Thursday, November 24, 2011

Loučná Hora, Czech Republic

This beautiful Roman Catholic church stands in the centre of the tiny village of Loučná Hora in Eastern Bohemia. It is an unusual example of Late Baroque style built of timber, featuring elements more commonly seen only in stone buildings. Its perfectly symmetrical shape also borrows techniques generally used in the design of palaces and castles.
Construction of the present structure started in 1778 and was completed in 1782, though the church stands on the site of an older wooden church which is mentioned in records of the village.
At the time of its construction wood must have been chosen over stone as the building material for economic reasons, since other churches of this style are typically built of stone.
In front of the church stands a separate bell tower which was completely reconstructed in 1942 based on the plans of the original tower. Long ago the grassy area that surrounds the church was the village cemetery, though it has now been moved to an area at the edge of the village. In the church interior the central room serves as the nave, while the eastern end forms the chancel and the western end contains the choir.

The roof is covered with shingles and features mansard-style edging. The church was originally covered in plaster on both the exterior and interior, though this was later removed to reveal the beauty of the wooden beams beneath. The interior of the church is mostly empty nowadays and is used for occasional church services and other village functions.
The village of Loučná Hora is quite easy to reach by train, arriving at the station called Smidary which is less than one kilometre to the south-west. Smidary station is connected by local trains with the town of Chlumec Nad Cidlinou which is on the main rail line between Prague and the city of Hradec Králové.

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