Visions of glory: the legend of how Prague was born

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Like all good tales the foundation of Prague begins with a love story. The main character of this story is a princess with something extraordinary: she was a visionary, a prophet. In one of her visions she saw a great city to be built across the river. She asked her people to lay its foundations there, where at the time was just a hill. She asked them to name the city “Praha” which means both “doorstep” and “threshold”. In the princess’ vision the city should have made people bow their heads in its honor, like at the time happened every time one crossed a door, due to the fact that they were built quite short, to avoid dispersing heat. “Prague’s glory will reach the stars” she told her people, pointing in the direction where to build their castle.

Libuse and Premysl statueThe name of the princess was Libuse, that of her man was Premysl. He was a simple plowman and she was a descendant of the royal dynasty that was ruling Bohemia. Libuse had two sisters: the healer Kazi and the magician Teta. When the time came for her father to pass on his power, having no son, he chose Libuse. But the large part of the tribe was ashamed to be known as being governed by a woman and insisted that she picked a man to be the ruler. The man appeared in one of Libuse’s visions:

“Beyond the hills is a small stream called Bilina. On its banks there is the village of Stadice. You will not have to ask the way. My horse will lead you, just follow him. There is a field where you will find your future duke, a plowman. When the horse stops, you will be certain it’s him. Bring him back to be your ruler and my husband. His name is Premysl and our descendants will rule here forever.”

As the prophecy came true, Libuse’s love quest was over and the first, ideal, brick of today’s Prague was laid. How many more were to be laid to build the bridges and houses of this magic city in the centuries to come?!

The legend of Prague’s foundation survived to this day and in the place where Libuse and Premysl once ruled, on the hill that rises on the right bank of the Vltava river, the mighty fortress of Vysehrad still soars. In place of the castle is now a park where a statue depicts Libuse in her visionary trance, pointing forward, and Premysl, sitting next to her, holding his plow.

Served by the Vysehrad metro station this quiet area of the city offers plenty of hotels. Just to name a few: the Corinthia Hotel with a great spa and fitness center is a short walk from the fortress, the Holiday Inn and the Rezidence Vysehrad are almost right next to it.

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