Convent building

The convent building is the central residential part of the monastery. It adjoins the south side of the monastic basilica building. The core of the convent building was constructed in the Romanesque style in the early days of the monastery. It included important rooms for the monastery's operation, such as the chapter hall, refectory, dormitory (common sleeping quarters), kitchen, and cellarium (storage rooms). Today, we can get a better idea of the appearance of the convent building thanks to the architectural-historical survey conducted here in the 1950s.

Cloisters of the Strahov

The cloisters of the Strahov Monastery represent the historical core of the monastic building. In their center is an irregular Romanesque basin, which served as a water source.

Convent building

The building that structurally adjoins the church on the south side is called the convent building. Its name is derived from the word "convent," which is the English adaptation of the Latin word "conventus," meaning a community (specifically of monks). At the time of the monastery's founding, the structure of the monastery and its spaces were defined by the monastic statutes, which listed the necessary buildings or parts of buildings that the monastery needed to include for the life of the monks. Among these, notable spaces include the chapter house (a room for meetings of the order members), the refectory (common dining room), the dormitory (common bedroom), the kitchen, and the pantry. Additional spaces were built as needed based on the focus of activities in the monastery.


The original Romanesque cloister, 40 meters long, was reconstructed at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries. Its inner walls preserve Romanesque ashlar masonry made of opuka. In the eastern part, the entrance to the Romanesque chapter house is partially reconstructed. At the corners, some frescoes by Siard Nosecký from 1727 are partially preserved, depicting scenes from the life of St. Norbert.

Cloisters form the main communication route of the monastery complex. In the original layout of the monastery, they connected all the spaces.

Paradise Courtyard

In the center of the courtyard, there is a unique trapezoidal cistern measuring 13 x 11 meters. Its Romanesque foundations were discovered during a building-historical survey in the 1950s. The pool was reconstructed in the early 1990s and is supplied with water from the historic monastery aqueduct. Before 1950, when the monastery was seized by the communist regime, the arcades, which themselves date from the Baroque period, were walled up. Following a building-historical survey conducted between 1951 and 1954, the arcades were opened up and fitted with glazing to emphasize the original Romanesque appearance of the monastery. The original old Romanesque arcades have not survived, as they were destroyed after the Hussite Wars, and their remnants fell victim to Lohel's restoration of the monastery complex. Remnants of these arcades can be seen on the walls of the cloister, opposite the current windows, where the original vaulting and bases of the old cloisters are clearly visible on the walls.

An impressive view of the paradise courtyard with the arcades of the monastery cloister and the towers of the monastery basilica in the background.

Chapter Hall

The original Romanesque chapter house was considerably larger, encompassing the area of the current chapter house and about half of the adjacent winter refectory. During the architectural-historical survey from 1951 to 1954, beautiful Romanesque windows and the entrance to this hall were discovered in the masonry. These features were subsequently restored and can be seen in the adjacent wall of the cloisters. The current chapter house was constructed between 1750 and 1753 after the original Romanesque hall, damaged during the bombing of Prague by French troops in 1742, was demolished. The ceiling is adorned with a fresco by Siard Nosecký depicting the theme "Rise, take up your bed, and walk – the healing of the sick at the pool of Bethesda," an event captured in the Gospel of John, Chapter 5. The altar features a painting "Blessed Herman Joseph before the Virgin Mary," based on a template by A. van Dyck. The walls are decorated with a cycle of hanging paintings by Franz Lichtenreiter, depicting order saints: Saint Norbert, Blessed Gertrude, Blessed Milo, Blessed Gerlak, Saint Siard, Saint Gottfried, and the spiritual father of the order, Saint Augustine.

Romanesque Halls

These are actually the spaces of the former monastery cellarium, i.e., the food storage area. The originally two-nave space from the turn of the 12th to 13th century was renovated in the Renaissance style at the beginning of the 17th century and vaulted with a Baroque vault between 1671-1674. The spaces were adapted to their current state in 1950. The first of these halls contains a detailed model of the entire monastery complex at a scale of 1:100, while the second hall is dedicated to the Premonstratensian order, the origin, and development of the Strahov Monastery. Photographs with audio commentary provide an insight into the monastery, including the cloister, which is the part not accessible to the public and exclusively used by members of the order. The third part of the exhibition features a cycle of monumental paintings by J. J. Hering from the early 17th century, depicting scenes from the life of the founder of the Premonstratensian order, St. Norbert. There are also artifacts used once every fifty years during the celebrations of the transfer of his relics to Prague.

Summer Refectory

The profound Baroquization of the monastery began under Abbot Hyacinth Hohman in 1682 and was completed in 1698. This included the construction of the long southern wing, which opens onto the convent garden. The structure of the summer refectory prominently stands out from its masonry. This dining hall was built in 1691 and was designed by the Burgundian architect Jean Baptiste Mathey. Inside, along the perimeter of the walls, there is a portrait gallery of paintings from the end of the 17th century depicting significant figures of the Strahov Monastery. On the wall, there is a lectorium – a sort of large lectern – that was used for reading texts during meals. The vault of the hall is covered with a fresco by the Premonstratensian painter Siard Nosecký (1693–1753), with the theme "The Heavenly Feast of the Righteous with Christ as the Host" from 1743–1745. Among the many figures in the fresco, we see representatives of various estates, crafts, and also monastic orders. Near the entrance, the fresco depicts a feasting Premonstratensian figure.

Winter Refectory

The dining hall, built at the end of the 17th century as part of a major Baroque renovation, was intended for the convent members' dining during the heating period. The vault of the hall is adorned with stucco decoration, and on the front wall, there is a large painting by Jan Jiří Heinsch (1647 – 1712) depicting Christ who, after staying in the wilderness where he was famished, was ministered to by angels. The scene follows a brief mention in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 1, verses 12 and 13: "And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him." The painting was originally made for the refectory of the Jesuit professional house on Prague's Lesser Side. It was not until the end of the 18th century that it arrived at Strahov.


Cloisters with the Paradise Garden
Chapter Hall
Fresco in Chapter Hall
Winter Refectory
Summer Refectory
Fresco in Summer Refectory
Romanesque Hall
Historical Photo of Summer Refectory
Historical Photo of Winter Refectory
Historical Photo of Monastery Cloisters