The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is a late Gothic church building in Most. The 13th century deanery church in Most, which stood in the middle of the church yard near the road to Žatec, burned down in 1515, and only the eastern crypt and the inner peripheral brickwork of the western tower could be saved.
The building of the new church began on August 20, 1517, when the cornerstone was laid, and was financed by individual donors. The designer was Jakob Heilmann from Schweinfurt. He proposed the church as a big hall of three naves, with inside supports, a pentagonal presbytery and a prismatic tower with a gallery in the main elevation. The northern wall contains a vestibule, and a sacristy is located in the north-western wall.
During the first year, demolition work was carried out. Heilmann handed over the project in 1518, and control of the building works was taken over initially by the foreman Jörg of Maulbron and later by another foreman called Peter. The vaults of the peripheral chapels were finished during the second decade of the 16th century, then the inner pillars were erected and in 1532 the church was prepared for vaulting. Then, the windows were placed and the vaulting ribs were dressed. The carcassing was finished in 1549 and the renaissance portals installed in the second half of the 16th century. Unfortunately the church burnt out in 1578, and was finally repaired by 1602. The church was consecrated in 1597.
A new roof was put on the church in 1650. The actual main altar was constructed during 1735–1739. The altar decoration was made in the workshop of the sculptor Bartolomeo Eder and the main altar picture was produced by Josef Kramolín - both in 1773. A boundary wall round the cemetery, church and the ossuary was demolished in 1840. Another big repair was made during 1880–1883, during which the interior was reshaped into the Gothic style, and a part of the baroque inventory was removed. New gothic paint was used, and equipment was installed in the new gothic style. The plaster renovation of the outer walls, as well as a treatment of the stone parts was made in 1932.
During the sixties, Most's historic center was completely destroyed to make room for the expanding lignite mines, a process that lasted until 1980. Unlike other historical building it was decided to save the church by moving it away from mining area. Prior to moving the building, the peripheral masonry, the bearing and supporting pillars were reinforced, and the remainder of the western tower was demolished. The church circumference was reinforced by a concrete ring and the church was gripped by a steel framework construction on the inner as well as outer sides. The preparation work lasted seven years, as it was also necessary to demolish all houses in the transfer path and fill in the former opencast mine.
Between September 30 and October 27, 1975, the church was moved a distance of 841.1 meters at a velocity of 1–3 centimeters per minute to the vicinity of the old hospital with a small church of the Holy Spirit, and it was set on an iron-concrete two-storied foundation. After the move was completed, restoration work went on until 1988, and the church was solemnly consecrated again in 1993.
The church is 60 m long and 30 m large, has only one tower, conforming to the South-German late-gothic layout. Its interior walls are plain, and the peripheral walls are broken by two rows of windows. The lower windows belong to the individual chapels and the upper ones belong to the flank naves of the hall. The inside of the church forms a big hall, divided into three naves by seven pairs of octahedral columns. Between the counterforts are 16 chapels, two side vestibules, a sacristy, a double worm staircase on the eastern side and a worm staircase on the western side. Each of the chapels has its own ribbed vault and is dedicated to the patron saints of its donors — the guilds, rich citizens and one to St. Bartolomew, patron saint of the abbot Bartolomeo of Osek.
The church is used both for religious services as well as an exposition of the Gothic and Renaissance art of the north-western Bohemia, and the church basement is used as an exhibition space for the North-Bohemian Gallery.References:
The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.
The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.
In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.
In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.
After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.
In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.
In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.