Czech Monastery and Its Stunning Library Make UNESCO Bid

Czech Monastery and Its Stunning Library Make UNESCO Bid

Representatives of the Hradec Králové region hope to gain a monument of internationally recognized importance with their bid to put the Broumov churches on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Totaling thirteen unique ecclesiastical structures in all, the churches of Broumov, a small town near the Polish border, were re-built in the Baroque style by architect Christof Dientzenhofer and his son Kilian Ignac—Dientzenhofer also built the Church of St. Nicholas in Prague—between the years 1709-1743.


Reconstruction came following years of fires and the destruction of the Thirty Years War though the monastery, where the order of Benedictine monks has operated for 700 years, remained largely intact. Today it is known for its library, a stunning space that housed the Codex Gigas for 200 years.

The library currently holds some 17,000 volumes, a fraction of the original collection, in its historic interior; widespread destruction took place under the Communist regime.

Like a number of monasteries throughout the country, Broumov has refashioned itself as an exhibition space and cultural center, hosting live music and lectures in its modern Café Dientzenhofer.

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Local political leaders have been pursuing UNESCO status for this unique collection of Baroque buildings for years, but a recent show of support from President Zeman has left local political leaders optimistic. 

The Kuks Hospital complex is another monument in the region under consideration for UNESCO recognition.

Elizabeth Haas

Elizabeth Haas is the editor of She has lived in Prague for 12 years working as a writer and editor of cookbooks and travel guides. Her work has appeared in both Czech and American publications.

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