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Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora

Žďár nad Sázavou, Südmähren, Czechia
13.04.2023

The Johann-Nepomuk-Wallfahrtskirche von Zelená Hora, also known as the Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk, is a stunning architectural marvel located in the town of Žďár nad Sázavou in the South Moravian region of the Czech Republic. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was designed by renowned architect Jan Santini Aichel in the early 18th century and is considered one of the most significant examples of Baroque Gothic architecture in Europe.

The church is dedicated to Saint John of Nepomuk, a Czech saint who was known for his unwavering faith and martyrdom. It is said that the church was built on the site where Saint John of Nepomuk was ordained a priest and performed his first mass.

One of the most striking features of the church is its unique and unconventional design. It is built in the shape of an eight-pointed star, with each point symbolizing one of the eight beatitudes. The interior of the church is equally impressive, with intricate stucco decorations, frescoes, and beautiful sculptures adorning the walls and ceilings.

Visitors to the church can also marvel at the impressive collection of Baroque art, including the stunning main altar and the famous statue of Saint John of Nepomuk. The church also houses a treasury with precious items such as relics, chalices, and vestments.

Aside from its architectural and historical significance, the Johann-Nepomuk-Wallfahrtskirche von Zelená Hora is also a popular pilgrimage site for many Catholics. Every year, thousands of believers make the journey to this sacred place to pay their respects to Saint John of Nepomuk and seek his intercession.

Whether you are a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or a religious pilgrim, a visit to the Johann-Nepomuk-Wallfahrtskirche von Zelená Hora is a must. It is a true gem of Czech culture and a testament to the rich history and spirituality of the country. So, make sure to add this magnificent church to your itinerary when exploring the beautiful region of South Moravia in the Czech Republic.


This pilgrimage church, built in honour of St John of Nepomuk, stands at Zelená Hora, not far from Ždár nad Sázavou in Moravia. Constructed at the beginning of the 18th century on a star-shaped plan, it is the most unusual work by the great architect Jan Blazej Santini, whose highly original style falls between neo-Gothic and Baroque.

The Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk (Czech: Poutní kostel svatého Jana Nepomuckého) at Zelená hora (meaning "Green Hill", German: Grünberg) is a religious building at the edge of Žďár nad Sázavou, Czech Republic, near the historical border between Moravia and Bohemia. It 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 1994, it was declared a 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.

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