Mysterious Prague


Prague is not only known for its rich history and beautiful architecture. It also hides a world full of legends, myths and unexplained stories. There are many places in the city where reality and fantasy intertwine…

Open yourself up to new experiences and delve into mysterious encounters with the past of ancient Prague.

The Golem: the giant guardian of Prague's Jews

One of the best known and most enigmatic Prague legends is that of the Golem. This mute being made of clay and capable of understanding instructions was said to have been created and brought to life by placing a magical parchment in its mouth by Rabbi Yehuda Löw in the 16th century. The Golem was endowed with superhuman strength and its main task was to protect the Jews from pogroms and help them with heavy physical labour. Like the Jews, it was not allowed to work on the Sabbath. This is why Löw always took the parchment out of its mouth on Friday afternoon to immobilise it. Once, however, he forgot, and not having any instructions on what to do, the Golem began to run amok, destroying everything around it before the Rabbi could intervene. And so the Golem had to be destroyed… 

A jewel among cemeteries

Rabbi Löw's grave is found in the oldest and most important Jewish cemetery in the world – the Old Jewish Cemetery ( You can find it in the Jewish quarter of Josefov and it would be hard to find a place in Prague with a more mystical atmosphere. It was established in roughly the first half of the 15th century and people were interred in it for nearly 350 years. During this time, approximately 12 000 gravestones accumulated here which today, covered in lichen and moss, produce a strange and magical atmosphere.

A treasure trove of Jewish history

Along with the Old Jewish Cemetery, another of the most significant monuments of Prague's Jewish quarter is the Old New Synagogue ( It is also closely connected to the Golem. According to legend, it was here that Yehuda Löw used to store the giant and it is said that the mythical being is still stored in the temple's attic to date…

The Old New Synagogue, also known as the Altneuschul, was erected in the 13th century and another of the legends tells that the foundation stones for its construction were brought from the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem by angels. These were also said to have protected it during fires, transformed into doves, and this is why it survived whole centuries without serious damage.

The synagogue is still an important centre of religious life for the Jewish community. It is open to the public daily except for Saturdays and Jewish holidays.

Prague a mecca for alchemists in the 16th century

Step into the past with a splash of mystery when delving back to the 16th century, when the land was ruled by Rudolf II. At that time, Prague became a mecca for alchemists, who sought to discover the elixir of youth, the philosopher's stone and transmutation of metal into gold. Their activity in the capital can still be seen today.

The house where master Kelley did his research

One original alchemist's workshop from the time of Rudolf II can be found on the street Haštalská. This is where the best known alchemist allegedly lived and worked – master Edward Kelley, who at first enjoyed great confidence from the emperor himself, but later the ruler had him imprisoned for his dubious "tricks". 

The house, which is today inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and serves as a museum of alchemy (, once gave the appearance of a pharmacy. Yet strange things were going on inside… One of the legend tells that a fiery team of goats used to regularly burst out of the house, running to the Old Town Square, where it would turn around and quickly rush back. Anyone who didn't get out of its way would fall to the ground, stunned or even dead.

Today, the on-site exhibition shows visitors an array of old alchemical devices and objects that evoke an atmosphere of secret recipes and daring discoveries. It takes them into a vast and mysterious underground lair, where tunnels lead all the way to the Old Town Hall or under the Vltava to Prague Castle.

Under the surface: wandering through the dark corridors of the ancient city

Visitors can also visit the mysterious and intricate Prague underground as part of the tour circuit of Old Town Hall ( This is the largest complex of medieval halls, jails, places of worship, corridors and tunnels of its kind in the capital, thanks to which you can catch a glimpse of the beginnings of Prague's Old Town.

Visitors are also taken below the surface by the casemates at Vyšehrad ( , the total length of which is over one kilometre. This intricate system of corridors was formed over the course of the 17th century for the rapid and unobserved movement of troops and will take visitors into the bowels of one of the oldest and best preserved Baroque fortresses in Central Europe. The most interesting part of the casemates tour is the large underground Gorlice Hall, which holds a true treasure trove – six original Baroque statues from the Charles Bridge.

The mysterious Čertovka

The canal that separates Kampa from the rest of Malá Strana is shrouded in a devilish tale. The creation of this man-made mill race dates back to the 12th century and was designed to bring water to the original nine mills of Malá Strana.

Today's name for the canal became settled around the year 1892, and according to legend arose from a quarrelsome and troublesome woman who used to go to do laundry in this area. Once she shouted at a group of youths so vigorously that they started to call her the devil's hag, or Čertovka for short. They also painted seven hellspawn on her house. Since then, not only the place where she used to go do her laundry in the water, but the whole canal has been called Čertovka. 

The area around Čertovka has become very popular not only with filmmakers, but also with tourists, who have the opportunity to explore the nooks and crannies of Prague's most beautiful river canal from a small boat. With the cruise they also earn entrance to the Charles Bridge Museum (

26. November 2023
4. March 2024