St. Vitus' Church in Český Krumlov is together with the castle an architectural landmark of the town. The church was built on the site of an older building around 1400. The consecration was carried out in 1439. Around 1500, the burghers built a large music gallery in the western part of the church, and further important remodelling followed in the Baroque period. Apart from other things, a new sacristy was built on the southern side of the church, and the Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk was constructed at the expense of prince Franz von Schwarzenberg and his wife Eleonore Amalie in 1725 - 1726. Neighbouring it, the originally medieval Resurrection Chapel was remodelled in the 18th century. The church got new altars and other furnishings in the Baroque period too.
The architectural and artistic development of the church was finished by Neo-Gothic remodelling at the end of the 19th century. Since that time, only repairs and restoration work have been executed in the church. A more important change was made in the interior of the northern sacristy, where St. Wenceslas’ Church was established in 1997.
The inner space of the church has the form of a three-nave hall, which is typical of high and late Gothic periods. Almost the entire space of the church can be observed from one place; the height, width and length of the church are harmonically composed thus making up a unified and equally illuminated whole. The presbytery is closed up with the tracery vault constructed according to the example of the church in Milevsko. The tracery vault bears the coat-of-arms of Linhart of Aldeberg, who is believed to be the originator of the project. The vault in the side naves is a simple cross vault with masoned ribs.
The early Baroque high altar comes from 1683 and was made at the expense of Prince Johann Christian von Eggenberg and of his spouse Marie Ernestine née von Schwarzenberg. Their joint coat-of-arms is found in the middle of the altar. The high altar painting depicts the Coronation of the Virgin Mary, and the upper one above it the Coronation of St. Vitus. The altar is completed by statues of saints.
The side altars of St. Francis Xavier and the Virgin Mary in the main nave were built in the years 1897-1898 in the Neo-Gothic style. The Rococo pulpit is decorated with a relief of the Annunciation and a statue of Christ.
There are two wall paintings in the left nave. The right hand side painting from the mid-15th century depicts St. Agnes of Rome, St. Elisabeth, St. Barbara and St. Catherine. The painting on the right, which is a little older, depicts the Crucifixion with St. John, Virgin Mary, St. Ursula, another saint and two kneeling donors.
Adjacent to the left nave, the Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk was built in 1726, in which hearts of several members of the Schwarzenberg family are kept. The altar in the chapel with the painting of St. John of Nepomuk comes from 1725.
There are tombstones from the tombs of Wilhelm of Rosenberg and his third wife Anna Maria von Baden put onto the wall on the sides of the entrance to the chapel. Originally, both of them were a part of a monumental tomb established in the presbytery of the church in the late 16th century. Next to the Chapel of St. John of Nepomuk is the entrance to the Resurrection Chapel, which was built in the Middle Ages and later remodelled in the Baroque style. Its walls were decorated with wall paintings by František Jakub Prokyš in 1777.
The small Baroque organ above the main entrance to the church comes from 1716, and the main organ was made in 1908 in the romantic Neo-Gothic style by the Prague organ maker Heinrich Schiffner.References:
The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia between 1713 and 1715. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way. The column is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
The column is dominated by gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel on the top and the Assumption of the Virgin beneath it.
The base of the column, in three levels, is surrounded by 18 more stone sculptures of saints and 14 reliefs in elaborate cartouches. At the uppermost stage are saints connected with Jesus’ earth life – his mother’s parents St. Anne and St. Joachim, his foster-father St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist, who was preparing his coming – who are accompanied by St. Lawrence and St. Jerome, saints to whom the chapel in the Olomouc town hall was dedicated. Three reliefs represent the Three theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Love.
Below them, the second stage is dedicated to Moravian saints St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who came to Great Moravia to spread Christianity in 863, St. Blaise, in whose name one of the main Olomouc churches is consecrated, and patrons of neighbouring Bohemia St. Adalbert of Prague and St. John of Nepomuk, whose following was very strong there as well.
In the lowest stage one can see the figures of an Austrian patron St. Maurice and a Bohemian patron St. Wenceslas, in whose names two important Olomouc churches were consecrated, another Austrian patron St. Florian, who was also viewed as a protector against various disasters, especially fire, St. John of Capistrano, who used to preach in Olomouc, St. Anthony of Padua, a member of the Franciscan Order, which owned an important monastery in Olomouc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a patron of students. His sculpture showed that Olomouc was very proud of its university. Reliefs of all twelve apostles are placed among these sculptures.
The column also houses a small chapel inside with reliefs depicting Cain's offering from his crop, Abel's offering of firstlings of his flock, Noah's first burnt offering after the Flood, Abraham's offering of Isaac and of a lamb, and Jesus' death. The cities of Jerusalem and Olomouc can be seen in the background of the last mentioned relief.