1. Mysteriae Pragensia

prac_info Mostecká 18 • www.muzeumpovesti.cz

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Uncover old Prague’s most famous mysteries and legends in this museum exploring the city’s ghosts and stories. The atmospheric cellar has a replica of some of old Prague’s streets, while the ground floor offers more traditional exhibits that explain the background to the legends. All of the material on show is based on authentic records.


The atmospheric interior of Mysteriae Pragensia museum

2. Turk in Ungelt

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Among the merchants who lived in the Týn settlement behind the Church of Our Lady was a Turkish immigrant. When his betrothed ran off and married another, he flew into a rage and chopped her head off. He is said to wander around the Ungelt courtyard carrying the decapitated head.

3. One-Armed Thief

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The story of the thief who sought to steal jewels from a statue of the Madonna in the Basilica of St James, claims that the stony Virgin seized him by the arm and local butchers had to cut him loose. According to some, the thief still haunts the church asking visitors to help him fetch his arm, which hangs from the wall inside.

4. The Golem

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It is said that the Prague rabbi Judah Loew created a clay automaton to defend the Jews of the Prague ghetto. When the creature ran amok one day, Loew was forced to deactivate him and stash him in the attic (see Old-New Synagogue Features) of the Old-New Synagogue.


Representation of the Golem

5. The Iron Man

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Believing his fiancée to be untrue, a knight called off their wedding. After she drowned herself in grief, he realized his mistake and hanged himself. Every 100 years he appears in Platnéřská street to find a young virgin who will free him by talking to him for at least an hour.

6. The Drowned Man

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When the bicycle was all the rage in the late 19th century, young Bobeř Říma stole one and rode it into the river. If a soggy young fellow tries to sell you a bike near the Old Town end of Charles Bridge, just keep walking.

7. Emaus Devil

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In an attempt to bedevil the monks at the Emaus Monastery (see Palackého náměstí), Satan worked there as a cook and seasoned their food with pepper and other spices. To this day, Czech cuisine has few piquant flavours.

8. Werewolf

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Apparently, the gamekeeper of Rudolf II became so enamoured with the wolves that roamed the castle’s Stag Moat that he became one himself. Nowadays, he takes the form of a large dog and tends to chase cyclists, joggers and tourists when the whim takes him, so keep looking over your shoulder.


Woodcut (1512) of a werewolf attack

9. Drahomíra

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St Wenceslas’s mother was, by all accounts, an unpleasant woman. She killed her mother-in-law and might have done in her son, too, but the gates of hell swallowed her up before she could act. She sometimes wheels through Loretanská náměstí in a fiery carriage.

10. The Mad Barber

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When a local barber forsook his home and family after he became caught up in alchemical pursuits, his daughters ended up in a brothel and his wife killed herself. He is said to haunt Karlova and Liliova streets, hoping to return to his honest profession and make amends.


1. John of Nepomuk Died on Charles Bridge

Nepomuk was already dead when he was thrown over the side.


The brass cross on Charles Bridge

2. Vyšehrad Castle

Vyšehrad was the first seat of power, but its importance has been inflated by legend.

3. Alchemists Lived in Golden Lane

Alchemists tended to live on credit in houses in town.

4. Czechs are Believers

According to the last census, almost 59 per cent of Czechs declared themselves to be atheists.

5. Jan Masaryk Committed Suicide

In 1948 the foreign minister was found dead in front of Černín Palace, having “fallen” from a window, according to the Communists.

6. There’s Only One Bud

The town of České Budějovice (Budweis in German) was producing beer before the US brewer, but didn’t register its copyright on the name.

7. The Danube Flows Through Prague

It’s incredible how many visitors think the Danube flows through the Czech capital. The river here is the Vltava.

8. Absinth Will Make You Crazy

The amount of wormwood in the drink is negligible.

9. Czechs and Slovaks are the Same Nation

Despite claims that they form a single nation, the languages and mentalities are different.

10. Prague is the New Left Bank

After the Velvet Revolution, some wag proclaimed Prague “the Paris of the 90s”, due to the number of expats.

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