Golem Prague - Legend
Legend of Prague Golem
The story of Golem is one of the darkest and most fascinating Prague legends! Golem was an immortal humanoid created by the most famous rabbi from the history of Prague Jewish Quarter, Judah Loew ben Bezalel. Rabbi went to the riverbank, made the beast out of clay and stones, and brought him to live by putting ancient scriptures in his mouth. Golem listened to the commands of its creator up until a fatal mistake. Rabbi Loew had to put Golem to sleep every sabbath's eve, but one day he forgot to do that, and Golem went berserk. Fearing the destruction of the Jewish Quarter, Rabbi "deactivated" Golem and providently locked him up in the attic of the Old-New Synagogue. Since then nobody is allowed to visit this place! Rumor has it that numerous gapers never found their way out of that attic.
Fun facts about Golem
- Golem means "dumb" or "helpless" in the Modern Hebrew language.
- The word Golem is mentioned in the Bible in Psalm 139:16, which uses the word "golmi" or "raw material" describing the unfinished human being before God's eyes.
- In Talmud, Adam is a prototype of Golem, because he is also created from mud.
- Prague Rabbi Loew and his Golem were mentioned in Niel Gaiman's novel American Gods: "Small, dark-bearded man with a dusty black derby on his head, curling payees at his temples" walks ahead of his companion, "who was twice his height and was the blank gray color of good Polish clay: the word inscribed on his forehead meant truth."
- Golem was also mentioned in Marvel Comics, first in #134 of the second series of The Incredible Hulk, then in issue #174 of Strange Tales in 1974.
- Pokemons Golett and Golurk were inspired by Prague Golem.
Is Prague Golem in the attic?
Yes, the legend has it that the Golem of Prague was stored in the attic of the Old-New Synagogue, in the Josefov Quarter.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a famous Prague journalist Egon Erwin Kisch has entered the attic, to investigate whether Golem is really there or not. His description says: "The attic was dark and dusty. On the ground in the corner was a pile of bricks, one dead bird, that died here alone, and below the rooftop, a bat was hanging, which he has never seen to hang below a rooftop like that."
So was Golem really in the attic?
Another legend continues that a group of three men once decided to steal Golem and in the cellar of their house they tried to revive it. And even later another story describes that Golem was moved in a coffin outside of the Jewish Quarter to a cemetery located today at the foot of Zizkov TV Tower.
I guess we won't be able to prove the existence of Golem and maybe that's how it's supposed to be and Golem will stay what it always was: a Legend.
Our Local Guide Tip
- Stop by the toy store Hamley's on Na Prikope street to have a look at the giant statue of Golem!
See more of our Prague Travel Tips.
Author: Valeriia Zahradnikova and Vaclav Zahradnik, Prague guides certified by Prague City Tourism agency. Valeriia and Vaclav have worked in tourism for over 6 years and have guided thousands of Prague visitors.