Legends

Pilsen angel for good luck

Pilsen angel for good luck

An angel that is supposed to bring good luck if touched is one of the phenomena of the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew at the Pilsen city square. People longing for granted luck effects on human destiny are often willing to wait in long queues.

According to the legend, the angel started bringin luck on the day on which a Pilsen medieval executor was getting married. Such a person could not enter the wholy place, so he had to be substituted during the ceremony (by the altar only) by a friend of his.

While the bride and the substituting bridegroom were being married, the executioner was praying by the outer rear altar of the church. After having ended his prayers, rising to his feet, he incidentally touched the head of an angel forged on the bars of the church. The act of course had its witnesses - the Pilsen burgher ladies immediately spread the news and the legend came to existance. In medieval superstition, whatever subject touched by the executioner was immediately ascribed to having miraculous effects.

The legend about the miraculous angel soon widely spread in all the region. It keeps spreading in our modern times as well. You are welcome to come in person and have a try to ensure your future too ...

Pilsen angel for good luck

Zumbera and Smorabus

Zumbera and Smorabus

Zumbera and Smorabus are two figures appearing in Pilsen legends. The former is still well known because his statue can be seen on the front of the house neighboring with the town hall. The latter would have been forgotten if there had not been for the notes of Jaroslav Schiebl.

According to the narration of a 90-year-old woman recorded by Ladislav Labek, Zumbera was a marauding knight. He resided in a castle near Litice. Together with Peda of Pecihradek and Radous of Radyne, they formed a trio of feared outlaws. But the reality could have been different. Zumbera could have been the symbol of market order as well, no one is able to tell now. On old photographs, Zumbera’s statue can be seen on the column of a fountain situated in the North-East corner of the square. The fountain had a special significance for medieval Pilseners:

Every true Pilsen citizen was baptized with Zumbera’s water until the removal of the fountains from the square. The baptismal water in the vestry of the parsonage church was taken from the Zumbera fountain. It was due to its being the closest of all the four town fountains. The brass baptismal jug with which Pilseners were being baptized has been preserved in the Ethnographic museum.

The figure of Smorabus is historically younger. The personality is not veiled with any secret: there was a real historically recorded person. Smorabus’s personality is connected with the Pilsen sharpshooters. The Smorabus figure and his social function is discussed and remembered in Schiebel’s book called the Burgher in Arms (Mestan ve zbroji).

A poor burgher lady Smuravi explained her opinion on the coming to existence of the name Smorabus. Her memories were recorded in 1882:

In earlier years, a corps servant was jumping in a funny way in front of the corps musical body, whenever the burgher sharpshooters marched out in the town. He was dressed as a harlequin with a beater in his hand. During shooting at a target, Smorabus pointed at the target with his beater, showing thus the place of the hit. Whatever name the person had, in Pilsen, he was always called simply Smorabus. Such a „title“ came to existence in the following way: more than 200 years ago, there lived in Pilsen, a wealthy and respected family of Smuravi. Members of the family were aldermen, some, in their turn, became mayors. As the time passed by, the Smuravi became poor as a result of various coincidences. One of the family was therefore made to accept the post of the sharpshooters‘ corps servant. He became known for his merry dance creations in front of the music band. The public later mangled his name, turning it into Smorabus. Such a „title“ was then attributed to all these military servants.


The Golden Book of Pilsen Legends by Vladimir Havlic was published by the publishing house Vesely in 1995. The book was written at the base of Schiebl’s collection Pilsen in Tale, Legend, Tradition, and Wit. The book by Vladimir Havlic was published with the financial support of Ceska sporitelna, a.s., Pilsen dept., at the occasion of the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of foundation of Pilsen.

About the Foundation of New Pilsen

About the Foundation of New Pilsen

The burghers of Old Plzen were trying to find out how to enlarge their town, now called Plzenec.

When Schiebl was collecting legends about the foundation of New Pilsen, he found a rare manuscript by Kaspar Ladislav Stehlik /1571-1611/ in the archives of the National Museum in Prague. The manuscript contained a written entry based on the narration of a Pilsen burgher Jakub Stehlik, born in 1480. He used to hear about the foundation of New Pilsen from his father Bartholomew and from his grandmother Marketa. Before the old man died in the age of 105 in 1585, Kaspar Ladislav Stehlik recorded his narration in the following words:

The burghers of Old Plzen were trying to find out how to enlarge their town, now called Plzenec. It was not easy because the place is situated among hills and numerous other protrusions. There was therefore no solution for making the town bigger and the burghers stopped their attempts.

Later on, two wanderers were imprisoned in the town, be it for whatever reason. The men asked for an audience with the town elders. They told them they knew a place which would be convenient for establishing a new town. The Old Pilseners agreed and let the two men tied in chains lead them to the place. The journey took the travelers to a small church of St. Barbara. Not too far from there, there was a pub by a road (nowadays the house in Zbrojnicka 115).

