Czech state to return UNESCO-listed sight to Catholic Church


25.06.2014 11:01

Prague - The Czech National Heritage Institute (NPU) will return the UNESCO-listed St John of Nepomuk church at Zelena hora near Zdar nad Sazavou, south Moravia, to the Roman Catholic Church within the church property restitution, NPU spokeswoman Simona Jurackova told CTK today.


Kostel sv. Jana Nepomuckého na Zelené hoře u Žďáru nad Sázavou (na archivním snímku). ČTK Pavlíček Luboš

The Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk (Nepomucen) was built by architect Jan Blazej Santini, combining Baroque style with references to Gothic elements in its construction and decoration, in 1719-1722.

After assessing the property claim thoroughly, the NPU concluded that there were no legal obstacles to the return of the whole church complex. The institute will launch talks with the Roman Catholic parish in Zdar nad Sazavou about the particular form of the contract on the complex´s return, Jurackova said.

The NPU, which is assessing the return of state-administered landmarks with the status of cultural heritage, has received about 40 requests. It has rejected more than ten of them and sent a few of the others to different institutions for assessment.

The planned agreement on the St John of Nepomuk church´s return is to be the first contract of this kind that the NPU will sign.

According to the law on the return of the churches' property confiscated by the communist regime, which took effect in January 2013, churches are to be returned land and real estate worth 75 billion and given 59 billion crowns plus inflation in financial compensation for unreturned property during the following 30 years.

Simultaneously, the state will gradually cease financing churches. The Catholic Church will get 47.2 billion crowns of the total plus inflation.

The six-month deadline for concluding contracts on the churches´ property return will expire at the end of June. However, the respective state authorities do not manage to assess all requests in time.

Out of them, the State Land Office has received the highest number of property claims.

NPU director Nada Goryczkova recalled that the state had invested 90 million crowns in the reconstruction of the church at Zelena Hora, mainly in connection with its UNESCO listing in 1994.

Tens of thousands of people visit the unique complex annually.

Its operation costs amount to about one million crowns and the proceeds are two million, the NPU says.

The church at Zelena Hora is one of the 12 Czech monuments that figure on the UNESCO list of world cultural and natural heritage.

($1=20.157 crowns)

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