Third Payment. "Magic Prague" a one week guided tour of the city of alchemy and enchantment. April 18-25th, 2018. THIRD payment for SINGLE room occupancy.
April 18-25, 2018. THIRD payment for SINGLE room occupancy. If you wish to make a payment on a DOUBLE room, you can do so here.
Prague is steeped in esoteric history, from its mythical foundation by Libuse, a queen of reputedly Elfin descent, to its time as the major centre of alchemy in Europe under Emperor Rudolf II. A home to secret societies of magicians from the 17th century onwards, it's where the golem was created and where, it's said, there is one of the last functioning Gates to Hell (which we may avoid!) Beautiful and mysterious, the Magic City is, quite simply, enchanting.
Cards from the Tarot of Prague showing the art and architecture they were based on.
In 2016, Baba Studio hosted its first tour of 'Magic Prague". This was wildly successful and much enjoyed by all who took part. We repeated the tour, including an extra night, in 2017 and it also went really well - with participants enjoying the extra time to explore in the city.
When I seek another word for mystery, the only word I can find is Prague. She is dark and melancholy as a comet; her beauty is like the sensation of fire.
― Angelo Maria Ripellino, Magic Prague.
Please note that the price is for single room occupancy and that we have slightly limited single room availability this year. Please see our separate listing if you wish to book a double room.
At the "Ghost Church" in Lukova.
We begin on Wednesday 18th April, when we will assemble in the old medieval "Mala Strana" quarter of Prague for a meet and greet. We'll then spend a week together, exploring the magical history and myth of this astonishing city and region. The tour ends on the following Wednesday, but as Prague is very centrally located in Europe, some of you may choose to stay on in Prague (the hotel can arrange extended stays) or visit other countries independently. Many wonderful locations are quite close!
The ravings of alchemists, birthday horoscopy, the elixir of life and the philosopher's stone, Tycho Brahe and Kepler, the Golden Lane, the animal and vegetable physiognomies of Arcimboldo, Rabbi Loew and his homunculus Gole, the fearful, misshapen Ghetto, the old Jewish Cemetery and the Emperor's Kunstkammer - these are the images, the components of that bewitched kaleidoscope we call Rudolfine Prague.
― Angelo Maria Ripellino, Magic Prague.
Swans on the river in Prague, with Charles Bridge in the background.
The week is specially designed to focus on the incredible history of alchemy, prophecy and magic that infuses the history of Prague. We lived here from 2001 until 2016 and want to be able to share our love of the city widely so the tour will be the best value for money and as all-inclusive as we can make it.
Within the castle walls rose the spires of St Vitus cathedral, first constructed during the reign of Charles IV. On the Great South Tower Rudolf added his mark. At the top of the gilded lattice window a plaque was erected bearing a crowned “R” – the signature of the Emperor – surrounded by the emblem of the Order of the Golden Fleece, represented by a ram’s fleece with dangling head and legs. The Golden Fleece was associated with the Lamb of Christ but Rudolf would have been fully aware of its Hermetic symholism as the Philosopher’s Stone which the alchemist thoughout Europe were searching for.
― Peter Marshall. The Theatre of the World. Alchemy, Astrology and Magic in Renaissance Prague.
The astronomical clock in Old Town Square.
Topics to be covered will include:
- Libuse, Celtic queen and prophetess, who is the mythical founder of Prague.
- Emperor Rudolph II, his magicians and alchemists, and his "Cabinets of Curiosity".
- Dr John Dee, the notorious Edward Kelley and other alchemists of Prague.
Edward Kelley (Kelly) summons a “deceased person”.
- Rabbi Loew and the creation of the golem (who it is said still sleeps in the attic of the Old/New Synagogue).
- Prague mysteries, myths and legends.
- Haunted Prague, "Gothic" Prague—the dark sides of the city. To include stories of headless ghosts, flaming coaches and more!
- Esoteric Prague, secret societies, and local occultists.
- and of course... The Tarot of Prague and Baba Studio!
Old Prague door signs.
Prague. Praha. The name actually meant “threshold”. Pollina had said the city was a portal between the life of the good and … the other. A city of dark magic, Alessandro had called it.
― Magnus Flyte, City of Dark Magic
The tour will include:
- Seven-night stay in an atmospheric and charming old hotel in the centre of Prague. We will stay in a historic hotel in the most ancient area of Prague, so the magic is on your doorstep.
Please note. Price is for single occupancy. If you would like double occupancy, please use this link.
- All rooms are furnished in antiques and all have their own en-suite bathrooms (with showers - please contact us if you need a room with a tub as there are only two in this hotel).
