A Jesuit fortress in the centre of Prague...
After the Prague Castle, the Clementinum is the second largest historical building complex in Prague. It was designed as a college for the Jesuit order and for a long time housed the Charles University but now serves as the seat of the National Library of the Czech Republic. With its five inner courtyards and two churches, the Clementinum is a self-contained world in itself, outside of space and time, immersed like an island of serenity in the middle of the labyrinthine streets of the Old Town.
The Jesuits, who arrived in Prague in 1555, did not pick this location by chance: situated by the Charles Bridge and Křížovnické Square, the place was one of the most prestigious and prominent parts of the Old City. The future college was preceded by a Dominican monastery, founded there in the 13th century, near the Romanesque church of St. Clement. The construction of the current college began in the mid 17th century and was completed a century later. The chief architect was Carlo Lurago, who not only designed the entire complex, but the spectacular façade overlooking Křížovnická Street and the remarkable triumphal facade of the adjoining Church of St. Salvator as well.
In spite of the relatively long time it took to build, the church retains a wonderful sense of architectural unity which evokes Baroque palace and castle buildings. The interiors that were preserved are equally remarkable. Apart from the two churches (St. Clement and St. Salvator), with their beautiful paintings and sculptures, the following have also been preserved: the chapel of Our Lady of the Assumption, called “the Italian Chapel” which was the religious centre of the Italian artist community in Prague; the remarkable refectory decorated with Baroque frescoes (which is now used as a study for the National Library); the library halls and their old terrestrial globes; the Baroque Mirror Chapel and the astronomical tower, housing the oldest Bohemian meteorological station, and offering a splendid view of the rooftops of the Old City.
The Mirror Chapel regularly hosts hourly classical music concerts for which you can purchase tickets through our agency.Marcela