Pilgrimage Churche of the St. John of Nepomuk on Zelena hora
1719 - 1722, completion in 1735, new building; investor Vaclav Vejmluva, Abbot of Cistercian Monastery in Zdar nad Sazavou
Vaclav Vejmluva, a great admirer of the martyr St. John of Nepomuk, considered a celebration of the saint’s martyrdom since he started at his position. Therefore, he places an order to construct a new church located on a hill above the monastery immediately after the opening of his tomb in March 1719. The hill was named Zelena Hora, after the martyr’s birthplace. The architect Jan Santini Aichel understood the miracle of the intact tongue as divine intervention. Within a few weeks he designed a project of the pilgrimage church for Vejmluva. Three years later, on 27th September 1722, the church was consecrated. However, the architectural and artistic work on Zelena Hora was not finished yet. The work continued with construction of a cloister with five chapels and five gates. The conceptually elaborate project was conscientiously completed after Santini’s death. The basic element of the church is a celebration of a star in the centre of stars. The ground plan was designed as a five-pointed star and the five chapels in the ambulatory symbolize not only the five wounds of Christ’s martyrdom, but also five stars that appeared above the place of the martyrdom of John of Nipomo.The entire structure of the church is based on detailed symbolism, both mathematical and descriptive. The construction of the church can be described as a closed complex and also as a bright space surrounded by intersecting shapes. The church is centrally balanced within the entire pilgrimage complex and is topped with five pile steles placed above the roof of the cloister chapel. The fascinating exterior of the church, which failed to follow the original design, is the crowning jewel of the entire region to this day. The absolute uniqueness and originality of Santini’s approach to architecture, as well as the purity of his designs and stylistic elements, were clearly confirmed by the inclusion of this building in the UNESCO list of protected sites.