- Breakfast and one other good-quality restaurant or pub meal (with choices) provided four days with "free choice" the other days.
- Tea and coffee provided free by the hotel. Other drinks available at very reasonable prices in a help-yourself "honour system" at the hotel.
- In-depth tours by qualified, knowledgeable local tour guides, with Baba Studio input.
- Limited numbers on each guided tour. We will supply two tour guides where necessary so that each tour is not more than 15 people and there is lots of opportunity for personal attention.
- Option, where possible, to choose "more walking" or "less walking" tours.
- Readings with The Tarot of Prague led by Karen Mahony. This is a unique way to connect to the city and your own personal magic.
- Some very special group photographs (we have plans!) by Alex Ukolov.
- Lots of fun stuff as well as more serious magical history and mythology. We want this to be a truly magical six days that will include café visits and some time for general shopping and sight-seeing.
- Optional visit to the first site of Baba Studio, where many of our decks were created.
- Some generous gifts chosen by Baba Studio!
Princess Libuse, prophesying from the cliffs of Vysehrad the glory of the future city that would reach to the stars... the triangular groundplan of the historic core of Prague, from a bird's eye view, really does recall the tripod of the prophetess. Old Prague sites on it among its seven hills like a sibyl. The imaginary circle in which the triangle of the city is inscribed may be considered its circle of magic protection.
― Milan Spurek Praga Mysteriosa
Trips, walking tours and entertainments will include*:
- Evening meet and greet in the old Mala Strana quarter of Prague. We will be near the original Baba Studio, which is in the heart of the area associated with alchemy.
- Day tour of the Castle area to include St Vitus Cathedral, the Royal Palace, Golden Lane (the street of the alchemists) and a visit to the house in which Madam de Thebes read fortunes with her cards in the 1930s.
- Visit to the Wallenstein Palace where Duke Albrecht von Wallenstein employed Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler to cast astrological charts. Viewing of the Mythological Ceiling and the bizarre Baroque dripstone wall (with Eagle Owl aviary).
- Walk over the medieval Charles Bridge to visit to the old Jewish quarter in Prague to include the Old/New Synagogue, the old Jewish cemetery in which Rabbi Loew is buried, and the story of the creation of the golem.
- An alchemical tour in Prague. Visit to Alchemiae "Underground" Museum and take refreshment at one of Prague's amazing cafes nearby.
- Day trip to Kutna Hora to visit the creepily amazing Bone Chapel at Sedlec and tour of this historical and magical town with its associations with alchemy. To include a meal at the gorgeous inn there, which features an alchemical menu and... a mermaid chandelier!
- Day trip to the atmospheric "Ghost Church" in north west Bohemia. This will also include a stop at Chyse Chateau, which has an interesting legend of alchemy and haunting!
- Special final dinner with some lovely opportunities for photographs.
The following possibilities are subject to availability:
- Evening performance in Prague of traditional folk music from the region from a fantastic band.
- Visit to the magical caves above Prague and a meeting with the esoteric artist who works there.
- Visit to the Black Light Theatre to see Myths of Old Prague (assuming it is available on the tour dates).
- Optional trip to the opera or ballet (this will depend on what is on and it will need to be booked in advance as tickets sell out fast). This will be at extra cost but ballet and opera here are huge bargains compared to most of Europe and the USA
OR - optional trip to an exhibition, depending on what's on at the time. Usually there is at least one exhibition running that has links to our magical themes. This will be at extra cost but exhibitions in Prague are usually at reasonable prices.
A white peacock at the Wallenstein Palace.
Old Prague was a story-book city caked in grime: ancient, soot-blackened. History lived in every detail: in the deerstalker rooftops and the blue-sparking trams. He wandered the streets in disbelief, photographing everything, images from Kafka crowding into his head.
― Philip Sington, Zoia's Gold
Is this a tarot tour?
No, it's a broader tour about magic in a wide sense. It will certainly include discussion of tarot and cartomancy, including antique decks from this region, Baba Studio's decks and of course The Tarot of Prague.
Will I get reward points on this purchase?
Yes! Once the tour is over it will be our pleasure to give you our normal points on the entire purchase. Just as a thank-you treat from us.
The points will be worth more than $100 and can be used to purchase anything you'd like on Baba Store.
Is it for occultists?
Not really. It's not intended to be very academic or heavy-going, though the information we give you will be carefully researched and the tours will be conducted by professional, knowledgeable guides. We won't be studying in-depth magical lore or history, but we will be discussing (and experiencing) this in an enjoyable way, and there will definitely be a chance to further your knowledge.
