Bethlehem Chapel

Prague, Czech Republic

The Bethlehem Chapel is a medieval religious building in the Old Town of Prague, notable for its connection with the origins of the Bohemian Reformation, especially with the Czech reformer Jan Hus.

It was founded in 1391 by Wenceslas Kriz and John of Milheim, and taught solely in the Czech vernacular, thus breaking with German domination of the Medieval Bohemian church. The building was never officially called a church, only a chapel, though it could contain 3,000 people; indeed, the chapel encroached upon the parish of Sts. Philip and James, and John of Milheim paid the pastor of that church 90 grossi as compensation. Hus became a rector and a preacher in March 1402. After Hus's excommunication in 1412, the Pope ordered the Bethlehem chapel to be pulled down, although this action was rejected by the Czech majority on the Old Town council. After Hus's death, he was succeeded by Jacob of Mies.

In the 17th century, the building was acquired by the Jesuits. It fell into disrepair and in 1786 it was demolished; in 1836–1837 an apartment building was built in its place. Under the Czechoslovakian communist regime the building was restored by the government to its state at the time of Hus. Most of the chapel's exterior walls and a small portion of the pulpit date back to the medieval chapel. The wall paintings are largely from Hus's time there, and the text below is taken from his work De sex erroribus, and contrast the poverty of Christ with the riches of the Catholic Church of Hus's time.



Your name


Founded: 1391
Category: Religious sites in Czech Republic

More Information


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Naomie Kouamela (3 years ago)
Really beautiful chapel
Simon Watt (3 years ago)
A good place to chill for half an hour. The history of the place I genuinely found interesting and informative.
Vlad Kleshnev (3 years ago)
Unfortunately the English information stands, while much appreciated, are simply literal word translations from Czech (presumably using an automatic service like Google translate). This means that they are hard to read and the meanings hard to grasp. Otherwise interesting building :)
Lucy_ M (3 years ago)
Entry cost 30 crowns (£1) as a student and the guide was so lovely. She gave us sheets to read spoke a little and then left us to walk around and enjoy. Upstairs is worth a visit too and you can leave a comment in the guestbook. Worth a visit but you don't need too long 20mins was good for us. Just note they won't let you in half an hour before closing.
Andre Marc (4 years ago)
Remember what the Czech nation achieved in past. Czech martyr Jan Hus that preached here 6 centuries ago was one of the best men not only born to our nation but all around the world. His followers wrote down first Bill of rights and freedoms more than 3centuries earlier than the French thinkers. They also were ready to die protecting it and showed valour by defeating 4 crusades deployed by Vatican and Germans to "correct" the Czech rebels that lived their own way of belief based on justice, equality, freedom and demonetized church.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick.