If you would like to experience how the monks lived centuries ago, you should visit Broumov Monastery. You have a unique possibility to spend a night in cells where monks practiced their religious life.
The Story of Broumov Monastery
The Broumov Monastery used to be a region’s center of knowledge and culture for centuries. The Benedictine order had its centers in Prague, the Břevnov Monastery close by Hvězda, and in the Broumov region. During the Hussites wars in 1420, the Břevnov Monastery in Prague was burnt down, and the monks escaped to Broumov.
They experienced their peak in history at the turn of the 17th and 18th Centuries when the monastery was rebuilt in Baroque style by the Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofers. You might know his St. Nicholas church in Prague, Invalidovna, or churches in the Broumov region. Since then, the monastery was an important center of education with its grammar school attended by famous Czech historical personalities.
After WW2, the German monks were expelled from the monastery, and the communist party took over it. In 1950, they established a concentration camp in the monastery for monks, nuns, and priests of various monastic orders. They were forced to work in local factories and a state homestead. In the 1990s, the monastery was given back to the Benedictines, but they don’t live here anymore.
What You Can Visit in Broumov Monastery
Broumov Monastery underwent an extensive reconstruction and modernization in past years. Today, you can have a guided tour around the monastery, visit a magnificent historical library, and have a look at local treasures – a copy of the Turin Shroud from the 17th Century (the only one in Central Europe).
At the center of attention is a monastery library that used to be part of the monastery grammar school. Besides the fact that the library is fascinating, it contained some masterpieces in its collection. For more than 200 years, there was hidden the famous Devil’s Bible, the biggest handwritten book of the world – Codex Gigas. Unfortunately, you won’t find this book here anymore – only 17.000 volumes left in the library today.
Also, I enjoyed a walk in the revitalized monastery garden, with a small Gallery Dům, and a series of buildings of modern architecture. You can even rent these spaces, both in the garden and in the monastery, for your private events and conferences. Just next to the ticket office is a lovely Café Dientzenhofer, where you can relax and absorb the atmosphere of the old monastery.
Accommodation Dům Hostů
If you decide to stay overnight and explore the area of Broumovsko, you have a unique possibility to spend a night in the monastery. The former cells (rooms) of Benedictine monks were renovated to modern standards. You can reserve a double room, four-bed-room, and even eight-bed-room if you are coming in a larger group. If you are on a budget, there is even a touristic dormitory. The monastery can provide accommodation for up to 70 people.
Every cell used to be a home for a monk who practiced his everyday routine in the monastery. Today, you have even running water, a wi-fi connection, and a comfortable bathrobe in every room. On the floor, there are shared showers and toilets. It means that something from the community life is still preserved. Every morning, there is even shared breakfast with fresh and local products. I really enjoyed the experience of life in the monastery, even in this modernized style.
How to Get to Broumov Monastery
Broumov is about a 2,5-hour drive North-East from Prague. Right in the center of this small city, you find the historical Broumov Monastery. It is a great place to stay overnight and explore the whole area of Broumovsko.