Prague, the City of a Hundred Spires, the historical capital of Bohemia, the largest city in the Czech Republic; it’s known for its towering buildings, vibrant culture, and immensely intricate history. Perhaps you haven’t heard, but Prague is also a hot-spot for dozens of spectacularly weird things, too. In fact, you can fill multiple days up in this bustling city just by focusing on weird locations, alone. So, naturally, when I visited Prague, that’s exactly what I did! From museums dedicated to the strange and unusual to creatively interesting installations, here are the most spectacularly weird things to do in Prague.
Museum of Alchemists of Old Prague
If you’re looking for elaborate and wild displays of strange art, a bit of history and mystery, and some really fun legends, look no further than the Museum of Alchemists of Old Prague. This wild museum covers many of the stories of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor during the 16th century, and the alchemists he funded throughout his time. Most notably, he patronized Edward Kelley, historically one of the most famous alchemists, and supposedly the tower found in the museum was actually Edward Kelley’s workplace.
After entering in and seeing a wildly dramatic staged scene showing a human sacrifice and getting to read many fun tales of alchemy, your guide will take you up the winding stairs of the building, built in sixteenth century (and boy, were they- very steep, narrow, and difficult to walk on) into the attic where Kelley supposedly worked. The museum is part show, part fun tale, and part educational as they cover astronomy, the creation of homunculi, and many other fun experiments the alchemists did as they attempted to turn the elements into gold. If you’re looking for spectacle, showmanship, and some well-done art, this is the place for you!
Museum of Ghosts and Legends of Prague
Right before you cross over the Charles Bridge, on the side of Prague Castle, you will find the Museum of Ghosts and Legends of Prague tucked away in a small storefront. But don’t let this storefront fool you. This cute little museum is worth the visit if you are a fan of ghost stories. You can download an app to follow along in your desired language, and each fun piece of art within the museum or dramatic scene has a story to accompany it. As you walk through and hear the haunting tales, eventually you go down under the city into an old creepy street setting, complete with a collection of old gravestones. Follow the winding trail around until you get free back onto the busy streets of Prague.
Overall, the museum is basically a bunch of ghost stories you listen to, but it’s definitely worth the visit for paranormal enthusiasts, and you can listen to as many tales as you want or get through at a quicker pace if you so desire. I rather liked that you could set your own pace for this one, and it was a lot of fun, albeit gimmicky.
The Paternoster Lift of Prague City Hall
A Paternoster lift is more or less a thing of the past, but there are a few out there, and when you find one, it’s really more exciting than it probably should be. A paternoster lift is a continuous elevator that never stops moving. It has enough space for a single person to step on at the right moment and jump off when they get back to the floor they were looking for. Perhaps, the most exciting part is where it moves tracks at the top and bottom, briefly going sideways. In Prague, you can find one of these infamous lifts in the back of City Hall, and it’s very exciting. When you enter in the main entrance of city hall, veer to the right and all the way down the hall on the level you entered into. At the back of this hallway (when you turn immediately to the left at the end of it), you’ll find the lift. Thanks to social media popularity, this lift has been in and out of service for several years. It was re-opened to the public in September of 2018 before going out of service again in June 2023, supposedly to make a political statement. Right now, it is not functional as of August 2023, and no one knows whether or not it plans to open again currently.
The Astronomical Clock
The Prague astronomical clock is a clock in the Old Town Hall in Prague that chimes every hour on the hour like, well, actual clockwork. This medieval clock was first built in 1410, making it the oldest working clock still in operation today. The clock mechanism shows an astronomical dial and calendar dial, and every hour the statues of various Catholic Saints and a skeleton representing Death come out for a show and strike the time. According to legends, the city of Prague will suffer if the clock isn’t in good working order, so it remains fully function despite its old age.
Museum of Sex Machines
The Sex Machines Museum is a museum showcasing a collection of sex devices in the Old Town Square of Prague. I will say, it’s quite scandalous, showing an array of old dildos and sexual devices used throughout the centuries. From old-time sex chairs to Victorian dildos where a woman could put a photo of her lover on to mechanical wind-up sexual scenes (that almost look like pornographic dollhouses), this is a very interesting trip for those willing to learn about the history of sex toys.
The Idiom Installation is a giant cylinder-shaped tower of stacked books, an extremely popular art instillation inside the Prague Municipal Library. You can spot this ‘never-ending’ tower of books from the entrance of the library, but note that there is generally a line of people lining up to experience this installation. Expect a line out the door and a twenty- or thirty-minute wait to see it depending on how fast the people in front of you are. This art installation consists of a tower of books with a hole in the center for you to peer in. With mirrors placed at the top and bottom, the book tower looks as if it goes on forever, casually cascading up into oblivion. The artist who designed this interesting piece is Matej Kren, a Slovakian artist who explores the themes of the infinite knowledge that comes from books.
Dripstone Wall of Faces
Found within the breathtaking gardens of the Senate of Czechia, built in between 1623 and 1630 as part of the Wallenstein Palace, you’ll find a strangely eerie and slightly beautiful Dripstone Wall made up of a cluster of stalactite-like rocks. Upon closer inspection, many of these rocks appear to have the faces of people and animals, looking creepily like dripping skulls. While that is most definitely weird and eerie enough, I have to say that I find it hard to believe that some of these faces weren’t originally actually animal faces, as I could clearly see the detailed face of a snake and a wolf upon part of the wall. There is a legend that the wall, itself, contains secret passages accessible only to those smart enough to discern its pattern and find the way in, though no one has yet to figure it out. Whether or not that’s true, it’s most definitely a fun mystery and a nice stop out of your day in Prague to take a seat back and enjoy the dripstone ‘faces’.
We won’t go too much into the details of the Strahov Monastery, but I will say that this abbey was founded in 1143 and is located in Strahov, Prague. Today, visitors can come to see the museum containing relics and artifacts of the old monastery as well as catch a glimpse of the amazingly beautiful library found within it. While the library most definitely steals the show and brings in the most visitors (thanks to social media), it is important to note that with general admission, you are not able to go inside the library. They are looking to maintain it and therefore, keep the visitors out, however, you can get a glimpse inside and be mesmerized by the unreal beauty it holds. I will say, it gives off some impressive ‘Beauty and the Beast’ vibes. I recommend, however, going into the actual monastery museum, too, as there is an impressive array of artifacts there.
While all the above locations can be found deep within Prague’s city, I will say that the Sedlec Ossuary is about an hour out from Prague, but it is most definitely worth the visit. One of the most popular tourist attractions in the Czech Republic, this Ossuary contains the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, most of which are artistically displayed in various formats around the ossuary. What makes Sedlec so sought-after is the way in which the bones are displayed which is much more unique than most ossuaries, with skulls draped around the ceiling like ribbons, adorned with headdresses made of bones, a chandelier made of bones, and there is even a coat of arms, specifically the Schwarzenberg coat of arms, made of bones. If you like the weird and macabre, this is definitely worth the visit. I will point out that photography has been forbidden in the ossuary, as it is a part of the church, and many visitors were taking inappropriate photos or dressing inappropriately to take photos within the property, so now photographs have been banned for everyone. So, if you’d like to take photos within, you have to get special permissions well in advance.
After spending close to a week in Prague, investigating all this wonderful, bustling city has to offer, I’m happy to offer these locations as the most spectacularly weird things to do in Prague. From the macabre ossuary of Sedlec to the intrigue of the Museum of Alchemists to the scandal of the Museum of Sex Machines, there is something weird for everyone in Prague, and I most definitely can’t wait to see more, as there are still so many wonderful mysteries to uncover there in all the weird things to do in Prague.