Strahov Monastery

After his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1138 the bishop of Olomouc Jindřich Zdík took hold of the idea of founding a monastery of regular canons in Prague, having the support of the bishops of Prague and the Czech ruler Soběslav I.

After his first unsuccessful attempt to found a Czech variant of the canons' order at the place called Strahov in 1140, an invitation was issued to the Premonstratensians whose first representatives arrived from Steinfeld in the Rhine valley. Thus a monastery originated which has inscribed itself in the Czech political, cultural and religious history for all time.

The religious began to build their monastery first of wood, as well as a Romanesque basilica as the center of all spiritual events in Strahov. The building was gradually completed and the construction of the monastery stone buildings continued in order to replace the provisionary wooden living quarters with permanent stone. In 1258 the monastery was heavily damaged by fire and later renewed until the period of the Hussite movement when it was attacked and plundered by the citizens of Prague in 1420. Books, artcicles of worship and furnishings of both the church and the convent were burned. Although the building did not sustain great damage from the architectural viewpoint, the monasteery took a long time to recover from this disaster.

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