Masonic City Tour
A journey along sights related to freemasonry.
Prague is an old Masonic center. Already 24 years after the first modern Grand Lodge was established in 1717 in London, we find reports of Masonic activities in Prague during the French-Bavarian occupation in 1741-42. Freemasonry was in Prague in turns permitted and forbidden. It had its golden years in the last quarter of the 18th century (ca 1764-1794) and during the 20ties and 30ties of the 20th century.
Freemasons left no obvious marks of their presence in the city. However, the attentive visitor will recognize sometimes on the fronts of houses some symbols used in Freemasonry: Squares, compasses, trowels, levels, plumb rules, stars, sun, moon and other. But one must also keep in mind, that actually Freemasonry took all its symbols from others, mostly from the building trade. Generally, they signify Freemasonry only if they are grouped together in a specific way. Historically the tracing boards depict a composition of symbols relevant for Masons to moralize upon in a lodge meeting. This specific combinations „makes“ the symbols Masonic. Observing „Masonic“ symbols in Prague one must be cautious. So one can for example encounter many times the All Seeing Eye (radiating triangle with an eye in it), but this is here inevitable a religious symbol – Gods eye -, heavily used in baroque decorations of churches, houses and monuments.
The question remains: what is the message of such symbolic decoration? Is it the hall mark of the profession of an architect, engineer or an operative mason/builder? Or a hidden message by a Freemason who owned or constructed the property? It will not be easy to find today answers to these questions.
On the other hand we have in Prague a number of buildings, with no outward masonic signs, but which played and important role in the life of Prague lodges.
Below we present you a selection of pictures showing symbols in many different places in Prague which were used by Freemasons, as well as unmarked buildings of which we know they were home for lodges. It is a random selection. We believe, more will be „discovered‘ in the future. We welcome to receive pictures of Masonic Prague from our readers to add to this pages, in order to make it more complete. Please send the picture with the address (street and house number) where it was taken.
© Jacob Sadilek
Václav Š. : Kde byly v Praze zednářské dílny, in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Volume III, Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 9, Prague 2004
Jana Čechurová: Čeští svobodní zednáři ve XX. století, Libri publishers, Prague 2002
Jana Šetřilová: Alfons Mucha – Freimaurer, in Das Slawische Epos, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems-Stein, Austria, 1994