When the company reached the place, the two prisoners talked up to the Pilseners. They told them to found a town there. They also foretold its great fame and reputation. Many nations would know the town and the Lord would always protect the good mores of its citizens, they promised. At these words, the prisoners disappeared leaving no trace, not even the chains.

People of the area spread the news and started building the town in only few days.

The place was covered with woods, bushes and alders, here and there, rocks showed on the ground surface.

They called the town New Pilsen and Old Pilsen became called Plzenec. It is also said that the name is due to a great population of slugs on the place where the new town was established. The slugs were also numerous in Old Plzen and at the court of Radous. (slug = plz in Czech).


The Golden Book of Pilsen Legends by Vladimir Havlic was published by the publishing house Vesely in 1995. The book was written at the base of Schiebl’s collection Pilsen in Tale, Legend, Tradition, and Wit. The book by Vladimir Havlic was published with the financial support of Ceska sporitelna, a.s., Pilsen dept., at the occasion of the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of foundation of Pilsen.

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden

Medieval executioners and their helpers worked using the town torture chamber and a pillory.

Iron Maiden Medieval executioners and their helpers worked using the town torture chamber and a pillory. Those delinquents that ended on display on the pillory with only broken legs and arms, were lucky. The way from the gallows led directly to the cemetery otherwise. As long as the cemetery wall neighbored with the cathedral on the Pilsen square, there was said to be an iron circle attached to the wall. It was situated on the right, next to the main entrance to the cathedral. The circle could easily clasp the neck of a delinquent. The person was thus made to stand there for a certain amount of time, measured by the town council.

The most cruel tool of the Pilsen torture chamber was the iron maiden. It was ordered by the Pilseners as a copy of the Norimberk original. According to the witness of the last Pilsen town hall keeper from the year 1878, there was once a man killed when tortured inside the iron maiden. Later, it came out that the victim had been innocent. The news reached the Czech king who immediately ordered the iron maiden to be destroyed. The order was executed instantly.

There is a certain coincidence of the story with a record from 1874. It reads that a man dressed in black clothes was haunting the house in Sedlackova 251. He kept appearing at midnight and disappeared with the strike of the first morning hour. Old Pilsen citizens of the period could remember that the man used to be a mayor of Pilsen. Once he had had an innocent girl tortured to death, therefore he could not rest in peace in his grave after he died. The spell could only be broken if a male descendant of the dead girl’s family became a priest and served a mass for the salvation of the black man’s soul.

It seems that the condition was fulfilled because the haunting man stopped appearing with time.

The last town hall keeper witnessed and recorded in following words the disappearance of torturing tools that took place at the turning of the 1850 and 1860s. In the old town storehouse, in which ancient torturing tools were kept, an unshapely cradle was also found. It was unusually huge. Its purpose was rather curious: it was used whenever the town council found a man guilty of seduction of a young girl. As a punishment, the seducer was then exhibited in public in the cradle, placed on the right side of the town hall, by the pillory.

At the time of the mayor Wanka the tools from the torture chamber were purchased to an owner of a panorama. The cradle was chopped as a fuel.


The Golden Book of Pilsen Legends by Vladimir Havlic was published by the publishing house Vesely in 1995. The book was written at the base of Schiebl’s collection Pilsen in Tale, Legend, Tradition, and Wit. The book by Vladimir Havlic was published with the financial support of Ceska sporitelna, a.s., Pilsen dept., at the occasion of the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of foundation of Pilsen.

About New Pilsen Coat of Arms

About New Pilsen Coat of Arms

Legends have their right to differ in content from historical facts. Sometimes, even historians use the core of legends as a guide to the true analogy of historical events.

Two chroniclers, Tanner and Hruska, state that the white greyhound brach of Radous with golden collar was the oldest part of the town coat of arms. According to W. Widimsky, the brach was given to Pilsen officially by Premysl Otakar II. It happened in 1272 at the occassion of Pilsen promotion to the status of royal town.

The camel in the coat of arms is mentioned by Hilarius of Litomerice. He writes: While Pilsen was besieged by the Sirotci in 1433, Pilsen citizens captured a camel in the enemy’s camp during a raid. They brought the animal into the town with a great pleasure. The Sirotci offered a lot of money and an imprisoned notable Pilsener in exchange for the camel. The burghers refused and later gave the camel as a gift to the Norimbergers who had supported the town in various ways during the besiege.

The keys are officially recorded as a gift from the pope Paul II. Among numerous an explication by various renowned historians, there also figure a simple statement by a common school janitor Beringer. It dates from 1868:

It was at the time of the besiege of Pilsen by the Taborites and the Sirotci. During the fights, mayor’s daughter often appeared on the battlements. She was very beautiful and of a well-built figure. Her appearance and courage supported the town defenders with great bravery. When the enemy finally took off and left, she was also said to have her share in the success. To commemorate the event, the pope gave the Pilseners the figure of an angel, the porter of the shield. It is so because the figure of a wonderful girl on the battlements was said to be an apparition of an angel sent from the heaven to help defend the town. She was thus spreading fear in the enemy camp.


