The Bethlehem Chapel is situated in the Old Town area of Prague and dates back to medieval times. The original building was constructed in 1391 and it is rumored its name comes from relics donated to the Chapel belonging to the murdered babies of Bethlehem.
In the 15th century, it played an important role in the development of the Protestant Reformation movement. One of the movement's most vocal supporters, Jan Hus, spent several years living and preaching here. He was the founder of the Hussite movement and became a hero to many Czechs. Jan Hus was later burnt to death by the Catholics, becoming one of the first martyrs for the Protestant cause.
The Chapel, which can accommodate up to 3000 people remained in Protestant hands for several decades but eventually was taken over by the Catholic Jesuit Order in 1620. They deconsecrated it and turned it into living quarters.
The original building was demolished under the orders of Emperor Joseph II in 1786, with only a three walled room, which had been occupied by Jan Hus, and some of the foundations remaining intact.
It stayed this way until the 1950s when it was decided to rebuild the structure. Drawings of the original helped to guide the new construction and the remaining original walls were incorporated into the new building.
Nowadays the Bethlehem Chapel conducts regular religious services and periodically hosts classical music concerts.
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