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The Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk on Zelená hora is one of the most important projects of the architect Jan Blažej Santini-Aichl (1677-1723) and also the most original example of the so-called Baroque Gothic. Its uniqueness especially consists in the geometrical design of the whole building, the ground plan of which has the shape of a five-pointed star and the centre of which is made up of the church around which are two times five chapels and ambits.
Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora  / © Ladislav RennerPilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora - interior   / © Dagmar VeselkováPilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora  / © Ladislav Renner
Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora  / © Jaroslav MarešPilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

The symbolism of the number five has a mystical impact; it is based on the five wounds of Christ and also the five stars of the halo, which according to legend appeared above the head of the Czech martyr, John of Nepomuk, who the church is named after. John of Nepomuk was the vicar general of the Archbishop of Prague during the difficult dispute between the Archbishop and King Wenceslas IV. According to legend, he was tortured and then thrown into the Vltava. While being tortured his tongue was cut out, as John refused to disclose the queen’s confessional secrets. It is precisely for this reason that the tongue has become an attribute of John of Nepomuk and we can also find its symbolism in the dome of the church as well as it being evident from the shape of the church windows and alcoves. Another great advantage of Santini’s building is the ingenious play of light and shade in the interior of the church, which is especially prominent in the hours of the morning.
 
Points of Interest
The whole church was built in only three years. Its beauty is said to be indescribable and must really be seen with one’s own eyes. You can also convince yourself of Santini’s genius with a visit to the Chateau Complex in Žďár, where there is a display of work by the Baroque architect. It is also worth taking a tour of the Museum of Books in the chateau with an exhibit from the history of book printing and the Convent Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. 
 
Entry into the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List: 1994
 
More information: www.zelena-hora.eu/
 

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Žďár nad Sázavou - Zelená hora: Location

GPS latitude/longitude: 49.56241 , 15.93704

 

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