According to the Independent magazine, Klementinum is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Besides this breathtaking book collection, Klementinum used to be an astronomical observatory where Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler developed their knowledge. Let’s explore more about this magical place.
You can find the vast complex of Klementinum just a few meters from the Charles Bridge. Klementinum used to be a university. Today, most of the buildings are closed to the public and serves as the seat for the Czech National Library. You can freely walk in the courtyard and admire local sculptures, such as a girl with a swallow (you need to look up).
The most interesting parts are, fortunately, open to the public. You can take a 50-minute guided tour to magnificent baroque Library Hall, and the Astronomical Tower with a great view over the Prague roofs.
Klementinum Baroque Library
The history of this library took us back to the year 1722 when Klementinum served as a Jesuit university. The interior reflects the Baroque Epoque with its beautiful frescos portraying the motives of education. What I found unforgettable are the original globes and astronomical clocks. I must mention that everything is original – books, globes, furniture, frescos. The library remained intact since the 18th century. So, you can basically travel in time about three hundred years ago into the period of astronomers and alchemists in Prague.
Just above the baroque library (several steps higher) is an astronomical tower with a beautiful view over Prague. The whole tower is 68 meters high, and you are allowed to climb until the 52 meters. On the way there, you can even see original astronomical measurement tools.
The Astronomical tower was built in 1722 together with the library. The construction is related to the establishment of Astronomical studies. You might already know about astronomers and alchemists living in Prague, such as Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler. During the commented visit, you can learn more about these famous magicians of their time.
I have one more interesting fact about this tower. Since 1775, we have a continuous record of weather temperature from Klementinum. Even today, when we are watching the weather forecast, the broadcaster informs about the actual temperature in Klementinum and compares it with records dating back to 1775. Thanks to astronomers, we have one of the oldest meteorological measurements in the world.
The Chapel of Mirrors
There is one more hidden gem in Klementinum open to the public, but not on the way to the guided tour. The Chapel of Mirrors is dedicated to concerts of classical and jazz music. The baroque style and decoration correspond with the library, and the concerts bring another level of your experience.
How to get to Klementinum:
You can find Klementinum just a few meters from the Charles Bridge. The whole complex is basically alongside Karlova street (the most frequent tourist street in Prague). So take a chance, avoid the crowds, and find a way to Charles Bridge through the Klementinum.
If you want to experience a guided tour to the baroque library and astronomical tower, book it here. Tours start every 30 minutes, and you have approximately 50 minutes to explore it whole with your guide.
Klementinum is located in one of the most touristic areas in Prague (fortunately, it is still not well known so that you won’t find crowds here). Therefore, I would recommend you nearby Tricafe that is about a 5-minute walk, and you can find an authentic atmosphere of Prague.
Address: Mariánské nám. 5, 110 00 Old Town
Map: click here