Welcome to the website of the Bahá’í Community
of Prague, the capital and the largest city
of the Czech Republic!
Introduction – about the Bahá’í Faith
The Bahá’í Faith is an independent world monotheistic religion that was founded in 1844 in Persia (today’s Írán) and has been present in today’s Czech Republic since the early years of the 20th century.
About the Bahá’í Community of Prague
Prague is the home to the oldest Bahá’í Community in today’s Czech Republic and to one of the country’s largest Bahá’í communities as well (a few dozens adult Bahá’ís live in Prague in mid-2014).
We, the Bahá’ís living in Prague, come from diverse backgrounds and are dedicated to the promotion of a society that reconciles the spiritual and material aspects of life.
Like the Bahá’ís in other parts of the world, we seek to strengthen the spiritual foundations of our community through the spiritual and moral education of children, the spiritual empowerment of young people, the enrichment of the devotional character of community life, and the expansion of capacities for service.
We, the Bahá’ís of Prague, invite everyone interested to participate in our Bahá’í activities that are organized at our Prague Bahá’í Centre at Lucemburská Street 33 in Prague 3 or in other venues.
Our Bahá’í activities are usually held in Czech. However, in this English section of our website we will try to announce, well in advance, those of our activities that should be organized also in English.
Phone: +420 602 37 50 30
Address: Bahá’í Community of Prague, Lucemburská Str. 33, 130 00 Praha 3, Czech Republic
About the history of the Bahá’í Community of Prague
Prague has always played an important role in the history of the Czech lands and has been a major political, cultural, spiritual and economic heart of Central Europe. Nowadays, Prague is an important European city that attracts visitors not only by the abundance of beautiful architectural gems but also by a huge number of cultural, social and political events of international importance.
No wonder that Prague is the home to the oldest Bahá’í Community in today’s Czech Republic. The first mention of the new Faith in what is now the Czech Republic took place also in Prague, in autumn 1852, in a series of articles that appeared in a German-written Prague daily ‘Prager Zeitung’.
The history of the Bahá’í Faith in Prague dates back as fas as the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the First World War.
The real blossoming of the Bahá’í Community of Prague occurred during the first Czechoslovak Republic when famous American Bahá’í teacher, esperantist and journalist, Ms. Martha Root, visited Prague for several times and helped establish and advance a flourishing Bahá’í Community there. The members of the Prague Bahá’í Community at that time consisted mainly of young active esperantists. The most prominent among these first Czech Bahá’ís from Prague were a noted esperantist, translator and linguist, Mr. Vuk Echtner, and another esperantist and translator, Mrs. Juliana Bendová. Both of them dedicated the whole of their long lives to valuable and admirable services to the development of the Bahá’í Faith in Prague and Czechoslovakia.
Martha Root was granted official audiences with the first Presidents of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Edvard Beneš, at the Prague Castle in 1928 and 1936 respectively. During the audiences, both Presidents made very admiring statements on the Bahá’í Faith which appeared in the leading international Bahá’í magazines in 1920s and 1930s.
In 1932, Martha Root settled in Prague for 18 months. Because of Martha’s presence in Prague and the 1932 release of the Czech edition of the well-known Esslemont’s book “Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era”, a number of articles on the Bahá’í Faith appeared in Czech magazines and newspapers.
During the Nazi occupation between 1939 and 1945 all activities of the Czech Bahá’í community were ceased.
A renewal and further development of the activities of the Bahá’í community of Prague started after the Second World War. During the tough Communist regime in the early 1950s, the Bahá’í community of Prague (approx. 20 to 30 people) was enlarging. There were held regular meetings of the community and the Czech Bahá’ís were visited by several Bahá’í friends from abroad. The public activity of the Bahá’í community was not then, unlike other religious communities in Czechoslovakia, officially banned. In the latter part of 1950s, the teaching activity of the Prague Bahá’í community started spreading even to other relatively far-off parts of the Czech lands, namely to the north of Moravia in the Ostrava region. Juliana Bendová and Vuk Echtner were the chief organizers of these activities. At that time, the Prague Bahá’ís even asked the Communist authorities for an official registration as “The Spiritual Assembly Bahá’í” and for an allocation of a place for regular meetings.
These active steps towards official recognition excited the oppressive measures of the Communist authorities and actual cessation of Bahá’í activities in Czechoslovakia for the long 31 years. The members of the Prague Bahá’í community were arrested by the Communist Secret Police (9 July 1958). The police made perquisitions in their homes. The Bahá’ís including Vuk Echtner and Juliana Bendová were tried in a mock trial (25 September 1958) for their participation in “the banned religious sect Bahá’í” that was connected to “hostile foreign capitalist countries”. Vuk Echtner was sentenced to a three-and-half-year imprisonment. He was released after two years. Juliana Bendová and other Bahá’ís were not sentenced to prison but were under constant police surveillance until the end of the Communist rule in 1989.
At the turn of 1989 and 1990, the first Bahá’í groups from abroad came to Czechoslovakia to establish and re-establish Bahá’í communities here. It was the beginning of ordinary work of the Bahá’í community in Czechoslovakia and in Prague.
In June 1990, the Bahá’ís of Prague elected the first Bahá’í Local Spiritual Assembly of Prague which thus became the first Bahá’í Local Spiritual Assembly to be established in former Czechoslovakia. Since then, this Local Spiritual Assembly has been administrating the affairs of the Prague Bahá’í Community.
In April 1991, in Prague was elected the first Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly on the territory of Czechoslovakia. The seat of the National Assembly was in Prague.
In 1993, after the break-up of Czechoslovakia into two independent states, the National Spiritual Assembly of Czechoslovakia was renamed The Regional Spiritual Assembly of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. The seat of the Regional Assembly was in Prague.
In May 1998, there were held the founding conventions of the administratively separate Czech and Slovak Bahá’í communities. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Czech Republic and the National Spiritual Assembly of Slovakia came into being. Since then, the seat of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Czech Republic has been in Prague.