The Kladruby Abbey
This Benedictine abbey, founded in 1115 by Prince Vladislaus I, is located approximately 126 km from Prague. It is one of the oldest monasteries in the Czech Republic. It was originally built in the Romanesque style, but it was renovated in 1590 after a disastrous fire and later following the ravages of the Thirty Years’ War.
The building's grandeur is the work of architect Giovanni Blaise Santini, who did not hesitate to tear down the church’s towers and to replace them with a large cupola with a princely golden crown symbolizing the sepulchre of Vladislaus I. Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer, another recognized architect, built a new prelature and a new abbey. Construction was terminated at the end of the 17th Century.
Only fifteen years later, however, the new abbey was shut down during the secularising reforms of Emperor Joseph II. In later years, the building was used as a hospital and as a hospice for the crippled. It suffered again during the communist era.
Since 1989, the abbey has been magnificiently restored. In addition to its architecture, it is interesting to know that Kladruby played an important part in Czech history: During the church schism in the 14th century, the Emperor and the Archbishop of Prague differed over whom to appoint as the new abbot of Kladruby. Vicar John of Nepomuk sided with the archbishop, for which the emperor had him tortured and killed. Today, St. John of Nepomuk is the most venerated Czech saint.
Two different tours (1 hour each) allow you to discover the history of this beautiful building. You can also see the monastery housing the statues of the famous baroque sculptor Mathias Bernard Braun. Open May to September, daily except Monday, 9 am to 4 pm (until 5 pm during the summer).