The Jilted Turkish lover

We’re used to haunted stories about ghosts, strange creatures and brutal deaths. In Prague, there also is a haunting by a jilted lover.

I stand in front of the church of Our Lady of Tyn as it towers over the Old Town Square. It is the perfect backdrop to many holiday photos but I am not here for that. The pitter-patter of rain picked up as I plod into the passageway to the right of the building. I gingerly make my way through this alley, careful not to slip on the cobbles that are wet with the autumn rain. As the shadows of this magnificent church engulf me, I have a specific story in mind.

A photo of the Church of our Lady before Tyn watching over the Old Town - Prague, Czechia

The Church of our Lady before Tyn watching over the Old Town – Prague, Czechia

Sunshine rarely penetrates this street given the height of the surrounding buildings. I feel a small chill as I approach the north-eastern corner of the church. In front of it, there is a courtyard and passageway called Ungelt. It looks like an entrance to a building, nestled as it is. It used to be nothing more than a warehouse frequented by merchants who would spend their evenings there. To stay there, they would pay a fee that was called “Um Geld” in Old German. [3] The name, slightly modified over the years, is still used.

I step in, my footsteps beginning to echo. I wipe the rain that pools in my eyebrows and look around. In medieval times, a young Turk merchant stayed at an inn here and fell in love with the innkeeper’s daughter. He romanced her and didn’t take long to propose. Smitten by his advances, she accepted. He left Prague to go and settle his affairs in Constantinople promising to marry her upon his return. [3]

A photo of the Ungelt - Prague, Czechia

The Ungelt – Prague, Czechia

He was gone for a long time but his betrothed waited; patiently at first, but it didn’t take long for her patience to wear out. She concluded he must have either died or forgotten about her. She moved on, met someone else and got engaged to her new beau.

On her wedding day, the Turk arrived back in Prague and found her and her family celebrating. Legend has it that, furious as he was, he killed the bride and hid her body amongst firewood in the building’s basement.

No one ever saw the young lady again after that night. [3]

Perhaps attempting to atone for this, the courtyard is now haunted by the ghost of this young Turk.

A photo of the passageway - Prague, Czechia

The passageway – Prague, Czechia

Some storytellers claim he carries a box containing the head of the young girl. [1] Others insist he appears dragging the head of his bride-to-be by her chestnut pigtails. [2] [3]

The passageway is quiet tonight. The sounds of a Friday night are just about audible from the nearby trendy Dlouha street. In the Turk’s day, this passageway would have been the centre of night life.

Maybe it’s his ghost that keeps the party-goers away.

Or maybe it’s his loneliness that keeps him here.

 

Have you visited any ghostly location lately? Tell us about it below!

References

[1] Prague Ghost Stories; Expats.cz;  2009-10-05
[2] Ghosts and Legends of Prague; Prague.fm; 2011-12-20
[3] The tragedy of the Turk from Ungelt, magicBohemia.com, 2017-02-10

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