Local man buys village church for one crown, turns it into culture centre

A church in the village of Hojsova Stráž in the Šumava Mountains is one of the many properties the Catholic Church got rid of in recent years in an effort to stabilize its finances. The church was bought for a symbolic one crown by a local man, who has gradually transformed it into a vibrant cultural centre.


The village of Hojsova Stráž, located at an altitude of 890 metres above sea level, was established in the 16th century by miners who were extracting ore in the mines nearby.

Photo: Kateřina Dobrovolná,  Czech Radio

It was only in the 20th century that the remote settlement started to attract tourists, who came to enjoy the deep forests of the Šumava National Park, as well as the local ski slopes.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary was built in the village of Hojsova Stráž in the first half of the 19th century, when it replaced the original wooden chapel standing there.

Viktor König | Photo: Kateřina Dobrovolná,  Czech Radio

The church, partially covered with shingles, stands on the edge of the village and is visible from a distance. For several years now, it has been owned by a local resident Viktor König:

“It happened about six years ago. The Bishopric of Plzeň was disposing of surplus property because there were no more parishioners here.

“Bishop František Radkovský came here and asked me if I wanted to buy it, since I had already rented the church a few times. I told him I couldn’t afford it, but he said I didn’t even ask about the price.

“So, out of curiosity, I did, and he told me he would sell it to me for one crown, since we organised concerts here in the past and invested the proceeds back into the church.”

Photo: Kateřina Dobrovolná,  Czech Radio

Mr. König says owing a church, which is listed as a cultural and historical monument, is a huge commitment and a source of never ending work.

“We are trying to bring life and culture to the village, because we are such a small and remote place. Our advantage is that the locals really pull together. We have even established a civic association here, which is in charge of the church.”

The church is busy especially throughout the summer season, when there are regular concerts and exhibitions taking place, but visitors can take a peek inside throughout the whole year.

“We have fitted the church with an iron-wrought gate and we always keep the outer entrance door unlocked so that people can get a good look inside even in the autumn and winter. People interested in a private tour can contact me through the information centre in Železná Ruda.”

Photo: Kateřina Dobrovolná,  Czech Radio

Thanks to Mr König, the church in Hojsova Stráž is a place that keeps the local community together, despite no longer serving as a regular place of worship.

One of the things you can see inside is a nativity scene, with each of the ceramic figures made by the local residents. Another landmark that attracts visitors to the small Šumava village is an astronomical clock, built by another resident in 2017.

Authors: Ruth Fraňková , Kateřina Dobrovolná
run audio