The Devil’s Channel
The Devil’s channel
The Order of Knights of Malta created this channel in the Moldau in the XII century. The channel is 740 meters long, and is nowadays known as the “devil’s channel”. In the past it was used to push the wheels of the watermills of Mala Strana, which were probably nine. Today only 3 wheels are visibile. The last of these watermills, called “of the Great Priorate” ended its activity in 1936. The name “devil’s channel” was used only since the XIX century, and is related to a legend.
According to this legend, in one of the houses was living an old quarrelsome and gossipy woman, who, with her behaviour, was poisoning the life of the neighbours. One night a prankster drew six devils on her wall, and he added the note “The Seven Devils House”.Who knew the old woman understood immediately who was the seventh devil.
There are, of course, many other versions of the birth of the new name of this channel. One of these says that the channel took this name because of the difference of speed of the water flow in the channel and in the Moldau. In the Moldau the water flow was quiet, while in the channel the flow was fast “like the devil”.
The less pleasant version, at least for tourism in Prague, is the one according to which the channel was called “devil’s” because of the dumping thrown in it….the smell had to be really “diabolic”.