Czech “Machu Picchu” becomes popular wedding location
A few years ago, archaeologists excavated the remains of a medieval church on a small hill in the middle of Slavkov Forest in western Bohemia. Since then the remains of the Church of St. Nicholas, dating back to the 13th century, have become one of the most visited local landmarks and a popular site for romantic weddings.
Further efforts to locate a settlement or graveyard in the vicinity of the church proved fruitless. The ruins stand isolated in the middle of wilderness – adding to the feeling of mystery that the place evokes.
Viktorie De Stefanisová, a registrar and archivist from the nearby town of Horní Slavkov, says the site has become incredibly popular for weddings.
In its heyday the Church of St. Nicholas would have served for fifty people, the remains of the Gothic portal, which faces East, and the altar, are well preserved. Jiří Klsák, an archaeologist from the Karlovy Vary Museum, told Czech Radio the location of the church was not as big a mystery as it might seem.
"This is where an important trade road from Cheb to Prague led in the 13 century. Weary travellers could stop, pray and even rest here. Possibly, they could also spend the night here. Surprisingly, there were tiles among the finds. "
Today the road from the nearby village of Hrušková which winds its way in the vicinity is no longer as deserted as it used to be. Wedding guests park their cars at some distance and walk to the ruins. There are also more and more bikers using the trail that leads past the ruins which were completely hidden from sight twenty years ago.
But it is at sunrise and nightfall, when the place is completely deserted, that the ruins of the Church of St. Nicholas, dubbed the Czech Machu Picchu, best stand out in their timeless beauty.