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Charles Bridge was falling down until an architect made a deal Making a large building or a bridge requires a lot of complex math and engineering. But back in the Middle Ages and even after, these skills were pretty rudimentary. Investors would often seek the help of Heaven by paying for

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Some see a broken stone pillar as evidence that a demon named Zardan visited Prague The history of Vyšehrad goes back to the very foundation of Prague, and the walled fortress-like area on a cliff above the Vltava has accumulated many interesting tales over the centuries. For most of the legends of Prague

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A small area at the edge of the Czech Republic saw hundreds executed for witchcraft The witch hunting craze hit the Moravia-Silesia region, in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, harder than in any other part of the country. The biggest and best-documented case was the Boblig Witch Trials from 1678 until

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The Four of Pentacles in The Tarot of Prague features details from three Prague buildings from different eras, but that speak to us across time.

The House at St. Luke (U sv. Lukáše) on Loretánské náměstí was built around 1730 as a Baroque townhouse, with a lot of attention paid to symmetry.

St. Luke is seen above the entry showing a painting of the Madonna and Child to his subjects.

While best-known as an author of a Gospel and patron of physicians, students and butchers, Luke is also associated with artists and by some accounts was a painter of icons. He is thought to have painted the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, now in Poland, and a few others that survive to this day. In the medieval era, painters were sometimes in a Guild of St. Luke.


A house sign above the door shows St. Luke and an icon of the Madonna.

The Černín Palace in Prague has a long and unsettling history.

What is now the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the 1660’s up to 1851 belonged to the noble Černín family, which legends depict as being somewhat vain as well as stingy.

The family had Černín Palace built on a hill slightly higher than Prague Castle, due to their love of prestige. It took several generations of the family to complete the construction of the truly massive building, which began with designs by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini in the 1660’s and was finished with a monumental staircase by František M. Kaňka in 1720, with almost every famous artist or sculptor of the time contributing something.


The first ghost tale associated with the palace occurs just as the building was under construction. Count Humprecht Jan Černín was the one who commissioned the largest palace in the city, but he promised to pay each craftsman only when his work was finished.

When he died in 1682,  there were no written contracts for any of the construction. The tradesman turned to one of the count’s relatives, who was adept in occult arts and a member of a secret society. The head architect at that time, Francesco Caratti, was taken blindfolded to a meeting of the secret society and the spirit of the count was raised up and asked to sign the required contracts. The spirit seems to have obliged, as the work was able to continue.

But the most famous ghost story, which concerns demons and a duchess, comes later…