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August 2016

The all-seeing eye of God is among several images that are on buildings across the Golden City

Buildings throughout the historical center of Prague and even a bit beyond are bedizened with details, so many that it is easy to ignore them due to the sensory overload. But once you start looking, it is easy to find themes and some say even hidden messages from secret societies. Once upon a time Freemasonry was popular among the elite in Prague, and a number of Masonic symbols such as the all seeing eye can be found on palaces and villas.

Two names in particular associated with the early days of Freemasonry in Bohemia are Count František Antonín Špork (Franz Anton von Sporck) and the noble Thun-Hohenstein family. Both families had real estate holdings in Prague, and Masonic symbols can be found on some of them.

What is more surprising is that very specific Masonic emblems like the compass and square can be found on residential buildings from the late 19th and early 20th century. The meaning of these is a bit obscure, as the buildings were almost certainly never Masonic lodges.

A building near Old Town Square shows a hint of the alchemy that is woven in Prague’s past

In alchemy, everything has its counterpart, its mirror image. The science that would later develop into chemistry saw the world as a set of perfect pairs, not unrelated to the yin and yang concept of Daoist philosophy. The black sun also turns up in many cultures, with slightly different meanings.