The exceptional structure of the Pilgrimage Church of St. Jan Nepomuk has the layout of a five-pointed stars the result of fruitful cooperation of the Abbot of the Žďár monastery, Václav Vejmluva, and the ingenious architect, Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel.
The initiative to the construction of the church was inspired by the discovery of a well-preserved piece of textile in the tomb Jan Nepomuk in the St. Vitus Cathedral in 1719. According to legend, the priest paid with his life for his refusal to betray the confessional secret of Queen Žofie (Sophia). The symbolism associated with this popular saint in the Baroque era appeared in the design of the church. Both Santini-Aichel and Abbot Vejmluva were very proficient in the Christian symbolism and Kabbalistic teachings, which they consequently applied in the design. Santini conceived the project quite individualistically, i.e., without regard of what was customary at the time. Abbot Vejmluva’s concept of the church was based in the image of a star as the main motive, which Santini transformed into an exceptionally impressive design that only the modern era was able to appreciate. The church is built on foundation that have the shape of a five-pointed star, indeed. Legend has that when Jan Nepomuk drowned, a crown with such a star appeared in the water of the Vltava (Moldau) River. This symbol is repeated in many other elements of the church. The structure has 5 entrances and 5 chapels with 5 altars. The Latin word TACUI – I remained silent – consists of 5 letters. The dome of the church has the form of a big red tongue – a symbol of St. Jan Nepomuk, again, surrounded by a circle of tongues that sun rays radiate through.
The church at Zelená Hora is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites of the Baroque era. A fire that broke out on 16.7.1784, destroyed the Žďár monastery’s roof completely. At the request of Abbot Otto Steinbach of Kranichštejn, the both the monastery and the church were closed. A priest named Matěj Josef Sychra tried to save the complex from demolition at the beginning of the 1800’s. Full restoration of the dilapidated complex, however, began only in the seventies and eighties of the 20th In 1994, the application was approved for inscription in the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage Sites.
Římskokatolická farnost Žďár nad Sázavou – II
Správa poutního kostela sv. Jana Nepomuckého na Zelené hoře
591 02 Žďár nad Sázavou
Information, tour reservation, guide services:
APRIL: Saturday, Sunday (9 - 17)
MAY - SEPTEMBER: Monday to Sunday, holiday (9 - 17)
OCTOBER: Saturday, Sunday (9 - 17)
NOVEMBER - MARCH: closed, tours by appointment