There's a Sign Expelling Tourists From the Church of St. James

“How would they like it if Czech tourists could not look inside monuments abroad?.” In this spirit, the reactions of a number of Prague citizens on social networks have been taking place in recent days. 

There was a photo of a sign with the inscription ‘Stop Tourists’, which someone had taken in the Basilica of St. James church in the Old Town. At a time when foreign visitors are experiencing a similarly negative attitude from local people, in cities such as Amsterdam or Venice, there is some hint of a similar trend in Prague’s centre. 

“We would have liked it if there was a warning that visitors would behave silently during the masses. And praying that they should go elsewhere plus a thank you. In short, the form is not good,” commented the Facebook page @prahazdarma with a pictogram crossed out by tourists. 

The production of the sign, nor its location in the church of St. James, is not the initiative of the Prague 1 City Hall. Similarly, social media revealed that the city’s district spokeswoman, Kateřina Písačková thinks “it is probably the work of local clergy.”

The reporter of the Metro daily in Malá Štupartská Street, where the church is located, went out in person. “We found the sign after a while of searching by a tidy wall beside the vessel of holy water in sight from the entrance. It is only sometimes that the entrance to the tourists is prevented. This fact was also confirmed by Stanislav Gryń, a representative of the Minority Convention in the capital,” he said.

If the tourist or a local encounters the entrance to the church of St. James with the sign, they have two options. Either they wait by the door or quietly settle in ensuring they do not disturb. If the sign is as tidy as we found it, general restrictions apply: adhere to the visitation rules and do not enter the ropes that link the building. “Probably we wrote the inscription unhappily,” Gryn admitted.

Prague became the 26th most visited city in the world last year. More than seven and a half million tourists took to the main Czech city two years ago and the number of overnight stays climbed to a record 18 million. Amongst the most crowded places, according to statistics, are in particular the Prague Castle, the Old Town Hall and the Charles Bridge.

The city, however, has been building a strategy for tourists. Barbora Hrubá, a spokesman for the Prague Information Service, said that rather than solely visiting the notorious places but to increase movement outside the historic centre. “In the multilingual brochures that are available in our centres, tourist sites like Holešovice, Karlín, Vršovice and Vinohrady now also appear,” she said.

Author: Lilato Madiri


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