HTML Scrolling Menu

Historical alchemy related sites in the Czech Republic

Back to Alchemy forum page.

From: John Onarheim


I will spend a week of my holiday in the famous city of Prague (Praha) this summer and wonder if somebody would know of any interresting historical alchemy-related sites in Prague or elsewhere in the Czech Republic worth visiting.

John Onarheim

For starters you could visit the Mihulka Tower on the north wall of Prague Castle (Hrad). Rudolf's alchemists experimented here and there is a permanent exhibition of alchemical equipment in a mock-up lab. on the first floor of the tower (inscriptions in Czech [1994]). Further along the north wall at the west end of Golden Lane of is the White Tower, where Edward Kelly was imprisoned (no entry). Note that the Golden Lane, one time known as the Street of Alchemists, was never home to any. The little houses were originally built of wood in the 1590s for Rudolf's archers. Dee and Kelly never lived here as erroneously supposed. Kafka was its most famous resident.

There is also The Faust House in Charles Square (Karlovo namesti), where Kelly lived for a while and legend has it that blue light mysteriously came from the windows.

About 100 miles south of Prague is Cesky Krumlov and Trebon, with the principal castles of Vilem Rozmberk, where he set up laboratories and brought many alchemists to experiment (inc. D & K, who it would seem found it preferable to attempt to swap wives instead).

Robin E.Cousins

To John Onarheim,

There are some interesting alchemical manuscripts in the Czech Republic at Prague and Czesky Krumlov. I can provide detailed summaries of these if you wish.

There are two articles by Vladimir Karpenko in Ambix Vol 37 (1990) that may be of interest to you.

The oldest alchemical manuscript in the Czech language.

Christoph Bergner: The last Prague alchemist.

Adam McLean

From: (Ivan Ickovits)

Prague was also famous for the jewish rabbi the Maharal of Prague who it is reouted created a golem. Sort of a zombie without a soul in Prague.

From: (Tom McRae)

This was featured in one of the old British Hammer movies 'The Golem', well worth a watch if you can find it. This golem did seem to have a bit of a conscience.



From: Jeffrey Smith

About that golem:

There is nothing direclty alchemical about the Golem. The "Maharal", Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague, was a notable rabbi and Kabbalist whom legend credited with creation of a golem for the sake of defending the Jews of Prague against a blood libel and pogrom. I forget the dates; it may have been during the time of Rudolf, but I am not sure. One version of the legend states that the Golem, once deactivated, was placed in the attic of the "Altneuschul", the principal synagogue of Prague. This, to the best of my memory (which is not working too well this morning), survived the Nazis, and can be visited today. The means of creating a Golem come out of the Sefer Yetzirah school, and traditions about them reach back to Talmudic times and possibly earlier.

The principal methods involve combinational meditation of the Hebrew alphabet and magical use of the Name of God. The Golem of Prague is merely the most recent, and famous because it attracted the attention of several writers and film makers in the early part of this century.

Tachat haRachamim.

Jeffrey Smith