Saturday, July 10, 2010

"I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars"

Since today's name day is Libuše, I thought I'd tell you a little story...

There's an old Czech legend that says that Libuše was the founder of Prague.  The origin of Prague goes back  to the 7th century and the Slavic princess Libuše, a woman of great beauty and wisdom who possessed prophetic powers.  Libuše and her husband, Prince Přemysl, ruled peacefully over the Czech lands from the hill of Vyšehrad.  A legend says that one day Libuše had a vision.  She stood on a cliff overlooking the Vltava River, pointed to a forested hill across the river, and proclaimed:  "Vidím město veliké, jehož sláva hvězd se dotýkati bude." ("I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars").  She instructed her people to go and build a castle where a man was building the threshold of a house (in Czech práh).  "And because even the great noblemen must bow low before a threshold, you shall give it the name Praha."  Her words were obeyed and some 200 years later, the city of Praha (Prague) became the seat of the Premyslid dynasty.

It has now been almost 704 years since the last male member of the Bohemian royal dynasty, the Premyslids, died.  On August 4, 1306, King Wenceslas III, was murdered in the town of Olomouc at the age of just 16.  The death of the young king marked the end of a 450-year Premyslid rule in Bohemia.

A statue honors Princess Libuše & Prince Přemysl at Vyšehrad

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