Friday, November 16, 2012

Maršíkov, Czech Republic

This large timber church stands in the small village of Maršíkov in the Jeseníky region of North Moravia in the Czech Republic. It was built in 1609 using wooden beams taken from an older wooden church which had been dismantled in the nearby town of Velké Losiny. The wooden church in the village of Žárová, a few kilometres north of Velké Losiny, was constructed in 1610 with wood taken from the same dismantled church.
The church in Maršíkov was originally Lutheran, and was dedicated to the Archangel Michael. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of late-period Renaissance folk architecture in the Czech Republic. Up until the early 1900's a low stone wall surrounded the church and the village cemetery which was located directly behind it. The cemetery was moved to a location on higher ground further away from the road.
The interior contains unique Rococo-style decorations from the late 18th century. The main altar includes a painting of the Archangel Michael, while the side altars depict the Virgin Mary and Saint John of Nepomuk. The walls of the nave are covered with timber boards with overlapping joints and are painted in dark red and grey. In the choir above the entrance area there is an organ from the 18th century.
The wooden steeple at the centre of the roof line is topped with a large onion dome which is grander in scale than those usually seen on the 17th and 18th century wooden churches found in this region. The dovetail joint interlocking system used to connect the ends of the wooden beams is typical for wooden churches in Silesia and northern parts of Moravia and East Bohemia.
The key for the church is kept by the family which lives in the house directly in front of the church entrance. They are used to opening it a few times per week for Czech and German bus tour groups, but they may be a little hesitant to do so for individual tourists who come unannounced, especially if they are busy with other activities. Offering them a donation for the church (50 to 100 crowns) might provide the right encouragement.
The village of Maršíkov isn't serviced by buses very frequently, but it is an easy two-kilometre walk from the town of Velké Losiny, which has frequent train and bus connections with Šumperk and Zábřeh, both of which have regular connections with Olomouc, Prague and other parts of the country. There are several restaurants and accommodation options available in Velké Losiny because tourists come to visit the spa, chateau and hand-made paper museum in the town and use it as a base for hiking in the Jeseníky mountains.

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