It is time to say “Bye 2014” and embrace 2015 with new challenges, resolutions and dreams. I hope that we will reflect on the modern values of society- Liberty, Fraternity and Equality with care and love in this new year and years to come, irrespective of any culture, country or race. I always begin any journey with my books – the safest and the most secure pal. I live several lives while reading them.
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The Library of Strahov Monastery in Prague
This year will not be different! Today, like last year, where I wrote about the Library of Princeton University, I am going to take you all to one of the world’s most beautiful libraries – The Library of Strahov Monastery in Prague, Czech Republic, which I visited, in a beautiful July afternoon.
The first glance after entering the library was a magnificent baroque hall decorated all in wood and a stunning painting above. The name given to this hall is Philosophical Hall. The theme of the fresco on the ceiling is “the intellectual progress of mankind”. It depicts the development of science and religion and the mutual impact on each other and the quest for knowledge.
Inside the library
The corridor outside the hall showcases wooden cabinets and books which we were not suppose to touch (they were from the 18th century). It also has a statue of Lord Buddha. The combination of the smell of wooden furniture, old books and silence has the capability to take the visitors to times long bygone.
The famous writer Franz Kafka (author of Metamorphosis) from Prague once said,
I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? We need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.
After passing the beautiful corridor we saw the older, but even more beautiful- Theological Hall. It has a statue of St John, the evangelist carrying a travel bag and number of globes.
Cabinets of Curiosities
Apart from the beautiful Philosophical and Theological Hall, there is a unique cabinet called the Cabinets of Curiosities which are the direct predecessors of modern museums. It has natural science collections – mainly insects, minerals and sea fauna.
I was fascinated by the collection of all the manuscripts or the handwritten books from the 16th century. The level of perfection, color usage and drawings in the manuscripts are jaw dropping.
Libraries will always acquire a special place in my blog. The library, Black Diamond in Copenhagen is beautiful, but markedly different in approach from the Strahov Monastery in Prague and The Library of Princeton University in New Jersey.
Before I end this post, I would like to wish all my readers a very happy new year, 2015, with smiles and new hopes.
The pursuit of knowledge will lead me like always. I believe knowledge is the comprehensive embodiment of imagination that surfaces in observation and finally ripens through the reinforcement of experience thereby inculcating knowledge. This in fact is the short story of life.
What will lead you?