Major reconstruction planned for St Wenceslas pilgrimage town
The historic town of Stará Boleslav, northeast of Prague, may soon become the Czech Republic’s “little Vatican”. The Catholic Church plans to turn the small town, an early Přemyslid stronghold built in the late 9th and 10th century and one of the country’s major pilgrimage sites, into a major cultural and religious centre.
Now, the Prague Archdiocese, along with the church in Stará Boleslav, have come up with a bold plan to revamp the neglected town and turn it into a modern cultural and spiritual destination, featuring restaurants, a brewery, a cultural centre and accommodation facilities for pilgrims and tourists.
The Church is currently holding talks with the municipality of Brandýs nad Labem, which is in charge of Stará Boleslav. The town’s deputy mayor, Hynek Homolka, says they welcome the plans and are ready to take part in the project:
The project should see the reconstruction of the town’s two churches, which are both listed as part of the country’s national cultural heritage. The first one is the baroque Church of the Assumption of Mary which houses a valuable metal sculpture of the Madonna called the Palladium of the Czech Lands. The second one is a Roman basilica of St Wenceslas, the country’s oldest pilgrimage sites.
Along with the reconstruction of these monuments, the town plans to reconstruct a number of smaller sites. But first of all it has to deal with the heavy traffic that goes right through the centre of the town.
“Can you imagine that there are some 15,000 cars passing right next to the churches every single day? The traffic of course badly affects the churches’ stability. So our main goal is to preserve and protect the areas surrounding the churches from the heavy traffic.”
“The plan is to start reconstruction of the Church of the Assumption of Mary at the end of this year and continue with Saint Wenceslas church. The reconstruction of infrastructure, that means roads and also parking places for visitors, should follow in 2017.”