20 Sacred Sights
21
Broumov’s Baroque churches
Unique in all of Europe are the Baroque
churches in the Broumov region, near
the border with Poland. They were
built on the grounds of the Broumov
Monastery according to designs by the
famous architects Kryštof Dientzenhofer
and his son Kilián Ignác. The churches
were built in a relatively short time,
between the years 1709 and 1743.
The group consists of a monastery
in Broumov and small churches
in nine surrounding municipalities:
Martínkovice, Vernéřovice, Ruprechtice,
Otovice, Heřmánkovice, Bezděkov,
Vižňov, Šonov and Božanov.
A cycling route (22 km) goes past the
churches in the Broumov area.
The circuit covers the southern part
of the Broumov region, setting off from
Broumov and following secondary
roads or pathways through Šonov,
Otovice and Božanov to Martínkovice
and then circling back to Broumov.
Taste the local Opat (Abbot) beer,
whose history is closely intertwined
with the history of the Broumov
monastery.
Good transport to the region
is ensured by a train between Náchod
and Broumov via Meziměstí (route
No. 026). Driving time from Prague
is about 3 hours.
In the footsteps
of Santini
The architect Jan Santini Aichel
managed to connect the dynamism
of the Baroque with the Gothic tradition.
Thanks to important commissions,
his buildings are indelibly inscribed
in the character of the Czech countryside.
Zelená Hora
(Green Mountain)
Santini’s most famous work is the
pilgrimage
Church of St. John
of Nepomuk on Zelená Hora
(Kostel sv. Jana Nepomuckého na Zelené
Hoře), directly above Žďár nad Sázavou.
The building is a UNESCO World
Heritage Site. The ground plan is in the
shape of a five-pointed star, symbolizing
Christ’s five wounds of martyrdom and
also the five stars which appeared above
the place of Nepomuk’s martyrdom.
The church is designed on the basis
of mathematical symbolism, and creates
a well-illuminated space of perfectly
balanced interwoven shapes.
Church of the Assumption
of the Virgin Mary in Sedlec
Part of the oldest Cistercian
monastery in the Czech Republic
and located in Kutná Hora–Sedlec
is a monumental work by Jan Santini
Aichel: the Church of the Assumption
of the Virgin Mary.
On the site of an earlier Romanesque
church, a Gothic basilica was built
in the 13th century. The building
was extensively damaged during
the Hussite Wars, and the monastery
was devastated by fire. The restoration
of the church was finished in the early
18th century, according to plans
by the architect Pavel Ignác Bayer.
He was soon replaced by Jan Santini
Aichel, who at the age of 25 showed
a greater degree of sensitivity and
respect towards the original Gothic
structure.
The church was deconsecrated
in the 18th century, and in the early
20th century it even was used
as a tobacco factory.
Monastery in Kladruby
Jan Santini Aichel was also invited
to build at other monasteries.
The Benedictine monastery in Kladruby
is the joint work of Santini and Kilián
Ignác Dientzenhofer.
Monastery in Plasy
This magnificent Cistercian monastery
complex was established in the Baroque
period. By using an ingenious
oak construction, the architect
Jan Santini Aichel managed to solve
the local problem for buildings of a very
damp subbase and a lot of ground water.
The former monastery now attracts
visitors to see its splendid Baroque
church, library and chapel.
Kuks Hospital is an island of Baroque
art in the East Bohemian countryside.
In the picturesque valley of the river
Labe, František Antonín Špork had
spa buildings and a chateau
constructed in the early 18th century
after the discovery of a medicinal
spring. Later, a church was added
and also valuable sculptural
decoration. In the lapidary you can see
the originals of the allegories of Virtues
and Vices by the most important
Czech Baroque sculptor, Matthias
Bernard Braun. A point of interest
is the group of Baroque sculptures
in the surrounding forests.
Church in Sedlec
Kuks
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