large impressive complex located on a hilltop location close to Prague Castle. It and the surrounding area has a Serine and peaceful air about it, add to this some superb views over Prague, and this makes it a worthwhile place to visit on your trip to the city. The current buildings date back to the 17th and 18th century’s although the monastery itself was originally founded in 1140.

Strahov Monastery

The Strahov Monastery church, also known as the Basilica of our Lady, like the monastery itself, graduated from a wooden structure to a Romanesque structure, then a Gothic structure. After being plundered by the Hussites, it was restored again, this time in the Renaissance style. After being destroyed by the French army in 1742, the church was restored again this time in the Baroque style we see today. The interior of the church is richly decorated including twelve frescos depicting St Norbertus, the founder of the Premonstratensians.

The monastery is also home to the “Cabinet of Curiosities” a collection of Sea fauna, minerals, ceramics, and much more including the remains of a bird now extinct the Dodo.

The Strahov Library dates back to the original foundation of the Monastery, but its fortunes have risen and fallen with that of the monastery itself. The original wooden buildings were destroyed by fire in 1258 and replaced by a Romanesque structure. The building was plundered by various forces in 1278, 1306, and 1420. Eventually the Monastery was abandoned during the Hussite wars. The monastery underwent a major reconstruction during the late 16th early 17th century's. When Swedish forces invaded in 1648 their commander, General Konigsmark, removed most of the collection and took them back to Sweden. The books collected after the Peace of Westphalia were housed here. In 1679 a new hall, now known as the Theological Hall was used as the new library. The library expanded quickly throughout the 17th and 18th century’s, so a further hall, now known as the Philosophical Hall was built. After 1950 monastic orders and congregations were banned and their property confiscated, and the Strahov Library was incorporated into the newly formed “Museum of National Literature”. Following the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, the buildings and other confiscated property, including the library, were returned to the Strahov Premonstratensians. The Strahov Library now contains approximately 200,000 volumes, estimated to hold 260,000 works, many of which are old prints dated between 1501 and 1800.

Strahov Monastery - Prague 3The Strahov Monastic Brewery can be dated back to the late 13th early 14th centuries, but a fully functioning brewery was not in place until the Abbot, Kaspar Questenburg, introduced it in 1628. It was located where the restaurant is situated today. The brewery was eventually closed in 1907 with the buildings being taken over for general farming use. In 2000 after an extensive reconstruction of the monastery, the brewery was re-introduced. There is seating for about 350 in the brewery itself, the St Norbert restaurant, and very popular in fine weather, the brewery courtyard.

Strahov Monastery - Prague 1 Strahov Monastery - Prague 2