Zd’ar nad Sazavou is located in the southern region of Czechia, and roughly around 2 hours driving from Prague or a 1-hour drive from Brno- Czechia’s second largest city. Once you make it to Zd’ar nad Sazavou cross the bridge and start climbing the hill, you will see the Church of St. John of Nepomuk right in front of you.
The church dates back to 1719, when it was designed by a famous architect, called Jan Blazej Santini-Aichel, through Vaclav Vejmluva’s initiative. Vejmluva was an abbot of the Cistercian monastery. Santini was a rather independent architect and didn’t work with many people, though he respected Vejmluva’s wishes, which made Vejmluva less concerned about the shapes, symbols and the traditional aspects of a church.
For Santini, the church had to serve the purpose of a pilgrimage landmark, constructed into the shape of a star. Santini’s work was very much influenced by symbols, as well as the teachings of the Kabbalah. Today’s final product of the church is almost identical to the initial drawings, made by Santini, with some minor changes that had to be made over the years.
The church is a unique piece of work in all of Europe because of its Baroque Gothic appearance. The church is constructed as a 5 pointed star, which has also five entrances, 5 altars, 25 chapels, 5 stars and 5 angels on the higher altar. Three of the angels on the higher altar also carry a sphere, which has five starts on them- representing the five continents where Christianity was spread to.
The five-pointed star also represents the five holy wounds of Christ, as well as the "five stars", which appeared after St. John of Nepomuk’s death, according to the legends.
The best time to visit the church is between April and October, mainly due to weather conditions, but also since the church is not open for visits during the winter months. Booking a guided tour might be more enriching for any visitor, as it will give you a greater insight into the church’s history and surroundings.
If you are looking for a unique wedding site, I have good news for you. The Church of St. John of Nepomuk is available and carries out wedding ceremonies, but of course needs to be booked in advance.
Cover Picture © Credits to istock/rihast
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