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Prague: ARTĚL Style

Expert recommendations and insider tips for first-time visitors and locals alike from ARTĚL’s founder, Karen Feldman, who has lived in Prague since 1994. Click on the links below for detailed reviews – from Feldman’s own unique perspective – of all the best that Prague has to offer...

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Prague’s Strange but Wonderful Cabinet of Curiosities

Published on October 27th, 2016 in Sights

  • Armadillo taxidermy (www.strahovskyklaster.cz)

  • Rare stones and minerals (www.strahovskyklaster.cz)

  • Curiosties from Strahov library (http-__blog.nishe.net_index.php_2015_09_17_prague_)

  • Curiosities from Strahov Library (http-__blog.nishe.net_index.php_2015_09_17_prague_)

  • Curiosities from Strahov Library (http-__blog.nishe.net_index.php_2015_09_17_prague_)

Not far from Prague Castle, on a scenic ridge overlooking the glorious panorama of the Czech capital, lies the 12th-century Strahov Monastery. Its library houses an extensive collection of rare volumes—nestled among gilded wood-carved shelves—that are contained in two halls remarkable for their stunning frescoed ceilings. The library is considered one of the world’s most beautiful.

 

 

Also of note are the library’s display of 17th-century globes as well as its cabinet of curiosities bought for the monastery from the estate of Czech historian Karel Jan Erben in 1798. Its collections reflect the interest in the mysterious and macabre during the Rudolphine period, and the beginnings of the systematic concept of natural sciences.

 


Strahov Monastery Library Theological Hall (photo: Wikpedia/ Jorge Royan)

 

Among the natural science objects here, things like sea fauna complemented with collections of insects, minerals, and wax replicas of fruit, you can see the skelatal remains of the now-extinct Dodo bird and a taxidermy armadillo.

 

The display units contain a myriad of unique archeological items: ceramics, Hussite peasant weapons, while other oddities are scattered throughout the corridor and landing including military items (boots used in the 1742 French siege of Prague), two elephant trunks, and the tooth of a narwhal that was at one time passed off as a unicorn horn)!

 

 


Cabinet with books, flora and fauna (photo: www.strahovskyklaster.cz)

 

As mentioned in my book, a visit to Strahov is one of my favorite ways to start a trip to Prague Castle. Take tram 22 to the Pohořelec station, pay a visit to the library (guided tours are available in English for 100 CZK) and then stroll downhill to the castle entrance.

 

For those of you dying to take a peek inside this wonder but not visiting Prague anytime soon, you can see an amazing panoramic photo of the library here.

 

Strahov Monastery

Strahovské nádvoří 1/132
www.strahovskyklaster.cz
tel +420 602190297
hours Daily 9:00-17:00 (lunch break 12:00-13:00)
tram 22 to Pohořelec

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