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Museum of Alchemists and Magicians
Location: Jánský vršek 8 | Near Prague Castle
Opening: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 20:00
Located in a house at the Donkey by the Cradle (this weird name comes from a fresco on the building that used to display the birth of Jesus, but due to fading you can see only a donkey by the cradle now), the Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague exhibits the story of alchemy in Prague inside the building that once belonged to illustrious alchemist Edward Kelley.
The main building has an astonishing recreation of a supposed ‘alchemic ritual’, where you can see Doctor Faustus being sucked up in the ceiling by the devil. Here you will buy tickets for the tours of the attic, that is where the fun starts.
After climbing the 60 steps of one of the oldest wooden staircases in Prague (designed by Kelley himself in the 16th century), you will get access to the laboratory of the famous alchemist.
The first room served as storage, library and waiting room for those who wish to visit the lab. Names such as Rudolf II, John Dee, and even William Shakespeare came to this place. The second room is a separate laboratory, where you can find the place where Kelley tried to create a homunculus, the furnaces which were used to try to create the philosopher’s stone, experimental animals, etc.
Museum of Ghosts and Legends
Location: Mostecká 18 | Near Charles Bridge
Opening: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 22:00
Prague had a very turbulent history involving invasions, insurgencies, wars, etc. Out of this turbulence and death, many legends arose. They come in many ways: holy, unholy, headless, skeletal, filled with love, hatred, etc. The Prague Ghosts and Legends Museum is a living collection of these stories that surround the streets of Prague.
The Prague Ghosts and Legends Museum is divided into two main levels: the interactive ground floor and the underground basement.
On the interactive ground floor, you will see an exhibition of the main legends from the city, either coming out of the walls or in the shape of objects related to them. In case you want to read more about them, you can purchase a book containing their stories in the ticket office, or download their app.
In the underground basement, you will find the ghosts. Simulating medieval Prague, without cars and bright lights, you will experience how it must have been like to face one of these spirits while strolling across the city during the 16th century. Some you will see clearly, but others you will need some investigating to find.
Museum of Medieval Torture
Location: Křižovnické nám. 194/1 | Near Charles Bridge
Opening: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 22:00
The Museum of Medieval Torture displays over 80 of the most famous and important torture machines used by the courts during the Middle Ages. It serves as a rich historical and cultural reserve, preserving the haunting past behind the Czech Republic.
On the image above, you can see something called a scold’s bridle, used to hurt and humiliate people accused of being witches. This was actually the most softcore thing I found in this museum, so be aware that you will find a lot of suffering pumped up with the sounds of people screaming, moaning, and crying.
Even though this museum if not for the faint-hearted, it is definitely a must-see. Torture has been a common practice in medieval history and much can be learned from the people who both utilized and suffered from them.
Museum of Communism
Location: V Celnici 1031/4 | Near the Powder Tower
Opening: Mon-Sun 9:00 – 20:00
The Czech Republic had a very troubled recent past when it comes to communism. Decades of censorship, persecution, and executions. To avoid past mistakes it is important to remember them, and this is the role of the Museum of Communism in Prague.
Housed in a space of nearly 1,500 square meters, the Museum of Communism provides visitors with an authentic feel of the communist era in Czechoslovakia, enhanced by the incorporation of short videos, posters, and artifacts.
The Museum of Communism shows the daily life, politics, history, sports, economics, education, art, propaganda in the media, the People’s Militias, the army, the secret police, censorship, and courts and other institutes of repression, including show trials and political labor camps during the Stalinist era.
Location: Haštalská 1 | Near the Spanish Synagogue
Opening: Mon-Wed 10:00 – 18:00
In the late Middle Ages and early Modernity, science and mysticism were one. Researches were trying to discover the secrets of nature, no matter if gravitation (harmony of the spheres) or the secret to eternal life. The Speculum Alchemiae is another great place to learn about the alchemist past of Prague.
During the reconstruction of one of the oldest historical buildings of Prague, one of the oldest alchemical laboratories in the region has been found. It was incredibly preserved, especially after the demolition of the Jewish quarter at the end of the 19th century.
It contains a main study room, normal to untrained eyes but hiding a secret passage to the underground laboratories. The underground rooms are many, containing furnaces for experimenting with different metals, laboratories for the production of different elixirs, etc.
Museum of Illusions
Location: Staroměstské nám. 480/24 | Near the Astronomical Clock
Opening: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 20:00
The Illusion Art Museum of Prague (IAM Prague) is the Czech Republic’s first museum dedicated to illusion and trick art, located on Old Town Square, directly across from the iconic astronomical clock, locally known as Orloj.
Here you will find illusion art in many different styles: some rooted deep in history, others modern and contemporary. The peak of the exhibition are anamorphic installations representing historical figures in unexpected ways, from metallurgical panting, trick art, spatial illusions, etc.
These works of art are not random, but rather from established and internationally-recognized artists such as Patrick Hughes and Patrik Proško. Apart from these famous artists, you can also find the work of smaller local artists, providing a truly unique experience.
Location: Karlův most Praha 1 | One the Charles Bridge
Opening: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 18:00
Website: No Website
The tower on the Charles Bridge is the bucket-list of most tourists who visit Prague, but few know that there is something more than a view to it. If you pay close attention, after you cross the door, you have the possibility of not only going up to the tower, but also going underground.
Although not really a full museum, the exhibitions under the tower are definitely nice to see, especially if you already bought the ticket for climbing the tower to get a view of the Charles bridge.
It contains a video exhibition, telling the story of the construction of the Charles bridge, as well as many ‘archeological pieces’ found during the many reforms the bridge has gone under. You can find a lot of fun stuff there, the ones that most surprised me were some Brazilian credit cards.