Bila Hora, Tram 22 and White Crosses Old Town Square

Tram 22 is a very convenient tram as it passes many sights in Prague centre, an excursion tram at the price of a public transport ticket. The route runs from Nadrazi Hostivar in south-east Prague via the city centre to Bila Hora in north-west Prague and with 38 stops it is one of the longest routes and covers 21 kilometres in just over an hour. Bila Hora means white mountain. A mountain in Prague requires further investigation. At 380m, the White Mountain is one of the highest places in the city and it was named after the white/yellowish colour of the marl that was mined here.

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Bila Hora: the Hill

At the Bila Hora tram terminus, walk north, past Maria Victoria Church, to the White Mountain, a barren grassy hill surrounded by high-rise buildings in the distance. At the top of the hill is a monument commemorating the Battle of the White Mountain on 8 November 1620, the first major battle of the Thirty Years’ War. The Catholic Emperor Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, put an end to the Protestant revolt in Bohemia.

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The Battle of the White Mountain at Bila Hora

On 8 November 1620, the Imperial army moved towards Prague, an army made up of experienced fighters. Since the Bohemians were outnumbered and no match for the superior Imperial army, the battle lasted no more than an hour. Fighters on the Bohemian side soon retreated without actually fighting. The Bohemians lost about 4,000 men, the Imperial army about 800.
Many of the Bohemian nobles who survived the battle were tried and 27 were sentenced to death. The rest of the Bohemian nobility were exiled and their property confiscated. Bohemian citizens had a choice: convert to Catholicism or leave the country. Most of them left. Those who remained were forced to speak German from then on. The Czech language disappeared from public life and could only be heard in Czechs’ homes.

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Old Town Square and 27 Crosses

On Old Town Square near the wall of the town hall there are 27 white crosses in the pavement, in memory of the 27 nobles who were sentenced to death. Legend has it that the ghosts of these noblemen return every year on 21 June, the day of the execution.

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Battle of the White Mountain by Flemish painter Peter Snayers (1592-1667) famous for his works giving a bird’s-eye view of battlefields.

Hvezda Park and the Summer Palace

Take tram 22 and get off at the Vypich stop to go to Obora Hvezda. This is a large park with many trees and in the centre the hexagonal summer palace that Emperor Ferdinand II had built for his mistress. The palace houses a permanent exhibition charting the Battle of the White Mountain. More about Hvezda park and the palace.

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Brevnov Monastery and Brewery

Continue on tram 22 and get off at the Brevnovsky klaster stop. Here you will not only find a monastery and a park, but also a microbrewery and a restaurant. This Benedictine monastery was founded in the tenth century, but the buildings date from the eighteenth century.
Entrance to the monastery complex is free and you can walk in the gardens. Guided tours of the Brevnov Monastery are on Saturdays and Sundays (not free) and include a visit to the Baroque Church of St. Margaret, the Romanesque crypt and the Prelate’s residence.
The monastery also runs a traditional Czech restaurant with beer garden in summer serving beer from its own microbrewery, Břevnovský Benedict beer.

Photos Marianne Crone and wiki commons (Peter Snayers’ painting)

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