The Kladruby monastery is one of the oldest Czech monasteries. Prince Vladislav originated it in 1115 on the place worshiped as the centre of faith, culture and economy of the western Bohemian borderland. The Romanesque three-nave basilica was completed in the year 1233 and at that time it was the biggest in Bohemia. Even today it belongs to the three largest Czech cathedrals. In course of time the monastery became rich and powerful and several times it was housing the Emperor Charles IV.
During the Hussite revolutionary movement in 1421 Jan Žižka of Trocnov conquered the monastery. The monks ran away with the most precious property to Regensburg. In the early 16th century the renewed cathedral was re-consecrated. In 1590 all the monastery buildings were burnt down during a big fire in Kladruby. Within the 30 Years War the monastery was several times conquered and robbed. In 1653 the monastery Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary was restored, then the old prelature was built, and the reconstruction of the convent was completed.
The recent form is from the first third of the 18th century, when the architect Giovanni B. Santini rebuilt the monastery church in the style of Baroque Gothic. Santini put down the towers of the cathedral and replaced them by a tall dome peaked by a lantern with a golden duke crown. It symbolizes the fact that Vladislav I, the founder of the monastery is buried in the cathedral. The Cathedral of the Virgin Mary was completed in 1726. The construction of the monastery complex continued by a new convent and a new prelature. Its architect was probably Kilian Ignac Dientzenhofer. The building was completed in 1770. Fifteen years later the Josephine reforms abolished the monastery. There was a hospital, barracks, disabled soldiers´ home, and a brewery. In 1825 the field marshal Alfred Windischgrätz bought the monastery in auction, his descendants owned the place till 1945, when the government took over the property. The monastery played an important role in the tragic end of Jan of Pomuk, the archbishop vicar, who became St.Jan Nepomucký in the 18th century. He is the most popular Czech saint , whose sculptures decorate almost every village bridge. There is the exposition of the history of the Benedictines, the early Gothic Madonna of Kladruby and the lapidary of sculptures by M.B.Brown.