The exquisitely decorated dome of Kladruby’s church, the pride of the local monastery, welcomes you from afar, long before you reach its gates. Come and discover the history of this ancient abbey, which in its time was one of the largest and richest in the Czech lands and was transformed into a perfect example of a unique architectural style known as Gothic Baroque. Come inside and enjoy a tour of one of the most attractive monastery complexes in the country.
The Kladruby Monastery’s beginnings go back almost 900 years to when it was founded by Czech Prince Vladislav I, whose tomb you will find here. Over the centuries the monastery experienced times of plenty and suffered hardship, was pillaged and witnessed the flourishing of art. It also hosted some illustrious guests, including Emperor Charles IV. Its zenith came in the 14th century when a clever monk thought up some revolutionary ways of doing business. At that time the monastery owned a respectable 128 villages in the surrounding area.
An auspicious place for St. John of Nepomuk
As is often the case, every fairytale comes to end and soon the Kladruby Monastery was shaken to its very foundations by various power struggles. A political game over the future of the monastery even led to the martyrdom of John of Nepomuk, the subject of a large exhibition at the complex (one of the largest in Europe on the saint).
A daring and unrivalled dome
The Kladruby Monastery owes its current appearance to the genius of architect Jan Blažej Santini Aichel, who gave it his typical Baroque makeover but with Gothic elements. Thanks to his efforts we can admire the bold dome which adorns the Church of the Virgin Mary, one of the largest in the Czech Republic. Stand below it on a sunny day and you will be fascinated by the gentle pink light that comes through the dome and radiates into the interior covered in star symbols. It’s a sight you won’t forget for a long while.
A charming place all year round
The Kladruby Monastery isn’t just a tranquil place of bygone glory. Visits to the complex can be spiced up when they coincide with various cultural events that are held here often. Whether it be a historical fair or a classical music concert, there’s a strange energy about the place. Another unique experience is a visit to the monastery for a special Christmas tour, a time when the entire complex radiates a magical ambience.