If you’re a book lover, you can find something to love in just about every library, but that doesn’t mean that all libraries are created equal.
The best libraries are as beautiful as the books that they hold, and one of the most beautiful libraries in the world is The National Library of the Czech Republic. So add that library to your bucket list of places to visit, but start your journey right here.
The Clementinum Building
This amazing library can be found in the Clementinum district of historic Prague. This area is one of the most historic areas in one of Europe’s most storied cities, and by being one of the most historic cities, it looks that part with beautiful architecture, streets and streets.
It was the biggest library in the area when it was built, and since its establishment in 1722, it has only grown.
Today its collection holds almost seven million total items, including a large number of historical manuscripts that the library is working to preserve.
The library was originally built as the official library of the Charles University. This Jesuit college is still running to this day, making it one of the world’s oldest universities.
It makes sense that one of the oldest and most storied places of education would need a similarly magnificent library to match.
Sometimes modern libraries can feel like bookstores, with books that aren’t much older than 50 years of age. But the first libraries were built to hold books that were literally one of a kind.
Oldest Manuscript Vysehard Codex
The National Library of the Czech Republic is one of these libraries, holding books that are almost 1000 years old. The oldest manuscript in the library is the Vysehard Codex.
This magnificently illustrated gospel has been dated back to the year 1085, and today it can be found held safely in this library.
If you’re used to visiting libraries that were constructed during the 20th century, then The National Library of the Czech Republic will really blow your mind.
It’s a library that’s built like a cathedral. And it’s not just the way the ceiling seems to stretch into the heavens, it’s also the art that decorates the ceiling.
Jan Hiebel Painting
The great artist Jan Hiebel covered it with magnificent frescoes in between his other jobs painting churches throughout Prague.
The art represents the enlightenment philosophy of the era, combining religious and scientific icons to reflect the diversity of knowledge held within the walls of the library.
Even if you aren’t interested in reading any of the books inside the library, you’ll find plenty to love about the building. It’s a treasure trove of historical, artistic, and architectural joys.
Since the library was established, it hasn’t been updated. The design and its features have been carefully preserved so that you can truly feel like you’re stepping back in time when you step through the doors of this glorious building.
The library and the city of Prague as a whole have seen so much history over the past 240 years.
It’s lasted through two world wars and the cold war, with the city changing hands between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Soviet Union before the creation of the modern Czech Republic.
This beautiful building is a reminder of the long chain of history, which can be seen in the library’s architecture, its art, and of course, its books.