Taking baby steps to get back into blogging…
Fans of BBC Musketeers should recognize these places. In that series, these two rooms play parts of King Louis’s palace. In reality, both are libraries or ‘halls’ at Strahov Monastery in Prague, CZ.
When I first began thinking about destinations for my most recent trip in October, I found a few resources online that named and located various buildings and gardens used in the Musketeers series. Most of these were scattered around Czech Republic and, except for a couple of Prague streets, so far away from each other that I couldn’t come up with an efficient way of visiting them. Soooo, I made do with Strahov. (This post is only concerned with the two rooms used in the Musketeers).
Religious material is kept in the Theological Hall where a collection of globes lives, some dating from the 17th century. Books and other items related to the arts and sciences are in the Philosophical Hall. This seems astoundingly open-minded to have scientific subjects in a monastery at all given all the famous controversies involving Galileo and Copernicus et. al. but many specimens in the cases in the outer hallway – bugs, birds, plants – may have been considered uncontroversial and perhaps much of the book topics deal with these. Even so, I’d like to have a clearer picture of the timeline of rejection /acceptance of scientific theories in the Catholic church. That’s just me; it takes nothing away from the magic of the Musketeers.
The monastery has had its home here since the 12th century but the buildings and interiors in their current state date mostly from the 18th century, slightly anachronistic for the TV series. Some of the bookcases were gifts from Marie Antoinette – an interesting connection to French history given that the Dumas story is set in Paris!
The monastery is open to the public all year and includes a museum of miniatures and a beer garden which serves good food and their own beer, reputed to be the best in Prague (more on these to come, I hope). If you want to visit the monastery, know that it sits even farther uphill than Prague Castle. For both these attractions, take the #22 tram from Malostranská and get off at the Pohořelec stop. There’s still an uphill walk of a couple hundred yards from there but it’s better than hiking all the way up from the river.
One other note – there are lots of other exhibits in adjoining hallways but you can only stand at the doorways to take photos of these rooms. The actors and crew for the Musketeers had to wear special protection over their shoes when filming to protect the floors and, as I recall, were not allowed to touch anything in the room.