12 Sacred Sights
Svatý Kopeček (Holy Hill)
near Olomouc
Pilgrimages to sacred places used
to be an integral part of life.
On the outskirts of Olomouc is one
of the architectural gems of central
Moravia – the Basilica minor of the
Visitation of the Virgin Mary with
a Premonstratensian monastery
on Holy Hill. The large 17th-century
complex towers over the entire region
and is the most beautiful example
of Moravian Baroque architecture.
To this day, crowds of pilgrims come
here for contemplation and prayer.
The basilica is one of the most visited
sites in the region.
In 1995, Pope John Paul II visited Holy
Hill, where he met with young people.
The Holy Trinity Column in the
centre of Olomouc is one of the key
works of the Central European Baroque
and is a UNESCOmonument.
Svatá Hora (Holy Mountain)
near Příbram
Rising above Příbram in Central
Bohemia is Svatá Hora (Holy Mountain),
which probably got its name because
of the legend that it was once inhabited
by a hermit – a holy man. It is also said
that a chapel was originally founded here
in the 13th century by a knight of the
house of Malovec. The first preserved
record of its ground plan, upon which
the present basilica was based, dates
from 1658.
Pilgrims also stream to Holy Mountain
to see the Virgin Mary of Svatá Hora,
a famous Gothic wood carving which
is said to guide and heal.
Infant Jesus of Prague
The small statue of Jesus housed
in the originally Lutheran Church of Our
Lady Victorious in Prague is perhaps
more famous abroad than in the Czech
Republic. Every day this shrine
is visited by hundreds of pilgrims from
all corners of the world. The Christ Child
raises his right arm in blessing, while
in his left hand he wields an orb with
a cross as a symbol of the world, which
he symbolically holds in his hand.
The Infant Jesus statue came to Prague
from Spain. It was given to Duchess
Maria Manrique de Lara as a wedding
gift from her mother in 1556, when the
noblewoman married into a Bohemian
noble family. Maria’s daughter Polyxena
of Lobkowicz then donated the wooden
infant dressed in a long gown to the
Carmelites. During the Thirty Years’ War
in the 17th century, the statue of Jesus
lost both of its hands when it was carried
off by Saxon troops. Father Cyril later
had new hands made for the statue.
Karmelitská 385/9, Praha 1
The statue of the Infant Jesus of
Prague is credited with a wide variety
of miraculous cures, and supposedly
saved Prague from the Swedes in
1639. In 1655 the statue was crowned
by the bishop of Prague, which is
commemorated with an annual
celebration on the first Sunday in May.
Via Sacra
The Via Sacra, Latin for Holy Road,
is 550 kilometres long and traces
an old trade route leading through three
Infant Jesus of Prague
Basilica of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary in Hejnice
countries – the Czech Republic, Poland
and Germany. You can meet up with
its Czech section in the town of Hejnice,
where you’ll find one of the most famous
pilgrimage sites in the Liberec region:
the Basilica of the Visitation of the Virgin
Mary with the Baroque Franciscan
monastery from the first half of the
18th century.
Other points on the Via Sacra
are Český Dub, Mnichovo Hradiště
and Jablonné v Podještědí.
Legend has it that on the site
of the basilica in Hejnice, a tree once
stood. When a poor craftsman hung
a statue of the Virgin Mary on it,
angels appeared to him.
It is a short distance fromHejnice
to the Lázně Libverda Spa, which has
a beautiful colonnade from the 19th
century. Nearby is a restaurant built
in 1931 inside a giant barrel.
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