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Prague legends

Magic Prague: one of the many nicknames of this city. Prague is part of the magic triangle of Europe including also Turin and Lion.
Prague has many legends as if each stone and each house had something to tell. Legends, mysterious places, fanciful characters are a second chance guide to the city.
You should almost live the city at a different level because everything around you has a deeper, hidden mysterious sense…

The origin of the name Praha

Praha comes from the Czech word Prah which means threshold.
The mythical princess Libuše predicted the birth of “ a city whose glory will touch the stars” facing the river from the hill of Vyšehrad.
Talking to her people he told them to build the city close to a forest by the Moldau River where a man was building the threshold of a house.
“ As people have to stoop to enter a house the same way they will stoop in front of the greatness of this city…”

The Vodnik from the Charles Bridge

The Vodniks are the elf of the waters, creatures with a green body. Some of them live under the Moldau. Usually they are nice people but don’t get them angry because they are very touchy. Sometimes they have fun turning over the boats of lovers or fishermen but they also have the noble duty of preserving the souls of people who die in the floods of the river.
A vodnik used to live in a pond out of the city and moved later to Prague under the Charles Bridge because the wheels of a wagon had made turbid the waters of his previous home. On his way to Prague he met a merchant who was telling him about the pond and the dirt water. This man had idea he was talking to the vodnik from that pond…. The following day the wagon had to pass by the bridge so it was a good chance for the vodnik to revenge. The cry of the merchant was useless and he got caught in the floods of the river. A hat and a rose stolen near the pond the day before were the only things left about this merchant.

Faust’s House Karlovo náměstí 40-41 Prague 2

People say that Doctor Faust lived in this house. This person was eager of new experiences and did a pact with the devil. The devil wanted his soul in exchange for all the wishes he was fulfilling. When the time to pay his debt arrived Doctor Faust realized that the price was too high and tried to escape but the devil grabbed him and took him through the ceiling.
Nobody wanted to live in this haunted house but one day a poor student used it to sleep overnight. The following morning he found on his bed a silver coin and the same thing happened the following days. The silver coin was not enough and the student tried to get a gold coin through magic rituals.
One day his friends went to visit him and found a mess in the room and a big hole in the ceiling. Their friend had disappeared…
Edward Kelley and John Dee two alchemists of the court of Rudolf II of Habsburg lived here in 1600.

Saint John of Nepomuk Grave in Saint Vitus, Statue on the Charles Bridge

Nepomuk was his hometown. He lived in Prague in the second half of 1300 and he was the court priest of Wenceslas IV. The king ordered his death in a wild way: His tongue was cut and he was closed in a hemp sack and thrown from the Charles bridge. People say that when the sack touched the water five stars appeared on the surface. The stars correspond to the Latin verb taqui(I was silent).
The legend say that he was killed because he refused to tell the king the confession of the queen; telling the truth he was inviting to Prague an inconvenient bishop for the king so it was a political reason.
Crossing the bridge on the right side facing the Castle at about half way you can see a cross with the stars on the parapet. This is the exact place where he was thrown in the river and you are supposed to touch cross and stars at the same time with your left hand and express a selfish wish about yourself that is supposed to come true.
A little further on the same side there is his statue. You should touch the base and this is for your luck and to come back to Prague within a year.
Many other legends are connected to this saint. His tongue was found still bloody and alive months after his death…

Church of Saint James Malá Štuparská 6 Prague 1

This church was founded in 1232 for the Minorites, a branch order of the Franciscans. It was restored during the reign of Charles IV and destroyed in a big fire in 1689.Later it was restored in Baroque style.
The interior is very rich and there is also a statue of the Virgin Mary.
A thief came inside this church to steal the treasure of the Madonna and she grabbed one of his arms to avoid this theft. This arm is preserved in the church on the right of the entrance.

Saint Starosta Prague Loreto Loretánské Náměstí Prague 1

The legend tells about a very religious woman who was obliged to marry the king of Sicily, a pagan, by her father. She didn’t want this marriage at all and asked the help of God. The night before the wedding she prayed so much that the following morning she awoke with a long beard and the man run away…
Her father realized that her deep faith was so strong and crucified her.

Charles Bridge

There are several legends connected to this bridge…

People say that the bridge never collapsed completely because Charles IV had asked to every village in the kingdom to send a wagon of eggs whose white should have helped to keep the stones more strongly. Well so far no legend this is the truth. Eggs were used also in the Cathedral.
Legend tells that a village of naïve people sent a wagon of boiled eggs that were useful just as food for the workers…
After the death of Saint John of Nepomuk some of the arches of the bridge collapsed many times and they were very hard to repair. What was built during the day fell down at night.
A young architect did a pact with the devil. The devil helped him but wanted in exchange the soul of the first human being to cross the bridge. The architect thought he was smarter than the devil and put a cock on the bridge but the devil had already visited his house and told his wife that his husband, the architect needed her on the bridge. When the young architect saw his wife walking on the bridge realized that the devil had won.

Master Hanuš

The Astronomical clock has been the major attraction of the city for centuries.
Around the end of the 15th century the Town Hall asked a master watchmaker to add more mechanisms and create the best clock in Europe.
This Master created such a beautiful piece of art that the counselors of the Town Hall decided to blind him to prevent another piece of art in another city.
Master Hanuš managed to climb behind the clock just few moments before dying and blocked it.
Nobody was able to start the clock for a long time so Prague was without its masterpiece for many years.

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