In Bohemia, the brothel was called a “hampejz”, ‘whorehouse’ or ‘house of shame’, but not a ‘brothel’ as such. Prostitutes were simply ‘whores’. The profession encompassed several categories. The most deprived prostitutes were homeless women who provided ‘services’ in the streets. Others visited their customers in their homes disguised as bread sellers, yet others were available to noble and royal courts. Then were those who proffered their services in brothels of various price categories, whose clients were townsmen, officials and nobles (or conversely, the most menial clientèle, in the most down-market establishments). Brothels were run not only by townspeople, but even by the spiritual leaders or prelates (for example, the Parish Priest of the Church of St Giles under Vyšehrad). Often a brothel was directly connected to the bathhouse.
During the Hussite wars, many brothels were abolished, but boomed again soon afterwards. Their legalization was also helped by the Church of Rome, which considered prostitution a lesser evil than adultery. It speaks volumes that prostitutes accounted for almost 10% of the population of Papal Rome.
There were numerous regulations and laws governing brothels and the ‘oldest profession’, and even a special tax. There were even laws covering considerate treatment of prostitutes and protecting them from violence.