Ghosts and Legends of Prague City

Just in time for Halloween here is a supernatural guide to the capital of the Czech Republic

Charles Bridge and Spires of the Old Town

 

The city of Prague is famous for its historic churches, castles and squares which all boast extraordinary features of Baroque and Gothic architecture; in fact Prague is sometimes referred to as the City of a Hundred Spires. Prague also has a reputation for its local and inexpensive beer, with its 800 or so pubs attracting visitors from all over the world. But Prague has another attraction, one that isn’t as widely known to those who haven’t visited the city. Visitors to Prague are surprised at Prague’s haunted history, with attractions such as the Prague Ghost Museum (Mysteriae Pragensis) and companies offering Prague Ghost Tours.

Prague ghosts come in a wide variety. From pantomime-like skeletons on fire, to truthful gruesome executions, there are plenty of stories to send a chill up your spine. Three of Prague’s most famous legends are of the 27 Noblemen of Charles Bridge, the Headless Templar and St. John of Nepomuk.

The 27 Noblemen of Charles Bridge
In 1621, on the 21st of June, 27 noblemen were executed for their involvement in the Estates Uprising the year before.  The executions took place in Old Town Square, where twenty-four of the noblemen were beheaded and three were hanged. Twelve of the decapitated heads were placed in iron baskets that were hung from the Charles Bridge. A widow of one of the noblemen petitioned to bury the head of her husband, and she was allowed to do so one year after it had been so horribly displayed on the bridge. The other eleven heads were left on the bridge for twenty years before being buried at the Tyn Church in Old Town. Nowadays, people claim that the noblemen rise from their graves once a year to view the Astronomical Clock and check that all is well within the city.

The Headless Templar
In the days of knights and noble horses, Prague was home to a handsome Templar Knight. Although there is little known about his story, the handsomely dressed Templar Knight is one of Prague’s favourite ghosts. It is said that he rides the cobbled streets of Old Town, without a head, on his white stallion, challenging the people he finds to release him from his ghostly imprisonment. No-one knows what happened to the Templar Knight that caused his ghost to wander the earth, but to free him a brave soul must take the Knight’s sword and use it to pierce the ghosts heart. Believers of this legend say that the Templar Knight can usually be found haunting the eerie Lilova Street after midnight.

St John of Nepomuk Statue

St. John of Nepomuk
St. John of Nepomuk is one of the national saints of the Czech Republic. The story goes that after St. John took confession from the Queen of Bohemia, her husband, King Wenceslas IV, asked what she had said to the priest. Legend says that when St. John refused to tell the King what he had heard, the King had St. John tortured and then hung in chains off Charles Bridge until he died. It is true that King Wenceslas IV did torture and have St. John killed, but the reason was for disagreeing over a new abbot for the Abbey of Kladruby, not for keeping the Queen’s confession a secret. However, some still believe that by touching the statue of St. John of Nepomuk on Charles Bridge, you keep your secret safe from ever being told.

There are many more ghostly sites in Prague to visit, and you can incorporate them into a walking tour of the city. There’s a free, printable Prague Ghost map on lowcostholidays.com, with a suggested route to take which passes the sites above, and many more, before ending up at the haunted Prague castle. The walk takes approximately 45 minutes.

Prague is only a three hour flight from the UK and uses the Czech Crown as currency.

Share