The Best Churches in Czech Republic

Some of the best Churches in Czech Republic include the Church of our Lady of Tyn and St. Wenceslas Church. However, if you have more time in the Czech Republic then you can see some of the amazing Churches outside of Prague including Sedlec Ossuary (Kutna Hora) and the Church of St John of Nepomuk in Zelena Hora.

Discvovering Sedlec Ossuary – The Bone Church Prague

(by Chrysoula from travelpassionate.com)

Prague to Kutna Hora

Sedlec Ossuary, or as it’s more commonly known, the Prague Bone Church, is the oldest Cistercian Monastery in Bohemia. Founded in 1142, the church is located in the town of Kutna Hora, about an hour outside of Prague. It’s said that the Abbot of the Sedlec Monastery brought a handful of soil back from his pilgrimage to the Holy Land making the Sedlec cemetery one of the most desirable burial sites in central Europe.

Inside Bone Church Prague, Kutna Hora
Inside Bone Church Prague, Kutna Hora

The chapel is decorated with the bones of somewhere between 40,000 and 70,000 human skeletons as a memento mori to those buried there, around 30,000 of which are estimated to have been plague victims. Although there have been bones in the church for hundreds of years, they didn’t come into their current decorative form until 1870 when the Schwarzenberg family commissioned woodcarver FrantišekRint to decorate the chapel with the piles of bones that were harbored in the church’s crypt.

The eerie décor consists of a chandelier made of every bone in the human body, strings of skulls and bones strung up like crepe paper at a birthday party, and the coat of arms of the patron family. The display is meant to remind the church’s visitors of the impermanence of human life and the inevitability of death.

Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk in Zelena Hora

(by Joel Baldwin of www.worldheritagejourney.com)

The Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk is one of the most unusual churches you’re ever likely to see. It sits on a small hill (Zelena Hora) near the small town of Zdar nad Sazavou in the centre of Czech Republic.  

Zelena Hora

The History of the Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk

It dates back to around 1720, and is dedicated to St John of Nepomuk, a saint and folk hero to Czechs. John was a priest and confessor to the Queen of Bohemia; when the Queen was accused of adultery, John refused to break the seal of her confession and for his trouble he was martyred by drowning in Prague’s Vltava River. Since then, he’s been a patron saint of Bohemia, and there’s statues and images of him everywhere! John is easy to spot as he’s always depicted with five stars on his halo, which miraculously appeared over the site of his death.    

Five Chapels, Five Altars, Five Entrances!

Background aside, the church itself is absolutely incredible. The number five keeps symbolically appearing over and over again – there are five chapels inside, five altars, and five entrance gates to the cloister (itself a pair of overlaid five-pointed stars).

Even the church itself takes the shape of a five-pointed star! The stars are also a recurring motif, popping up on walls, windows, ceilings, doorframes, and more. Decoration both inside and out is fairly minimal, but it’s the architecture here that’s the real star. All in all it’s a fascinating spot with a uniquely Czech history, and well worth adding to your itinerary in Bohemia!

Saint Wenceslas Cathedral Olomouc

(by Rose Palmer from Quiltripping.com at  https://quiltripping.com/)

Dominating the Olomouc skyline is the beautiful Saint Wenceslas Cathedral which has been the seat of the of the Bishops of Olomouc since it was built in 1193.

On the walls under the organ loft, panels list the uninterrupted lineage of the areas’ archbishops all the way to St. Methodius in 869 AD. The church has been rebuilt many times with the current Neo-Gothic version being from the 19th century. The Church has a beautiful large choir loft and has one of the best organs in the Czech Republic.

Try to visit on Mondays or Wednesdays during one of the organ concerts. The church is named for Duke Wenceslas I, ruler of Bohemia from 921 until his assassination in 935. He became a martyr and then declared a saint soon after his death. The popular Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” is based on his good deeds as a ruler. The cathedral and the nearby Prince’s Palace make up the Archdiocesan Museum which is one of the most picturesque sights in Olomouc.

Piarist Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross in Litomyšl

(By Heather from RaulersonGirlsTravel)

The Czech Republic has many beautiful churches, and one of the most spectacularly decorated is Piarist Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross in Litomyšl.

Piarist Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross in Litomyšl

The Church is one of the most prominent baroque architectural buildings in the region. Completed in 1722, the Piarist Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross was designed and built by Italian architect Giovanni Battista Alliprandi and then František Maxmilián Kaňka after Alliprandi’s death. The church’s history is quite devastating though, in which it has been destroyed by no less than four significant fires throughout the years. Full reconstruction happened between 2011-2015 where the church has become the art exhibition and cultural center it is today.

Piarist Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross in Litomyšl

The church does host tours free of charge during the day where you can experience the beauty of the nave. And see the sacred light installation of Václav Cigler and Michal Motyčka. The long prism is hanging from the ceiling in front of the altar and is constructed from cut solid optical glass. During certain times of the day, the prism will emit an array of colors on the gray walls. Now, why are the walls painted gray when everything else within the church is elabrate? The painted gray walls represent the difficulty the church went through with all the fires (from the ashes…).

Angels on the Hillcock

There is also another exhibit that is a must-see, Angels on the Hillcock. This exhibit includes the art of the Diocese of Hradec Králové. And with this display is the opportunity to ascend to the roof where you will get an unbelievable view of Litomyšl and Castle Hill. You can clearly see how Litomyšl is the center of old and new architecture blended together by viewing the town from the top of the Piarist Church of the Discovery of the Holy Cross.

St Peter of Alcantara Church – The Leaning Church

(by Alison Browne of https://www.dreameratheart.org)

The Czech Republic, Land of Stories, has a tale to tell in Karviná-Doly found in the Těšín Silesia region. A Baroque style church, built in 1736, rises like a sentinel in the fields, completely alone. And impossibly crooked. So slanted is St. Peter of Alcantara that it has earned the name, “Czech Pisa” as it leans 6.8 degrees off centre. 

At one time, this church was part of a bustling town. Karvinná, a separate town before being annexed into Karviná in 1948, began its days as a farming community. Coal was discovered in the late 18th century and Karvinná’s pastoral days changed forever. Karvinná developed into a major industrial centre with a population of 22000 by 1930.

Karvinná’s good fortune eroded over time. The coal mining that fuelled its growth was also responsible for its demise. In the latter half of the 20th century, the ground began to sink, the buildings became unstable and were demolished. St. Peter of Alcantara which had been built on a hill sank 37 metres. It was slated to be destroyed but in the early 1990’s its foundation was reinforced. It alone is the only visible legacy of Karvinná.

If you enjoyed this article on the best Churches in Czech Republic then you might also enjoy this article on the best Churches of Prague.

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