Prague is a city soaked in history both known and unknown. Its shadowy side brought to light in haunting displays at The Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague, which looks at some of the famous practitioners of the dark arts that have called the city home.
The Museum of Alchemists is located near Prague Castle, in the House at the Donkey in the Cradle. It is where the alchemist Edward Kelley lived. The exhibition pulls aside the veil of mystery surrounding the world of Rudolf II, as well as other alchemists. This also includes the world of Doctor Faustus and the magician Žit among others. In the basement of the Museum of Alchemists is a laboratory with an interactive demonstration of alchemical cauldrons.
As a king of much of Eastern Europe and eventually Holy Roman Emperor during the 16th century, Rudolf II is widely remembered for his deep interest and patronage of the occult arts. In his reign, he turned Prague into the unofficial capital of the dark arts. He funded several alchemists and other so-called sorcerers, most notably the likes of Edward Kelley and John Dee.
Rudolf created possibly the most active period of occult practice in history. Whether his patrons were simply charlatans wrapped in mystery, or bold semi-scientists, the legacy of these magicians and madmen is recalled with a festival flair at the Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague.
With two levels of displays and tableaus, the Museum of Alchemists' exhibits trace the history of Rudolf's alchemists in the city. The main floor has showcases and replica artifacts of the occult along with fantastical scenes. The second floor of the Museum of Alchemists, notes Atlas Oscura, is believed to be the actual tower where the real Kelley executed his obscure experiments, is decorated out like an alchemist's lab. It contains all aged scrolls and stacked grimoires, a half-finished homunculus, the eventual alchemical achievement.
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