Can I just do part of the tour and arrange my own accommodation/meals etc?
We've organised the tour to be a group event and this has allowed us to negotiate fantastic deals and discounts with the hotel and with restaurants. If you would rather organise your own meals and accommodation that's fine, but please understand that you will still need to pay the full tour fee so that this remains good value for all participants.
Which hotel will I be staying at?
We have arranged to book the medieval Big Boot Hotel (it used to be the home of a cobbler!) in Mala Strana, very close to Prague Castle. It’s quirky, very charming and a great home for the tour:
It's only about 6-8 minutes walk to the Charles Bridge and about 8-10 minutes to the Castle, so the location is ideal.
It's extremely atmospheric and family run and works beautifully for us. The owners are unconventional and delightful and enjoy having our tour group staying there.
All rooms have a private bathroom with shower, though in the case of two rooms they share one bathroom (if you are planned to be in one of these we will contact you to okay this). One or two rooms only have a bathtub and we will try to assign those to people who particularly ask for this.
All rooms are furnished in antique furnishings and many have very interesting original artwork on the walls.
Some rooms have wonderful views and all have some interesting/quaint views as the hotel is surrounded by medieval and other historical buildings.
Simple hair-dryer and toiletries (shampoo, shower gel) are provided.
The hotel has LOTS of stairs, as it's old (pre 1669), so narrow and high. But if you have requested few stairs we will try to put you in a ground or first-floor room.
We will have exclusive use of our own cellar "clubroom". This is a wonderful, ancient room with stone vaulted walls and ceiling and we can use it formally for some meetings and informally throughout the tour if you would, for example, like somewhere to do tarot readings or have other small meetings.
The hotel is very used to guests who are vegetarian, vegan, gluten intolerant or have other dietary needs. But please do let us know in advance if you have special requirements.
Will I actually be able to use The Tarot of Prague? I don't have a deck.
We feel it will be important to actually use The Tarot of Prague while you are here. Using the deck in the city is a magical experience. We will therefore have copies of the 2016 edition of the deck available for use, and it will also be available for purchase at a special price.
What about cancellations, are they possible?
Until the end of 2017, we are happy to cancel and refund in full. After that period, we will not be able to refund. This is because we negotiate group booking discounts for the tour. Please do take out your own travel insurance against having to cancel for any reasons beyond your control. Thanks for your understanding.
What happens if the tour does not go ahead?
Cancellation looks unlikely as there seems to be a great deal of interest in this tour.
If we did have to cancel for any unforeseen reason, we will refund in full except for any PayPal or credit card fees that we can't recover. To make up for any fees that are non-recoverable, we will give credit on our shop.
Will tours be in English?
All our guides are fluent in English and the whole week's events will be in English or (in one or two cases) translated for you.
Will I be expected to tip?
Tips here are generally low. The individual tour guides would much appreciate a tip at the end of each day's tour but this is normally only about 300-500 crowns in total. So if each person (tours will be up to about 15 people) pays about 300-500 Czech crowns at the end of the whole tour, this would be appreciated. This is between $15 and $20 per person. It of course is optional and you are under no obligation to tip.
The organisers do not expect to be tipped.
* May be subject to change although if so, we will substitute an event that is, in our opinion, of equal interest.
The many bridges over the Vltava river in Prague.
Please read this carefully as it explains what we agree to provide and what you as a tour member agree to in return. This is important information. By booking and paying the non-refundable deposit or payment you acknowledge you have read, understood and agreed to be legally bound by these conditions.
Included in the price of this tour:
- Daily tours and events in English language with qualified local Czech guides and/or Karen Mahony or Alex Ukolov.
- All admission fees for planned events & places.
- Seven night's single occupancy hotel accommodation including buffet breakfast (double occupancy available at extra cost at this listing).
- One other good-quality restaurant or pub meal (with choices) provided four days with "free choice" the other days.
- Transportation to and from Kutna Hora on our Kutna Hora tour. This will be by comfortable coach.
- An optional Tarot of Prague group reading session with Karen Mahony. As there will not be time to read for everyone, this will be in the form of an informal demonstration.
- Membership of our special Facebook group leading up to the event.
- Some gifts chosen for you by Baba Studio.
Prague is constructed on the same principle as the human brain, full of winding ways, dark lanes, and gloomy arches, all of which may lead somewhere, or may not. Its topography continually misleads its inhabitants as the convolutions of the brain mislead the thoughts that dwell there.
― Marion Crawford, The Witch of Prague.
