Library of Strahov Monastery, Prague
The Theological Hall
In 1670 Jeroným Hirnheim, a philosopher and theologian became the abbot of Strahov. His greatest work, which has survived to the present days, was the building of the new library, in the so-called Theological Hall (Teologický sál) completed in 1679. During the 17th and the early 18th century other abbots continued in the reconstruction of the monastery. They also cared for the church, which was repaired and decorated several times during the given period. The monastery experienced other great building activity namely after the assault of French and Bavarian troops in 1742, when Prague was bombarded and seriously damaged. Then the abbot organized building works again in the course of which the church was rebuilt along with the monastery area.
After 1950, the library was incorporated into the Memorial of National Literature. After 1989 the library was along with the monastery returned to the Premonstratensians. Within the library reading room also works today. The Strahov Library contains over 200,000 volumes, including over 3,000 manuscripts and 1,500 first prints stored in a special depository.
The Philosophical Hall
In 1779 Václav Mayer occupied the abbot’s throne and was the last to carry out great building activities. His most outstanding work was the building of the new library, now in Classical style. Today it is called the Philosophical Hall (Filosofický sál). This work brought the extensive building activity at Strahov Monastery to an end and the following generations of abbots devoted their attention merely to minor architectural repairs, all under the influence of contemporary fashion, and to maintenance of the area as a whole.
The monastery survived in this way until 1950, when it was taken over by the communist regime, the religious being interned and placed in civil employment, very few of them being able to work in the clerical administration as priests of the diocese. The monastery was subjected to thorough archeological research and transformed into the Memorial of National Literature. In the course of the said archeological research the long since forgotten Romanesque form of the monastery was revealed and reconstructed in a sensitive way.