Come escape reality and follow in the footsteps of some of the movies and books set in Prague. Visit unique places, hear unique stories. We do what we love, so don’t expect Mission Impossible set but rather Forman’s Amadeus and WWII Anthropoid or Seven Churches a gothic novel of Prague.
The Seven Churches, a gothic novel of Prague
The Seven Churches, a novel set in Prague, the mother of all Gothic cities. The book is an odd gothic thriller, with a strangely conservative message about the human morality and architectural morality going hand in hand. The mysterious crimes committed at the Gothic churches of Prague New Town (surprisingly founded by Czech King and Roman Emperor, Charles IV in 14th century), seem to be connected with the desire to reconstruct the “golden age” of medieval Prague. Interesting novel with bloody and nightmarish plot but at the same time, an opportunity to explore gothic Prague, the mysterious symbols of seven gothic churches, one of which is actually missing.
Interview with author of The Seven Churches, Milos Urban
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Anthropoid, an incredible true story behind World War Two
Operation Anthropoid – a mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich. Once described by Hitler as “the man with the iron heart”, Heydrich supervised the Einsatzgruppen, the Nazi death squads that killed more than two million people. And it was Heydrich who chaired the Wannsee Conference in January 1942, where plans for the Final Solution were completed. Heydrich was Hitler’s man in charge of „germanization“ of the Czech nation.
Sean Ellis, the British director, followed the true story of Czechoslovakian resistance fighters Josef Gabčík (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubiš (Jamie Dornan), who undertook the nearly impossible mission to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942. The plan ultimately resulted in the deaths of Kubiš, Gabčík and five other Czechoslovakian fighters – and while Heydrich didn’t die immediately as planned, he did succumb to his injuries soon after.
Anthropoid is not only a story about heroes and resistance of Czech people against Nazis but it’s also a story about a broken city that once was the capital of the Czechoslovak Republic, the only democracy in Central Europe before the WWII that became a seat of the government of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia in 1939.
Before the War, Czechoslovakia was one of the continent’s economic powerhouses and had a very strong military industry, especially producing heavy machinery and tanks. It was sacrificed by the UK and France in order to appease Hitler in 1938, but that just made him even stronger.
Striking at the heart of the Nazi machine, at one of its leaders, could galvanize the population and wake up the resistance, which was losing any hope of success at this point of war. It was decided by Czech exile government in London that the target of this operation would be Heydrich, one of the most feared men in the Nazi Reich. The date was set for the 27th of May 1942. At 10.30am on May 27, Heydrich’s convertible Mercedes, which was heading towards Prague Castle, slowed down to take the sharp corner near Bulovka Hospital. Gabcik ran into the road, pulled a Sten submachine gun from his overcoat and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed.
Heydrich immediately drew his pistol but misfired. At this point, Kubis, who was standing further down the road, threw a grenade towards the car. The explosion blew a hole in the side and damaged a passing tram, the shrapnel from which injured Heydrich.
Gabcik and Kubis escaped but presumed the assassination attempt had failed. Heydrich, however, died days later in hospital. For the soldiers and the Czechoslovakian people, though, it was a short-lived celebration. Hitler’s response to the assassination of one of his key henchmen was brutal. The Führer sent death squads to the small village of Lidice, where it was mistakenly believed that Gabcik and Kubis were hiding: 199 men and 52 women were shot. The remaining women and children were taken to concentration camps. It is estimated that 1,400 Czechs were killed in retaliation.
Gabcik and Kubis hid in the Karel Boromejsky Church in Prague, however soon discovered by the Nazis. Within hours, 750 SS soldiers laid siege to the church, which the soldiers remarkably managed to hold for six hours, killing dozens of Nazis and injuring many more. It was an act of astonishing defiance, which ended with the Czechoslovakian soldiers shooting themselves in the head, as the Nazis filled the church with tear gas. Bullet holes still pockmark the walls of the church today. (source: The Telegraph)
Hollywood vs. reality
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