The bath can be easily overlooked if you don’t know about it. Visitors in Vyšehrad are more likely to admire the charming views of Prague. But if you look just a little further down the rock from the Vyšehrad Tunnel at the walls of the Gothic Cellar, you will see the ruins of what was once, according to legend, Libuše’s Bath, on a rocky outcrop under the former palace.
Memorable fortune teller
Princess Libuše needs no introduction. It is well known that she was one of Czech Duke Krok’s three daughters, who took over the government after her father. She was wise, beautiful, and most significantly, she could predict the future.
She summoned Přemysl the Plowman to the throne and laid the foundations for the ruling dynasty Přemyslids on Czech soil. Her prediction of Prague’s creation is equally remarkable, “I see a great city, whose glory will touch the stars”.
Her art of fortune-telling made her a recognised authority. She largely participated in tribal leaders’ most important decisions and the management of the entire tribe.
Bathe first, then die
Libuše is also said to have loved and played with men. According to legend, she indulged in these pleasures at the bath on Vyšehrad Rock.
Reportedly, she regularly bathed with her young lovers (it is said that water was brought to the baths in buckets and then emptied through a hatch). When the youngsters stopped entertaining her, Libuše simply opened the hatch at the bottom of the bath and let them fall to their death.
Bath or bastion?
Who knows what is history and what is mere legend. Libuše’s life story was first described by the chronicler Cosmas of Prague in the early 12th century. The ruin, now called Libuše’s Bath, dates from the turn of 14th and 15th centuries.
According to experts, this hard-to-access Gothic building was once a bastion for the inspection of water traffic and may have also been used for carrying cargo from ships to the castle.
Either way, it is a breath-taking piece of history.