4 Sacred Sights
Coming from the east, from Byzantine
Thessaloniki, the brothers Constantine
(who later took the monastic name
of Cyril) and Methodius arrived in the
spring of 863 in today’s Czech Republic,
bringing Christian doctrine here
at the request of Prince Rostislav of
Great Moravia. Their mission was also
successful because they began to serve
mass in the new locally comprehensible
language of Old Church Slavonic,
instead of the usual Latin, and they
created the new Glagolitic script.
This small town in the southeast
of Moravia is the most important place of
pilgrimage in the Czech Republic.
It is said that in the 9th and 10th
centuries it was the capital of the once
important Slavic state of Great Moravia.
It is probably the burial site of one of the
missionaries – Archbishop Methodius.
In 1985, Pope John Paul II gave the
basilica in Velehrad a “Golden Rose”
– a precious gift which can be boasted
only by Lourdes in France, Guadalupe
in Mexico, and Częstochowa in Poland.
The major Cyril and Methodius
pilgrimage at Velehrad takes place
every year on July 5, the name day
of both saints.
The Basilica of the Assumption of the
Virgin Mary (a Basilica minor, completed
in 1748), a shrine with a statue of the
Virgin Mary, has made Hostýn the
most visited pilgrimage site in Moravia.
Noteworthy is its water chapel, with
a spring of miraculous water, and an
artistically valuable Stations of the Cross,
designed by the renowned Art Nouveau
architect Dušan Jurkovič. Hostýn
is connected to Velehrad via a pilgrimage
route, along which you can visit other
religious monuments in the region.
Museum in Modrá
In the village of Modrá, near Uherské
Hradiště, foundations were discovered
of probably the first Christian church
in the Czech lands.
One of the largest castle complexes in the
world, it was the seat of Bohemian kings,
Roman emperors, and today houses the
Office of the Czech President. A UNESCO
World Heritage site, it is dominated by
the Cathedral of Sts. Vitus, Wenceslas
and Adalbert, the patrons of the Czech
lands. Founded as a rotunda in the mid
10th century, a cathedral began
to be built on the site in 1344, during the
reign of Emperor Charles IV, and it was
completed in 1929. Also worth visiting
is the St. George Monastery with the
nearby Church of All Saints. In the
Chapel of the Holy Rood in the second
courtyard is an exhibition of the St. Vitus
This is the oldest monastery in the
Czech Republic, founded in 993
by Prince Boleslav II together with the
second bishop of Prague, Adalbert.
From the old Romanesque church
building, remains of the crypt beneath
the Church of St. Margaret are preserved.
Gothic modifications to the monastery
and the local church disappeared
during the Baroque reconstruction
by Kryštof and Kilián Dientzenhofer
in the early 18th century. In recent years,
the whole complex has been undergoing
restoration, including the gardens.
Taste the Břevnovský Benedict
beer from the monastery brewery.
Its history dates to the 13th century.
You will find the brewery in the former
St. Vitus Cathedral