Monumental complex of Klementinum is the first Czech Jesuit College and one of the most important historical complexes in Prague. The complex covers an area of over 2 hectares of the historic centre of Prague. The first records documenting the existence of St. Clement’s Chapel date back to the 11th century. But the origin of Klementinum is associated with the arrival of Jesuits in 1556.
Construction of the Klementinum Complex
Jesuits started construction of a complex of religious buildings and schools on the site of a former Dominican monastery. In 1622 the Jesuits added the library of Charles University to the Klementinum and the college was united with the University in 1654. The Jesuits resided here until the abolition of their order in 1773. The Klementinum was then used as an observatory, library, and university by the ruler Maria Theresa. The most important construction period for Klementinum was documented between 1578 and 1726. Numerous famous Baroque architects took their turns in the construction and the artistic decoration of Klementinum. The most famous architects were represented by Lurago, Orsi, Bossi or Dientzenhofer. The newest wing probably built by the architect Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer. Other artists also contributed to the interior decoration – such as Brandl, Braun, Tausch, Kramolin or Reiner. No significant architectural modification took place during the 18th and 19th centuries. But during the years 1924 to 1929, the architect Ladislav Machon modernized the complex for the National University and Technical Library.
In 1958 all Prague libraries have been united into one centralized library which was called the State library of the Czech Republic. The new name for this library came after the Velvet revolution and it has been called the National Library. Nowadays the Klementinum houses the State Library which was opened to the public in 1777 as well as the State Technical Library which is situated in the east wing of the complex.
The Klementinum has been visited many famous people. In the Chapel of Mirrors which was built in 1724 with extensive frescos and carving, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played during his visit of Prague. In the library you can find a large variety of collections – for example the collection of Mozartiana and valuable materials belonging to Tycho Brahe and Comenius, as well as famous examples of Czech literature. You may also find the first observatory where daily temperature measurements have been taken since 1775. It was here where Kepler discovered the rules of planetary movements.
What else can you see in Klementinum?
The complex includes three sanctuaries – the Church of St Clement, the Church of the Holy Saviour and the Italian Chapel. Within the Klementinum one finds numerous beautiful historical rooms such as the former Jesuit Library and the Mozart Hall along with some of Mozart´s manuscripts, as well as the Mathematical Hall with the sumptuous astronomical clock.
Klementinum is only 5 minutes from our hostel, stay with us!