Prague – History and Ghosts

prague sunset

I feel like whenever you mention Prague to a traveler you are always greeted with, “Oh, I just LOVE Prague.”

Go ahead. Try it.  I dare you to find someone who has visited Prague and not fallen in love with it.

This was my second visit to Prague, and I just couldn’t wait to get back, because of course, “Oh, I just LOVE Prague!”

Prague Charles bridge and castle

On our arrival, our AirBnB host was very welcoming and took us out to dinner which was a great way to get to know our little neighborhood and ask some of those questions you have when arriving in a new country.
Like, “How do I say “thank you” correctly?”, and “What’s good to eat around here?”  She was kind enough to take us out again to dinner on our last night to a different part of town that we hadn’t explored. Our excursion included a winery built right into a hillside. It was gorgeous!

prague

We lucked out and were introduced to a friend of a friend who has made Prague her home for the last 6 years. So we got to see some local sights and experiences that we may have missed out on if left to our own devices.

 

We played our first pub trivia in months, were introduced to a Czech liquor called Becherovka, (which can only be described as Christmas in a glass), and we visited a Guy Fox themed bar with some truly unique cocktails!

 

AnonymouS Bar Prague
prague

And then we saw our first ghost.

We think…

It seriously creeped us the f*ck out.

On our walking tour, our guide told us the story of the Astronomical Clock in Old Town square.

Clock crafter, Master Hanuš, designed the clock tower in 1410. The Powers That Be at the time were suspicious that Master Hanuš was also working on a design for another city or maybe one day would. Not wanting to share his talents with anyone else, the night that the clock was finished, his eyes were gouged out. (isn’t history fun, kids?!)

Seeking revenge for this unjust action,  Master Hanuš pulled out an essential piece of the clock and cursed it before he died. The clock didn’t run properly for hundreds of years and the legend says that anyone who tries to alter the clock in any way will go insane and die within a year.

This brings us to our ghost.

In the mid-1800’s, a proficient painter was brought in to do some restoration work on the clock tower. Josef Mánes decided to add some of his own work to the tower as well. I mean he was a well-respected painter with talent. However,  he went steadily mad and was found wiping canvas’ on the floor of his workspace, talking nonsense, and was showing obsessive behavior. There are theories that his mind may have been affected by syphilis or meningitis… or was it the curse?

All we know is that, according to our tour guide, he died within a year of his work on the clock, and there have been sightings of a spirit that strongly resembled Josef Mánes in what was once his workspace.

When our tour arrived at this building, our guide made sure to note that when you are taking photos, to mind the reflections. Sometimes you can catch a passerby, someone else in your tour group, or of course your own reflection.

I took some photos while I listened to Josef’s story. It wasn’t until we were walking to our next location and I was reviewing the photos I had just taken, as I often do, that I saw it…

Josef Mánes ghost

Do you see him?

Josef Mánes ghost

How about now? There was no one in our group that looked anything like this at all, and the tour guide swears that no one passed by behind us. It wasn’t a very busy sidewalk we were standing on.

 

I don’t know.. what do you think?
Here’s what he looked like depicted in the plaque on the building. 

Josef Mánes plaque Prague

Prague black and white

 

Oh, I just LOVE Prague!

 

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