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Clementinum

Address

Mariánské náměstí 98/1, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Česká republika
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The first Jesuit College in Prague was built in 1653-1723 in place of 32 houses,
3 churches, 7 farmsteads and several gardens. It is the second largest complex of buildings in Prague after the Prague Castle.

The oldest part of the Clementinum is the western wing in Křížovnická Street, built around the middle of the 17th century.

Emperor Ferdinand I invited the Jesuits to come to Prague in 1556 to help him in his anti-reform policies.

The Jesuits set up their main residence in the former Dominican monastery at St Clement’s and opened a school, library, theatre and printing house here. In 1622 they added the Charles University to their convent which was then renamed the Charles-Ferdinand University. Soon after they started building the eastern wing.

The Clementinum, supported by the Hapsburgs, was purposely worked on for many decades of the Baroque period until the dissolution of the Jesuit order in 1773.

In 1653 Francesco Carrati and Giovanni Domenico Orsi started building the college. The building was completed in the 1730’s by F.M. Kaňka. During the period of 1724-1730

F. M. Kaňka designed the remarkable former Mirror Chapel, richly decorated with stucco, as well as the library and mathematical hall of the Clementinum. The façade of the college facing the Mariánské Square is attributed to Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer.

Three churches were built in the complex – St Clement’s, Holy Saviour’s and the Italian chapel of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Other items of interest include the beautiful Baroque hall and the Astronomical tower.

Today the Clementinum is the seat of the National library of the Czech Republic and other libraries, which contain many valuable manuscripts.