Monday, May 30, 2016

Church of St. Mary, Broumov - Czech Republic

This church is found at the edge of the town of Broumov in Eastern Bohemia, just a few kilometres from the Polish border. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it is the oldest wooden church still standing in the Czech Republic and one of the oldest wooden buildings in Bohemia. The settlement of Broumov was originally founded in 1171 and the first church was constructed on this site a few years later in 1177. 

Foto: Horst Bauer
An invasion of the town by Hussite troops in 1421 caused severe damage to the church, and in 1449 it was struck by lightning and burned almost to the ground. The church was completely rebuilt in 1450-1451 in the form that we can see today. A windstorm damaged the tower of the church in 1550, which required extensive repairs. Further alterations to the tower and roof were made in 1811. 
The roofed porch gallery which surrounds the church was originally enclosed with wooden siding, but this was removed in 1779. Wooden planks attached to the walls of the gallery are covered with inscriptions which provide a chronicle of the town's history, recording the years of disasters such as fires, floods, invasions and the plague.
The wooden beams of the ceiling are decorated with stencil decorations of plant and animal themes. These decorations likely date from the time of the reconstruction in 1450, and they have a strong resemblance to those found in wooden churches across the border in Polish Silesia. 
The main altar is designed in the rococo style and also features a late-Gothic statue of the Virgin Mary.
In 2008 the church was declared a Czech national cultural monument. - in:

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