A few years back I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when I stumbled upon an article featuring the most beautiful libraries in the world; The Baroque library in Prague was one of them. At that time, I knew nothing about Prague, but I booked a short trip knowing that this library alone would be worth the trip.
On my very first day there, I decided I am visiting The Baroque Library. It was a few meters far from the old town, and I couldn’t believe I am at the entrance.
“Sorry, the Library is under renovation now”. The butterflies in my stomach died, and I felt a deep disappointment.
“This cannot happen; I came all the way from Lebanon to be here.” The guy didn’t know what to say, but he saved the situation and handed me a flyer about a Vivaldi four seasons concert in the Mirror Chapel, inside the Klementinum complex. Built-in 1724, the Mirror Chapel sustains the 18th-century interior, with marble floors and walls and an organ that was played by Mozart. I didn’t think twice about it.
Prague is a splendid city, full of all types of arts. After my first concert in Prague’s Klementinum complex, I booked a Beethoven concert in the Smetana Hall in the Municipal House. It is the most beautiful concert hall in Prague with beautiful balconies and great acoustics. In addition, it was the site of the independent Czechoslovak Republic declaration in 1918.
On my last day, I watched The Swan Lake ballet show in the Divadlo Hybernia, a theater building that was a 17th-century Irish Franciscan monastery.
Besides the many events and the historical halls, Prague is like an open museum, the cobblestone streets, the colored buildings, the gothic architecture, and plenty of painters, musicians, and artists filling its streets.
In 2019, I had a few days to spend in Europe before traveling to Switzerland for moderating a conference, and the idea of Prague and its library popped again although I don’t usually visit the same place twice. I found a very cheap internal flight and a central hotel with a 50% discount for one day only as if it was meant to happen. From the moment I arrived in Prague until I left, everything was going smooth and laid back.
My plane was late for one hour, and as I reached the hotel around 11:00 pm, I was shocked and amazed at the same time. Surprisingly the hotel was facing The Klementinum complex but the main entrance was locked and I couldn’t enter my room. A few minutes later while standing there confused, the reception lady opened the door and told me they usually close the reception at 10:00 pm, but today she forgot something at the office. So, she thinks I am a lucky man. Indeed yes, I am.
The Baroque Library was open this time, I booked a guided tour (It is the only option) which included The Baroque library hall, the Baroque Perl between the libraries with fresco paintings, and a few historically rare big globes. Meridian hall, the exceptional room, formerly used for determining noon. It is a 68-meters-high astronomical tower where you can see Prague’s old town from above.
The Baroque library hall, first opened in 1722 as a part of the Jesuit University, has over 20,000 volumes of mostly foreign theological literature. It also houses books with white painted spines and red marks that have been in the library since the time of the Jesuits.
The frustrating part was that it could only be seen from the entrance door. Honestly, I cannot blame anyone who took such a measure. If I have a Library with such a beautiful ceiling, smell, and impressive balconies, I would make it my home and hide in it forever.
Being solo in Prague, I wanted to savor each moment.
The highlights of my trip were:
- Walking Charles Bridge in the early morning
- Attending Beethoven’s Concert in The Smetana Hall in the Municipal House.
- Watching Swan Lake in The Divadlo Hybernia
- Attending a Vivaldi’s concert in the Mirror Chapel
- Taking a selfie with the astronomical clock in the early morning as well
- Having coffee at the fanciest Starbucks with the red-tiled roofs’ view near Prague’s castle
- Admiring the bird’s-eye view from the Old Town Bridge Tower
- Visiting Franz Kafka Museum
- Enjoying a fancy Trdelník
- Drinking a lot of Cider beer (my favorite beer ever)
- Trying the original Prague cookies recipe, you can find them in different places, and they are the only real original Czech food as per a local. These Cookies live up to 20 years and stay edible up to 9 months, and no they don’t have ginger.
- Finally, Seeing one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, The Baroque Library