Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk

Zdár nad Sázavou, Czech Republic

The Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk is the final work of Jan Santini Aichel, a Bohemian architect who combined the Borrominiesque Baroque with references to Gothic elements in both construction and decoration.

In 1719, when the Roman Catholic Church declared the tongue of John of Nepomuk to be incorruptible, work started to build a church at Zelená hora, where the future saint had received his early education. It was consecrated immediately after John's beatification in 1720, although construction works lumbered on until 1727. Half a century later, after a serious fire, the shape of the roof was altered.

The church, with many furnishings designed by Santini himself, is remarkable for its gothicizing features and complex symbolism, quite unusual for the time. In 1993, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The nomination dossier pointed out Santini's mathematical ratios in its architecture which aimed at 'the creation of an independent spatial reality', with 'the number 5 being dominant in the layout and proportions' of the church.

The central church along with its adjacent cloister is uniformly projected and built structure. Architecture of this building is very minimalistic and enormously effective. It combines Baroque and Gothic elements which in fact points to the age when John of Nepomuk lived, worked and was martyred. The construction of church is based on geometry of circle while constantly repeating number five as a reference to Nepomuk's five stars. Those stars, according to a legend, appeared above his body when he had died.

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Founded: 1719-1727
Category: Religious sites in Czech Republic

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Martin Kyselák (3 years ago)
Amazing church
Pavel Kratina (3 years ago)
Very impresive Place with deep history. The guids are knowledgable and enthusiastic.
Vincent Oliver (3 years ago)
The church Zelena hora (Green Mountain) is on the outskirts of the town Zadar nad Sazavou - we had to ask directions at the tourist information office in the town center. It is probably the most important Baroque building in the Czech republic, with a plan of a five pointed star and characterized by complex symbolism related to the cult of Saint John of Nepomuk. While intriguing design, the place felt “empty” and lacked the “warmth and welcoming” associated with a place of worship. The buildings also need attention to prevent deterioration. The cemetery lower down the hill was still well attended and with colorful flowers. Note the church opening months and times: closed from November to March. April & October- Saturday, Sunday only 9 - 17. Don’t miss the visit to the museum and the church next to the lake.
Michael Turtle (4 years ago)
A beautiful church with a fascinating story behind it. Definitely worth the visit. You may not be able to get a guided tour in a foreign language (it depends who's working there that day) but you can still go inside and see it for yourself (with an admission fee).
Ivancy Yu (5 years ago)
Highly recommend to visit. The view from the hill is excellent. And it's worth every steps to visit the church.
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