STRAHOV MONASTERY

The official name is the Royal Canon of Premonstratensians at Strahov and it is the oldest Premonstratensians monastery in Bohemia. The monastery is a unique spiritual and architectural landmark of world significance. The monastery was established at the instigation of the educated Bishop of Olomouc Jindřich Zdík and King Vladislav II. in 1143, shortly after St. Norbert established the first abbey in Premona in 1122. The Order, whose task was primarily the work of the spiritual administration, science and education, gradually grew and spread to the whole of Europe. The first Premonstratensian came to Prague from Westphalia in 1142. The Romanesque church and the monastery were built in the second half of the 12th century. The original Romanic Basilica of the Assumption received its definitive Baroque look in the middle of the 18th century and it was designed by Anselm Lurag. This church got its title, Basilica Minor, from the pope, Jan Pavel II. Another church in the complex is the Church of St. Rocha and it was ordered by Rudolf II., and it houses the Miro Gallery of modern art. The pride of the monastery is its library, which has two Baroque auditoriums, the Theological and the Philosophical. The Theological Hall was designed by Domenico Orsi and it holds 16 000 books, including The Bible of Kralice, which was of significant importance for Czech Literature. The second and slightly younger Philosophical Hall was designed by Jan Ignác Palliardi and it holds over 50 000 books. Most of its furniture and inventory came from the Louka monastery near Znojmo, which was cancelled by Rudolf II. Both halls are richly decorated with frescoes and Baroque decorations. The monastery also has a gallery and the great importance of the monastery is underlined by the fact that the founder of the order St. Norbert is buried here.

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