Sunday, March 25, 2007

March 10, 2007- Strahov Monastery

In the morning, we take the tram #22 across the river and up the hill behind the castle to the Strahov Monastery.
The main draw here are the famous libraries. There are two; one called the “Philosophical Hall” and the other called the “Theological Hall”. The Philosophical hall is the “newer” of the two, having been built at the end of the 1700’s and has bookcases reaching 50 feet in height and a painted, barrel vaulted ceiling. The Theologial Hall, on the opposite side of a courtyard, was built some 100 years earlier but mirrors the other one with bookcase lined walls and barrel vault ceiling.
Philosphical Hall

Unfortunately, the rooms are roped off so one can only peer in through the doorway. Gray haired ladies patrol like hall monitors, just waiting for someone to step out of line and (gasp!) take a photo without having paid a fee for the privilege. There is a fascinating “Cabinet of Curiosities” filled with all sorts of dried sea creatures, closest to the Philosophical Hall.

Back outside, we wander around a bit, peek into the little Renaissance Chapel (which was closed) and decide against visiting the Picture Gallery (filled with religious art) or the Miniature Book Museum (which looks more like a gift shop). Just beyond one of the monastery walls at the back of the complex are steps which walk down toward town. There’s a small vineyard and a fantastic view of Prague.

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