The State Research Library (Bedrich Smetana Street no. 14) - originally a convent of Dominican nuns.
It was built 1711-1714 by Jakub Auguston on the site of five houses which had been burnt, and which were purchased by Countess Katerina Vratislavova of Mitrovice. Of the original construction, the northern facade has remained untouched, linked on both floors by a parallel row of pillars and balanced by the sequence of the windows.
The exterior has changed considerably with subsequent modifications; the courtyard had the library hall added in the 1960s. The refectory was also modified and Baroque frescoes restored. The monastery was discontinued in 1782 and was purchased by the city for use as a school.
1804-1809 the master-builder S. M. Schell built the Philosophical Institute onto the monastery on the site of the moat, this in the Classical style of Louis XVI. The tower of the former Litice gate was also attached to the building. Schell's imposing construction created a new dominant feature in the south-east part of the old city.
In the 20th century a Baroque portal was transferred from house ref.no. 139 in the square to the building on B. Smetana Street, and the other tower in the Smetana Gardens was given the portal from house ref. no. 249 in Bezrucova Street.
Under the passageway of the tower there is a large area from when the town originated, used for purposes of safety. On the part of the building facing B. Smetana Street there is a plaque commemorating the works of Bedrich Smetana 1840-1843, with his portrait by J. Stursa, and a second plaque recalling the work done here by the national revivalist, Professor J. V. Sedlacek.
Copyright © 2002 City of Plzen. All Rights Reserved.