On the hunt for the Philosopher’s Stone – Alchemy in Prague

By Aleksandra Brzezicka

The Elixir of Immortality. The Philosopher’s Stone. Symbols of the elements. If you’ve ever heard of any of those, you’ve got a basic idea of what Alchemy is. The philosophical tradition of purifying, maturing and perfecting such objects has deep roots in the Prague culture.

The second oldest building in Prague, dating back to 900 AD, has been a beating heart of alchemy since Emperor Rudolf II created an alchemist laboratory there. Connected by underground tunnels with the most important places in the city, it is currently the Museum of Alchemy for those who want to rediscover this spiritual, forgotten art.

Filled with old pots, paintings, skulls and dried herbs hanging from the ceilings, the exact replica of the alchemist laboratory can give you the creeps. Those in emotional need or having extra cash can buy elixirs made from original recipes found in the house or go on the Magical Triangle tour – to the museum itself, Prague Castle and Vysehrad, all apparently full of the special energy.

If you don’t fancy an elixir, coffee at the Cukrárna Alchymista may tempt you. Away from the rowdy centre, neat the Sparta tram stop, you’ll find the hidden spot with a magnificent alchemist-themed fresco on the ceiling and full of flowers in a lovely garden. You don’t have to be an alchemy fanatic to enjoy your eco-coffee, homemade cakes and fancy cocktails – a new one is inspired by The Big Lebowski film.

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Apparently Provaznická street was a home for one of the great alchemists of Prague who left a tarot deck with a handwritten riddle to solve. Awake after coffee, head to the Alchemist Bar to play Choose Your Fate and unravel the mystery. While doing that, try their brand, a bit pricey but beautifully prepared by the true mixology masters, signature cocktails. Prepare to feel underdressed as everything seems to be overwhelmed by the magnificent interior, full of antique furniture and crystal chandeliers.

It is a magical side of Prague, protected from the eyes of the unworthy, which is waiting to be uncovered. There is much more to it for those who are willing to see. The decision is yours if myths are to be trusted though only truly unspiritual individuals won’t feel the charm of the ghosts of the past.

 

 

 

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  1. […] Aleksandra Brzezicka hunted out the hidden and not-so-hidden places in Prague that pay homage to the medieval mysteries shrouded in the science of alchemy. Read her fascinating report. […]

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