The Clementinum – the Jesuit College

The Clementinum - The Jesuit College

This, the largest complex of buildings after Prague Castle, reflects the strength and power of the Jesuit order in the year 1555, when they established themselves here. The Jesuit college complex contains several churches.
The Church of the Holy Saviour, with its costly stucco decorations and black-and-gold interior furnishings, today serves as the chaplaincy centre for Prague's students.
The Church of St. Clement, which for its purity of style and unified furnishings ranks among the most precious of Prague Baroque interiors, serves the Greek Catholic Church.
The Italian Chapel, the first Baroque building in Prague, was constructed to serve the spiritual needs of Italian builders who were working in Prague, and even today it is still administered by the Italian state.
The ceiling paintings in the Chapel of Mirrors illustrate the prayer Ave Maria, while the set of illusive mirrors plays with the light of the ray of grace, shining from God to the heart of the Virgin Mary.
The Jesuits introduced many innovations, such as making Nativity scenes at Christmastime (in 1559).
Meteorological records have been kept in the Clementinum every day for more than 200 years (since 1775), which is the longest unbroken series of meteorological observations in human history.
When they came to Prague, the Jesuits brought just one book with them – a bible. This was the basis for their library, which later numbered hundreds of thousands of volumes. The tradition of the former Jesuit library has been followed by the National Library, which is housed in the Clementinum, and which today has a collection of over 6 million books.