I really hated checking out of that hotel! We got up early and had our free breakfast (Hah)! We really wanted to spend some time on the other side of the city in main Prague, as we only were in Lesser Prague across the river when I last posted. Last evening we took a taxi over to Central Prague and went to the concert. Then we had dinner, shopped around, went to the Jewish quarter and looked for the Alchemy museum which we were unable to find. This kept us out late but the city was busy and vibrant and we found it gorgeous. We went back in search of the Alchemy museum this morning.
So first — Alchemy was not just limited to changing low value metals to Gold. Alchemy in the 15th century was really about studying herbs and elixirs looking for eternal youth, better sex and improving memory as well as spells, magic, the occult and of course changing metals to gold. Now, the Catholic church looked down on these types of dabbling in the occult even back in the 15th century, and most of your neighbors would have outted you as a witch if they new you were doing this sort of stuff, so it was kept pretty quiet.
Now, in 2002 the Danube flooded to a level not seen in hundreds of years and low and behold part of the street collapsed and uncovered a bunch of underground tunnels leading to one of the oldest homes in Prague. This was a previously unknown lab of a famous alchemist dating back to the 15th century.
The following pictures are a tour through these tunnels (now restored) where this work was done. The first are the ground level known room — and yes those are devil heads in the chandelier. This was the face of Moses, which we were told, due to a error in translation it was thought that Moses had horns. Hmmm — I never heard that but OK…
This room was where visitors were hosted and there is no evidence of an underground laboratory.
Of course, a secret lever releases a panel of the bookshelves and the underground tunnel is exposed.
Since the bulk of the work performed was distilling alcohol and infusing herbs, the main lab was wood fired stills.
Down the tunnel farther was a storage room for herbs and grains. And another storage area for wood.
Finally, there is a glass blowing facility for making vessels to brew in. This was to avoid raising suspicion by purchasing large quantities of distilling glass. Everything is made in-house.
Finally the staircase back up to the library, and an actual unopened bottle of elixir made in the 15th century found after the flood. I did not want to try it. The above ground was setup as an apocethary to help reduce suspicion about underground activity.
This was the perfect moonshiners man cave!
After this we decided to take the couple mile walk back to lesser Prague as it was getting time to get going. Here are a couple of shots. A very beautiful walk.
More castles and mansions and enormous cathedrals than you could possibly imagine.
In the center square there is an astronomical clock.
And a Harry Potteresque Castle.
We crossed the river on the walking bridge (Charles Bridge)
We checked out of the fancy hotel and headed off to Rothenburg, Germany. We are making a 2 day bee line for Belgium. We should be there by Saturday.