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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.

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 reserved 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 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.
Holy Hill near OlomoucHoly Mountain near PříbramInfant Jesus


Via Sacra
The Via Sacra, Latin for Holy Road, is 550 kilometres long and traces an old trade route leading through three 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.

The Way of St. James pilgrimage routes
Even from the Czech Republic it is possible to set off towards Santiago de Compostela along the increasingly popular Way of St. James to take part in a journey pilgrims have been experiencing for centuries. Several Way of St. James routes lead through the Czech Republic, linking up with routes in Germany and Austria.
The northern branch comes from Zbraslav near Prague and continues to Karlštejn, Beroun, Plasy, Krkavec hill and Stříbro to Kladruby. Then it leads through Bělá nad Radbuzou to Železná, where it crosses the Czech-German border near the Park of Reconciliation and connects with a route leading to Nuremberg.
The southern branch leads from Karlštejn through Mníšek pod Brdy, Dobříš, Příbram, Nepomuk, Klatovy and Kdyně to the border crossing of Všeruby/Eschlkam, and then continues along the East Bavarian Way of St. James in the direction of Regensburg. The first marked segment along the Way of St. James in Moravia is the route from Brno to Mikulov. It connects with the Austrian route leading through part of the Weinviertel (meaning “wine quarter”) region in Lower Austria. The route was extended in the direction of Olomouc and up to the Polish border, and thus traverses all of Moravia.
 

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