The mystical, surreal and gruesome history of Prague is revealed in a new book.
British author and journalist Paul Christian’s ‘Dark Secrets of Central Europe: A Tale of Three Cities’ starts with some of the sinister and blood-spattered history of Prague, before moving on to Vienna and Budapest.
The book represents a journey Paul took alongside two companions in 2019 when, as well as travelling across the continent, they travelled back in time to the dark and terrifying history of the titular three cities.
In Prague, Paul went in search of the mythical Golem allegedly summoned into being by Rabbi Loew. He also delved into the tragic and murderous story of the lovelorn Iron Knight and the city’s repeated incidents of defenestration.
Other dark ghostly and mysterious tales and all-to-real horrors, such as the brutal Old Town Square executions, also make an appearance, as does the legendary Perak the spring man.
The book also reveals how Prague’s strange and arcane pagan past is there to be seen, just beneath the surface.
Paul said: “Prague, Vienna and Budapest and the countries they are the capitals of represent a bubbling cauldron of ideas and beliefs. From obscure Christian sects and mainstream fundamentalists, to Talmudic mysticism, Islamic invasion and the ever-present hidden hand of paganism, this region is where east meets west. And the panoply of human existence and interaction has played out, often in gruesome fashion.
“Influenced by polities close by such as the Holy Roman Empire, German states and France and those further afield from Spain, to Iran and India, Central Europe is where synthesis has taken place. Both a wall and bridge for vastly different cultures.
“This volume came about after an odyssey to these three cities and the surrounding areas and explores the contradictions and curiosities of these iconic places. The journey takes in vampires, ghosts, brutal killings, war and plague. As well as magic, folklore and religion.”
The book is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08GG2RR6H