In the footsteps of Master Jan Hus
To mark the 600 years since the events that led to the burning of Hus in 1415, let us follow in his footsteps. One of the most important personages of Czech history will lead us via matchless and historically distinctive Prague sites.
Old Town Square – Master Jan Hus statue – Old Town Hall – Týn Church – Church of St Michael – Carolinum – Church of St Havel – Bethlehem Chapel – Church of St. Martin in the Wall – Church of the Virgin Mary of the Snows – New Town Hall – Karlovo Square – Vyšehrad
No place in Prague is more symbolic than Old Town Square. Here, at the 1915 monument to Master Jan Hus, we can begin our walk. The Old Town Hall is also closely linked to the Hussites. In 1422 it saw the execution of the radical Hussite preacher Jan Želivský. Today the great chamber of the Town Hall hosts one of the most famous paintings of Hus by Václav Brožík.
Another dominant feature of the square – the Church of Our Lady before Týn, staunchly backed the chalice bearers and was the base of the Hussite bishop Jan Rokycana. Lesser-known is the Church of St Michael, where Jan Hus took part in disputations. Today only the Gothic scuncheon remnants recall the times of Hus as a preacher.
Carolinum – the Charles University College is inextricably linked with Master Jan, who was Dean and later Rector here. Nearby is the Church of St Havel, much changed since Hus’ time. We go along Havelská Street and on to Bethlehem Chapel, the holy place built for Jan Hus to preach in Czech, where he found refuge in 1402–1412. The Church of St Martin in the Wall saw the first Communion under both kinds among Hussite followers.
The Church of the Virgin Mary of the Snows, and the New Town Hall remind us how radical the Hussite movement became after the first defenestration of Prague. Across Karlovo Square we go on to the Vyšehrad fortress. It is hard to credit today that one of the key battles of Hussite Prague took place in 1420 just below Vyšehrad Castle, fruitlessly besieged by Sigismund of Luxembourg’s troops. Once you make the climb up to Vyšehrad you will understand, and in reward enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the city.