The Golden Book of Pilsen Legends by Vladimir Havlic was published by the publishing house Vesely in 1995. The book was written at the base of Schiebl’s collection Pilsen in Tale, Legend, Tradition, and Wit. The book by Vladimir Havlic was published with the financial support of Ceska sporitelna, a.s., Pilsen dept., at the occasion of the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of foundation of Pilsen.

Why Beautiful Maidens Are Born in Krimice

Why Beautiful Maidens Are Born in Krimice

The count of Lobkovic, owner of the Krimice domain, had inherited these lands from the count of Vrtba. At lunchtime, he liked to invite guests to keep him company. Often, these were neighboring farmers or the Krimice parish priest. They liked chatting together very much.

Once the priest came over for lunch again. As they were leading interesting discussions, the count incidentally mentioned that he could not understand why so few beautiful maidens were born in Krimice. Why was it so, he exclaimed, if the girls of the Pilsen region were renowned for their beauty! Just those born in Krimice were exceptional in this regard.

The friar had already thought for a long time that the chapel in the Krimice chateau would be nicer if decorated with a nice picture of the Virgin Mary. He had wanted to make the count donate the picture as a matter of fact.

Therefore, the friar immediately grasped his chance.

He answered quickly that the female population of Krimice would immediately grow nicer if they had always something beautiful in front of their eyes. Perhaps a nice picture could help. By watching the depicted beauty, traits of all the ladies would embellish.

The count needed a while to think the idea over. Then he agreed that the friar could be right. He therefore bought a picture of the Virgin, the face of which radiates an exceptional beauty.

Since that time, the maidens born in Krimice have, together with the Outusice girls, the reputation of being the most beautiful of all the Pilsen region.


The Golden Book of Pilsen Legends by Vladimir Havlic was published by the publishing house Vesely in 1995. The book was written at the base of Schiebl’s collection Pilsen in Tale, Legend, Tradition, and Wit. The book by Vladimir Havlic was published with the financial support of Ceska sporitelna, a.s., Pilsen dept., at the occasion of the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of foundation of Pilsen.

Pilsen Alchemists

Pilsen Alchemists

The days of Rudolph II made famous both Prague and other Czech towns. Some are still known in connection with names of artists, scientists and charlatans. The golden age of alchemy characteristic with its looking for the philosophers’ stone and artificial production of precious metals had its representative figures in Pilsen too.

In Rudolph’s time, alchemy spread in the Czech lands, namely the attempts to produce gold are remembered. According to ancient traditions, one member of the Stehlik and Treustatt family of Cenkov was an excellent practitioner of astronomy and astrology. He is said to have been in frequent touch with the renowned astronomer Tychon de Brahe. At the invitation of Stehlik, the master visited Pilsen several times.

The Pilsener had, according to the same tradition, his own observatory in Saska street. There, he also established a gold-producing kitchen, in which he performed several attempts to produce gold. A certain alchemist called Skot from Prague made him try it. (Could that be the very Alessandro Scotto who came to Prague on August 14, 1590?) Stehlik’s experiments failed and he found out the Prague alchemist had tricked him.

Another Pilsen alchemist lived in the Rihovsky house that used to stand at the corner of nowaday’s Presovska street and the square of the Republic. The school keeper Beringer, whose father, a hat maker, used to live in the house all his life, remembered his father’s narration about a mysterious alchemy workroom. The same evidence was witnessed by a toy maker who had his shop in the house: Many years ago, a man came to the town – god only knows from where – and established himself in the Rihovsky house. He married a rich burgher daughter, who died soon after.

He then lived alone as an odd bird. He shared his huge flat with his old servant only and never called visitors in.

He was brewing and preparing medicaments for the poor. But he was also said to keep attempting to produce gold. People thought he was helped by the devil, to whom he had sold his soul. One day, the servant came to the town hall to announce his master was dead. He had found him lying in the work room, strangled, with a strange line across his neck. The line was as if made by fire. The authorities sent a doctor, a scribe, and a catchpole to witness the matter. Indeed, they found the alchemist dead, exactly as the servant had announced. There were many strange jars on the worktable, one of which did contain pure gold. But treasures vividly talked about among the Pilsen citizens were not found anywhere. The servant was called to witness at the town hall. He said that his master had often spent his nights in the cellar, where he should not have been disturbed by anyone. Often, he carried packets to the cellar with him. He was the only one who had had the keys from the work room.

After the death of the man, his relatives had the cellar examined in search for the treasure. And indeed, they discovered a nook in the wall, in which a coffer was built in. It contained pieces of pure gold, which the family members divided among themselves.


The Golden Book of Pilsen Legends by Vladimir Havlic was published by the publishing house Vesely in 1995. The book was written at the base of Schiebl’s collection Pilsen in Tale, Legend, Tradition, and Wit. The book by Vladimir Havlic was published with the financial support of Ceska sporitelna, a.s., Pilsen dept., at the occasion of the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of foundation of Pilsen.