Make your way along a thousand-year-old trail rich in central European history, culture and religion, linking unique ecclesiastical gems where the borders of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic converge. The Via Sacra trail is the perfect antidote to our hectic modern world, and one that brings tranquillity, inner peace and learning along the way, as you travel from one piece of ecclesiastical architecture and work of art to the next in this corner of Europe.
For hundreds of years the Germans, Sorbs, Poles and Czechs lived side-by-side, and the legacy of this in the border area is a number of ecclesiastical sites, which today form the backbone of the Via Sacra trail. A total of 16 stops in three countries allow you to experience and understand the history of this region in the heart of Europe, as well as see the extraordinary wealth of culture that has been preserved here.
Space to think and unwind
On your way between the prescribed stops on the Via Sacra you will gradually reveal the stories behind impressive churches, grand monasteries, tiny chapels and other places of worship that still offer the visitor an inimitable ambience in which to meditate. Some of the most interesting places to visit on the German side of the border include Bautzen’s Church of St. Peter with its treasury, holy tomb and way of the cross, the evangelical Church of SS Peter and Paul in Görlitz and the huge Lenten veils in Zittau. On the Polish side, the Via Sacra will take you to the Church of the Holy Spirit in Jawor and the Church of the Holy Cross in Jelenia Góra.
Czech side of the border
Four stops on the Via Sacra are located in the Czech Republic. One of these is the pilgrimage Church of the Visitation in Hejnice. According to local lore it was founded on a site where several people were miraculously cured after drinking from the nearby stream. Today you’ll find the International Centre for Spiritual Renewal here, serving all pilgrims who make the trip. Another halt on the trail is the Johannite Commendam of SS Zdislava and Havel of Lemberk in Český Dub. This boasts the unique Romanesque Chapel of John the Baptist, some Late Romanesque halls and a smaller hall in the convent.
A trip without borders for all
The Czech stretch of the Via Sacra also takes in the Church of the Three Kings and the Chapel of St. Anna in Mnichovo Hradiště. The church is part of the Capuchin monastery dating from the 17th century. In the beautifully adorned chapel you’ll see a tomb containing the remains of one of the most significant and most controversial personalities in Czech history – Albrecht von Wallenstein. The final calling point on the trail is the immense Basilica of SS Laurence and Zdislava in Jablonné v Podještědí, one of the top Baroque structures in central Europe. The Via Sacra is open to all people no matter what religion or persuasion. The trail is one of inner peace, packed with moving experiences and encounters that know no borders.