Jan Hus and his sermons in the Bethlehem Chapel
Maybe you have heard of Jan Hus, the Czech theologian, philosopher, and church reformer Jan Hus, who left the Earth in a very gruesome way – being burned in Konstanz. Another important place in his life was the Bethlehem Chapel, where he was giving sermons. The chapel was built at the end of the 14th century, dedicated to the innocent children murdered Bethlehem, in and since the beginning it was the place of worship for Czech people. It was one of the few places in the Czech lands where the masses, sermons and other ceremonies were led in Czech, not Latin or German.
The Bethlehem Chapel became one of the hotbeds of the ideas to reform the Church. Jan Hus was giving his sermons about truth, modesty, and morality not only hundreds of basic Prague inhabitants but also the Queen of the Czech lands Sophia of Bavaria.
In 1412, people came to honor the memory of students executed for their fight against indulgences, and the chapel irrevocably became one of the places of reformist though. Jan Hus probably gave his last sermon there in 1413. Two years later, he was tried as a heretic, found guilty and burned alive.
Even though the ideas of Jan Hus and others lived on and inspired many protestant thinkers, the importance of the Bethlehem Chapel eventually decreased. It was abandoned and its decay came to a point when in the 1950s it had to be torn down and a replica had to be built in its place.
Today, the walls are adorned by texts and pictures preserved from old books from the Middle Ages. The Chapel is open to the public, most of the year, so you can come to honor the memory of Jan Hus almost any time.
When they come to Prahy, many tourists are looking forward to finding and feeling the spirit of Franz Kafka. The author of the world-famous novels such as The Trial, The Metamorphosis or The Castle was born in the Old Town of Prague in 1883 and stayed connected to it during his whole, rather short, life. His texts have captured the imaginations of readers all around the world with its depressive atmosphere, desperation for the absurdity of life and the pressure of society.
It’s not hard to find the birth house of this famous author – the little square it is located at is now called Franz Kafka Square. The house is not open to the public, but we invite you to wander around the near Jewish quarter, where you can still feel a bit of the atmosphere that inspired the genius of the miserable writer.
Café Slavia Coffee House and its men
Every big city has places to which the local philosophers, politicians, writers and other members of the Intelligence somehow naturally gravitated. One of these places in Prague was Café Slavia.
The café, which was built in the Lažanský Palace with a beautiful view of the river, was opened in 1884. It bore the now-famous name since the very beginning – a nod to the ideas of Panslavism, popular in the late 19th century. Between the two World Wars, Café Slavia has acquired its French art deco style you can enjoy even today.
It was here where the creatives of the Czech “First Republic” were meeting, exchanging ideas and sharing excitement about the great things to come. In times of its greatest prosperity, the visitor could expect to meet here the brothers Čapek, a representative of the powerful avant-garde stream Karel Teige, painter Jan Zrzavý, writer Vítězslav Nezval, or even the poet and later Nobel Prize for literature laureate, Jaroslav Seifert, whom the atmosphere influenced so much that he wrote a poem about Slavia. Locals and tourists alike can enjoy the atmosphere of the Café Slavia again since its reopening in 1997.
The Old Town of Prague as a source of inspiration
The crooked streets of the Old Town of Prague enchanted not only many local artists but also international writers, composers, artists, and travelers. Let yourself be taken over by its timeless atmosphere, maybe you will be inspired to create your masterpiece here, too.