Prague is a city filled with hidden gems, many of which harbor dark secrets. One such site is Dům U Zlaté Studně or ‘The House at the Golden Well.’ Today the building stands as a proud example of Prague’s rich cultural and artistic history, with its magnificent gardens and intricate frescoes.
The name of the House at the Golden Well is derived from an old legend about the building. According to the legend, the well located beneath the building held hidden gold. The water in the well, which was located in the cellar, was rumored to have a strange golden glow and people believed that gold was hidden there.
A housemaid named Ľubomíra was cleaning in the basement and she bent over to look down the well and get a better glimpse of the golden glow. But she slipped on the wet floor and fell down the well. Her desperate cries for help went unheard and she drowned in the well.
After she was found, the law required that the well be cleaned. Cholera and plagues were common during this time and, therefore, the well had to be emptied and thoroughly cleaned to prevent disease.
It is believed that the master of the house cleaned the well himself and that, while scrubbing the walls of the well, he found the rumored gold coins behind some stones which become dislodged and fell loose as he was cleaning.
The Drowned Maid was not dealt such a happy fate though and spends her evenings haunting the environs of the house, dripping wet with drooping hair, chattering teeth and weeping eyes. She can only be saved if one of the original coins from the well is used to aid a good-doer in prayer for her drowned soul.
The House at the Golden Well (Dům U Zlaté studny) in Old Town has been at its location since even before the current street names. The former names for Karlova Street were Nožířská and Ševcovská. The house is also older than the current Baroque facade, which dates to 1713 and is the work of sculptor Jan Oldřich Mayer. The first mention of the building is in 1354, when it changed hands. It was remodeled extensively in the 17th century.