This evening we went on a ‘Ghost and Legends Tour’ of Old Town. We heard stories about alchemy, murder, curses, executions, the restless spirits still said to wander the narrow streets of Old Town, and the dark secrets behind the famous astronomical clock.
We also visited the underground, to the cellars and former dungeons beneath the Old Town Hall. These underground chambers, dating back to the 12th century, have witnessed executions, torture and tragedy, and have their own special energy. Many strange ‘orbs’ and other unexplained phenomena have been captured in photos.
One of the oldest streets in Prague, Celetna Lane, connects the Old Town Square with the Republic Square. House 27 stands at the place, where used to be the church of Knights Templar in the 13th century. The Order of Knights Templar was abolished in 1312.
Kinsky Palace in the Old Town Square, doesn’t stand in line with the neighbouring buildings. A legend says that the town council didn’t want to permit the special position of the palace and that the count bribed three councilmen for the permit. The count was eventually brought to trial but because he had a permit he was released. The three councilmen, however, were hanged in front of the palace.
This former Jesuit college in the Prague Old Town is the second largest building complex after Prague Castle. The Enlightenment reformist Emperor Joseph II. forced the Jesuits to leave Prague in 1773. It is said, that they left their enormous treasure hidden somewhere in the Clementinum. The legend says, that they woke up a poor bricklayer in the night, took him blindfolded to the Clementinum and paid him to wall up the place, where they put the treasure. He tried to come back later, but he never found the place again.
The execution of 27 leaders of the rebellion against Emperor Matthias took place at the Old Town Square in 1621. Commemorating the sad event. y.6 ou can see 27 crosses, symbols of swords and a thorn crown in the pavement by the Old Town City Hall..6 A legend says that the ghosts of the executed noblemen return to the square every year on June 21, the day of the execution.
Church of St James
The large Church of St James is situated in Prague Old Town. Its decorations are considered to be one of the most beautiful and valuable in Prague. The church contains 23 chapels and is connected to many legends. The church’s acoustics are great and many concerts are held here. One of the prides of the church is a magnificent organ from 1702.
This church was first built by Minorites (a branch of the Franciscans) in Gothic style. It suffered great damage in the fire of 1689. It was then rebuilt in the Baroque style. The tomb of Count Vratislav of Mitrovice inside the church is one of the most beautiful Baroque tombs in Bohemia.
After Count Vratislav was buried, people could hear dreadful sounds from the tomb. Religious people thought that the spirit of the count couldn’t find peace and they sprinkled the tomb with holy water. After a few days the sound stopped. Several years later, when the tomb was open again, they found the coffin damaged and the remains of the count outside the coffin. He had been buried alive, and when he woke up from his deep unconsciousness, he tried to alert the people in the church but instead found a terrible death.
Several great artists contributed to the decorations of the Church of St James, such as Peter Brandl, Hans von Aachen, Vaclav Vavrinec Reiner and many others. It is said that the author of the picture on the main altar, Vaclav Vavrinec Reiner, was protected by the picture he was creating, even though everybody around him died of plague. The moment after the painter made his last stroke of the brush, he was infected with the plaque and died the same day.
Visitors should also notice a mumified forearm more than 400 years old hanging on the right of the entrance. It belonged to a thief who tried to steel some jewels from the Madonna on the high altar one night. But the Madonna grapped his hand and didn’t want to let it go. The thief had to wait there until the next morning. The next day, when the Minorites came to the Church, they tried to separate the thief from the Madonna, but in vain. They had to cut his arm. Then the Madonna let the hand go. The monks hung the arm to remember this event and as a warning for other thieves.
When we entered this church, it was dark, cold and uninviting. Lights would turn on only when you got close enough to trigger the sensor. In many places there were signs on the floor that said, no entry, alarm will sound and if you got too close, the alarm did go on until you stepped away.
Disappointingly, we could not see the spectacular ceilings of the church. We hardly made out where the mummified hand was placed. The atmosphere added to the creepiness of the experience.
Only knew to come here because of the Ghost Tour we participated in.