Von Wallenstein (in Czech, Valdštejn) was the kind of person who would not endear himself to many Czechs during the Thirty Years’ War. Although a Protestant, he sided with the Catholics – and with Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II – and put his considerable military acumen to work in battling for the Catholic Hapsburg monarchy. Wallenstein was born on September 24, 1583, in Heřmanice, now in the Hradec Králové district of the Czech Republic. He was raised speaking two languages, German and Czech, though he was more fluent in Czech when he was a child. When Albrecht was ten years old, his mother died; two years later, his father died. He was then sent to live with his uncle Jindřich, whoRead more.

Prague Castle, the largest castle complex in the world, is a delight to photographers and other artists for its perfect location on a hill overlooking Prague’s medieval architecture. The castle started out as a small fortress, on high and easily defensible terrain. The Vltava has an ugly tendency to flood periodically, and when it does, it wreaks havoc upon the buildings and bridges in its way. Prague Castle, being on the hill, is impervious to such whims of nature. The first building in the castle complex was the Church of the Virgin Mary, in the 9th century AD. In the 10th century, Vratislaus I founded the Church of St. George, in which the remains of his mother, St. Ludmila, wouldRead more.

Boleslaus (Boleslav) gained his peculiar nickname for an act of particular brutality. His brother was Wenceslas I (Vaclav). Wenceslas, as the older brother, was the Duke of Bohemia. Boleslaus, at the instigation of their mother, Drahomira, murdered Wenceslas and took the title. Boleslaus and Wenceslas were the sons of Vratislaus I (Vratislav), who died in battle in the year 921. Their grandparents, Borivoj and Ludmila, were baptized by St. Methodius, who, along with his brother Cyril, popularized Slavic (rather than Latin) Christianity in Bohemia and Moravia. After the death of Vratislaus, Ludmila took charge of caring for and educating Wenceslas, while Drahomira took care of Boleslaus. Drahomira had been a pagan, and perhaps still was. Some believe that this isRead more.