The large monument in the middle of the Old Town Square in Prague is the statue of the reformer Jan Hus (John Huss), one of the most important personalities in Czech history. A hundred years before the Protestant Reformation was started by Martin Luther, Jan Hus was burnt as a heretic for reformist ideas.
Jan Hus burned as a heretic
Master Jan Hus, the dean of the Charles University in Prague, criticized church practices such as selling indulgence. He used to preach in the Bethlehem Chapel in Prague and he was excommunicated by the pope for his ideas in 1410. Despite that, he continued in preaching and he had many followers in Prague, that´s why the pope interdicted the whole city of Prague in 1414. Finally, Jan Hus was invited to the Council in Constance and he was asked to renounce his ideas. He refused, and he was burnt at the stake as a heretic on 6 th July 1415.
People in the whole Czech Kingdom were outraged by his death and they started a rebellion called Hussite Wars – a Protestant movement against the Roman Catholic Church. Several crusades were sent against them, but all were defeated. The movement was finally defeated by conflicts between the rebels themselves.
Jan Hus Monument
The monument of Jan Hus at the Prague Old Town Square was designed by Ladislav Saloun. The foundation stone was laid down in 1903 and the monument was unofficially revealed on 6 th July 1915, the 500 th anniversary of Jan Hus´s death. A festive event was forbidden. Prague citizens covered the Jan Hus Monument with flowers.
The monument consists of Jan Hus statue and statues of Czech people around him. Jan Hus statue is looking at the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, which was the main church of the Hussites between 1419 and 1621. The people around him are the Hussite warriors on one side and on the other side there are prostrated people, forced to leave the country in 1620s, after the rebellion of Czech estates was defeated.
Inscriptions on the monument
The inscriptions on the Jan Hus Monument were added after the independent republic Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918. It reads: “Love each other and wish the truth to everyone” (Jan Hus´s words), “Live, nation sacred in God, don´t die”, “I believe, that the anger thunders will cease and that the government of your affairs will return to your hands, Czech folk” and “Who are the warriors of God and his law” (words from the anthem of the Hussite warriors).