The Bethlehem Chapel is a historical replica of one of the most notable religious buildings in Prague. It is located in Prague’s Old Town, just a 7-minute walk from the Old Town Square. Shortly after its completion in 1394, it was the largest gathering place with a capacity of up to 3,000 people. From its very beginning, the chapel was designed as a place for preaching in the Czech language. The sermons contained ideas that had been previously only the subject of academic discussions at Charles University. In 1402, Roman Catholic priest Jan Hus, one of the first reformers of the Catholic Church, began to preach regularly at the chapel. The Bethlehem Chapel, which is dedicated to the memory of the Bethlehem infants, was then used for different purposes. However, in the 18th century, it had to be demolished due to its poor condition and a new house was built on the site. In 1948, the government decided to restore the building using the preserved engravings of the chapel. It was finished in 1954 according to the design by architect Jaroslav Fragner.
USEFUL INFORMATION FOR VISITORS
Address: Betlémské náměstí 255/4
GPS coordinates: 50.0843447N, 14.4174811E
PUBLIC TRANSPORT CONNECTIONS
The closest public transport stops near the Bethlehem Chapel:
- Můstek metro station (Line B – yellow line)
- Karlovy lázně tram stop
- Národní divadlo tram stop
OPENING HOURS AND ADMISSION
For up-to-date information about the opening hours of the Bethlehem Chapel, visit the official website.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BETHLEHEM CHAPEL
In 1993, the Bethlehem Chapel started to be used as a ceremonial hall for the Czech Technical University, as part of an old university tradition. The building has an irregular shape in order to accommodate as many people as possible. From its beginning, it was surrounded by other buildings. A cemetery and a church used to stand just two metres away from the current chapel’s façade. The interior is minimalist. There are fragmentary inscriptions preserved on the walls from Jan Hus’s time. Later, during the renovation, the inscriptions were enriched by wall paintings with motifs from the Jena Code, the Velislaus Bible and other manuscripts. The following original architectonical features have been preserved: the stone entrance door of the sanctuary, the portals of the preacher’s house and two Gothic rectangular cross-windows. During the reconstruction works, the Bethlehem Chapel underwent several repairs – the well was restored and the wooden pulpit, Kříž’s Oratory and the singers’ gallery were elevated.
BETHLEHEM CHAPEL AND NEARBY HISTORICAL SIGHTS
When visiting the Bethlehem Chapel, there are plenty of other interesting sights nearby to explore, including the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures, the National Theatre, the Lego Museum, the former Church of St Anne (Prague Crossroads Centre), the Žofín Palace, the Mánes Building, the Church of St Jiljí, the Old Town Square and many others.