The Czech Republic Jan Hus Memorial is located in Prague at the Old Town Square. The enormous memorial celebrates Jan Hus, who was a fourteenth century religious reformer. He questioned the Catholic Church’s affluence and corruption. The monument became a symbol for the Czech Republic’s independence.
Features of the Monument
There is a tall statue of Jan Hus that rises above an immense platform. To the reformer’s left there are triumphant Hussite troops, and oppressed Protestants on the right. There also is a young mother statue that represents the revival of Czech nationalism.
The base has an inscription that has a quote from “Pravda Vitezí” by Hus. When translated to English, the words mean “truth prevails.” Today, this quote is an official motto that is written on the Czech Republic President’s banner. The quote is also acknowledged as an official symbol for the nation.
Hus was as a Czech priest that was born in 1369. He was excommunicated by the Catholic church in 1410. He planned to defend his religious position but was imprisoned, and then declared a heretic. In 1415, Jan Hus was put to death by burning at the stake.
As soon as reports of his demise reached Prague, citizens were outraged by the execution and many regarded it as an assault on their nation. Followers of Hus were referred to as Hussites, they began to rebel and destroyed many churches, as well as monasteries. Pope Martin V requested that Catholics in various other countries fight the Hussites. This started a lengthy war between Catholic crusaders and Protestant Hussites.
Creation of the Jan Hus Memorial
This memorial was the work of Ladislav Šaloun, a Czech sculptor. Šaloun was influenced by Auguste Rodin, the French sculptor. In 1903, he began working on this massive sculpture. The Jugendstil art movement design is very apparent in the memorial’s style.
On the five hundredth anniversary of the reformer’s death the monument was presented in 1915. During that time, Prague was ruled by the Hapsburg Empire which refused to officially recognize the monument. Local people covered the Jan Hus monument with bouquets of flowers in protest. The memorial continues to be a symbol for opposing foreign rule.