Not included in the price
- Travel to and from your home and Prague. You will need to arrange your own flights or other transport.
- Travel insurance. Please take out your own travel insurance for the trip.
- Transfer to and from the airport. However, the hotel will be happy to arrange this for you at a reasonable cost.
- Any extras at the hotel – for example if you choose to take drinks there or make phone calls or have laundry done via the hotel. Please pay any such charges the evening before departure. The hotel makes extremely reasonable charges for these extras.
- Any extras you order during meals (any drinks that aren’t included etc).
- Most coffee, tea snacks and so on if we stop for refreshments during our tours. We will do our best to choose value-for-money cafés for such stops, but you will usually be responsible for your own bill.
- Admission for any optional events (there may be time for one or two optional evening events, such as ballet or opera).
The health services in Prague are generally very good and many doctors speak English, but you may be charged for any medical treatment required while you are here. However, normally such charges are considerably lower than they would be in, for example, the USA.
Please do take out travel insurance and/or if you are a European Union citizen, please check what documents you may need to bring to get free or reduced cost medical care should you need it.
Please let us know in advance if you have any physical or psychological medical conditions that could cause problems when you are here. In particular, please inform us of any dietery allergies, and/or allergies to environmental items such as feathers or anything else that might effect your health and comfort when you’re in Prague. All such information will be treated in confidence and will not be disclosed to anyone else without your permission.
Co-operation and social interaction and behaviour
We expect everyone to have a great time and to make new friends. However, in the rare instance of someone behaving in a way that impacts on the comfort or safety of others on the tour, we reserve the right to remove them from the tour, without complaint or claim against us. This will normally only be done after discussion to see if there is any other way to resolve the issue.
After December 2017, payments for this tour are non-refundable except if the tour is cancelled by us.
To make this tour excellent value for money, we’ve negotiated several group discounts for hotels, tours and meals.
This means that we won’t be able to refund any payments made, unless you cancel before the end of December 2017. Please do consider taking out insurance to cover your expenses if you have to cancel.
Our walking tours will be quite active and as Prague is fairly hilly and has cobbled streets, the tours are moderately challenging, physically. The experience of being in the streets of Prague and Kutna Hora is very much part of the overall enjoyment of these tours as there is something to see and experience around every corner!
We will try to build in times to stop, sit and perhaps have a drink or snack. We will also try to offer alternative tours, where possible, that include less walking. However, if you aren’t used to walking a considerable distance each day you may find it quite demanding.
We would suggest that you prepare yourself by walking at least a mile or two regularly for a couple of months before the trip.
Prague is hilly, so you will need to be fit enough to walk up fairly steep streets at times.
Please bring comfortable, flat walking shoes. Central Prague has a lot of cobbled streets which can be difficult to walk in if you’re wearing heels.
Bring something waterproof to put on in case of rain. Tours will normally go ahead if the rain is not too heavy.
Bring a good, secure bag for anything you want to carry. In popular tourist places, pick-pocketing can be a problem, so you will ideally need a bag that is difficult to break into.
Tour forms, & obligations
Tour members will be required to sign & return necessary forms along with their deposit. These will include a release of liability form, an emergency information form and a tour terms and conditions agreement.
Because of the need to keep costs down, and also because not all venues would be covered, we have no protection coverage. Please arrange your own international travel insurance before you travel.
We will make every effort to keep to the itineraries described. However we are not liable for any delay in, change to or cancellation of any part of this tour due to means beyond reasonable control including but not limited to war or threat of war, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity, industrial or nuclear disaster, adverse weather conditions, fire, earthquake and strikes. Furthermore in order to operate the tour we require a minimum number of 20 full paying participants. If the minimum number is not met, we reserve the right to cancel the tour; in which case we will refund money paid by you for the tour.
Complaints and feedback
If you have any complaints or feedback about the tour, please let one of the organisers know as soon as possible. We want you to be happy with the tour and welcome all feedback and suggestions.
In order to be able to run this tour and cater for your needs, we will need to collect certain information from you, some of which may be personal. The information may be disclosed to our partners and service providers if necessary. This will not be used by them for any other purposes.
Publicity and Promotion
You agree that we can use images of you taken during the tour or feedback that you share with us. We will try to okay these with you in advance of any publication but can't guarantee to do so. You also agree that we will not offer compensation to you or be in any way liable for material used for publicity & promotion purposes.
Signing our waiver form
We will be asking you to sign a waiver form before you come on the tour. On request, we can send you a copy of this to review - it's a fairly standard tour waiver form.