The legend of a punished thug
There are many hidden treasures and sacred places beneath the arches of the St. Vitus Cathedral, so it’s no wonder that so many legends come from there. One speaks about the origins of the cathedral, and another about a nail from Jesus’s cross, but most of the legends are connected to the St. Wenceslas chapel, such as “Eternal light from lamps made of pure gold”, or “The chopping block that St. Wenceslas himself used to chop wood for poor people”, but the one that we’ll tell you about today is “the punished thug”.
During the reign of the emperor Rudolf II. of Habsburg, between the years 1576 and 1612, a Swedish adventurer came to the St. Wenceslas chapel. He was known for being a thug, and for starting fights whenever he had the chance. When he noticed a tree stump between other relics at the cathedral, he asked other bystanders how it got there. But when he learned the story behind it, he burst into tears of laughter and cynically said “I did not know that you had a lumberjack for a prince! What a weird country.”
A crowd of angry Czechs who heard his blasphemy were waiting outside of the cathedral to punish him right then and there, but just before they were about to lynch the rude Swede, a mysterious old man in the crowd spoke up and said “do not get your hands dirty with this man, he is not worthy of that. He will pay for his crimes when the time comes!” The angry crowd then let the Swede go and he left laughing.
But people of Prague did not have to wait long for justice, because the Swede killed an Italian merchant on a busy public street, and he was sent in front of the court. It was not difficult for the judges to sentence him, because all the witnesses said the same thing. The testimony of an old man who saw the fight from just a few steps away helped to get the Swede the maximum punishment.
The Swede was joking all the way to the gallows, and even introduced himself to the executioner and asked for his name. The executioner silently watched him for a while and then he whispered from underneath his red hood into Swedes ear “If you want to know, they call me Wenceslas”. The Swede stopped laughing and went pale, then silently said “but that old man who gave his testimony was also a Wenceslas. Does everyone in this country have the same name?” The executioner did not answer. The Swede kneeled down. The executioner was ready to raise his sword, but the Swede asked him one more time, “but the name of that judge who sentenced me to death was also…”. He did not finish his thought, and the executioner just softly nodded back. The Swede started crying and he asked for mercy, but it was too late. Wenceslas raised his sword and brought it down upon the arrogant Swede, ending his life.
You can see the St. Wenceslas chapel for yourself and much more on our Prague Castle Grounds & Highlights tour.
The sad headless nun
The ghost of a sad headless nun started appearing on Liliová street after a convent took over the former headquarters of Prague Templar knights. She was the daughter of a wealthy nobleman who owned a lot of land and a prosperous goldmine. Her father arranged her marriage to an heir of the famous and noble Rožmberk family, but she had already fallen in love with someone else.
She was in love with a poor peasant boy from the countryside, but her father would never allow her to be with someone so far below her status, so they were forced to keep their love a secret. However, her father soon found out about their relationship, and decided to send his daughter to become a nun as punishment. But it takes more than that to conquer true love.
One night the two lovers planned to escape together. The father knew they were plotting something together, so he waited for them to make their escape. When the lovers tried to run away together, the father snuck up on them from behind and sliced his daughter’s head off with a sword. Then, he cursed his daughter’s dead body. Since then, the young nun walks around the area,waiting…but what is she actually waiting for?
Come and see the place where all of that happened on our Prague Underground, Astronomical Clock & The Bridge tour!
The murdered prostitute from Celetná street
It may be surprising how many ghosts of brothel workers you can find lurking in hidden alleys in Prague Old Town. There are so many of them, that we only have time to tell you about the woman from Celetná street.
The legend says that this lady of the evening met a lonely chaplain one night, and because she was a playful lady, she showed the chaplain her naked body. That made the deeply religious chaplain angry, so he hit her head with a heavy golden cross that he was just carrying, and it cracked her skull open and became lodged in her head. When the chaplain saw what he had just done, he was so shocked that his heart gave out, and he died right next to her.
From that day their ghosts can be seen together, as the ghost of the prostitute is teasing the ghost of the chaplain, who tries to run away from her, but he cannot seem to escape from her, and probably never will.
We recommend you to go through the Celetná street after our Prague Underground, Astronomical Clock & The Bridge tour!