Religion generally fills people with a sense of awe, serenity and humility. Faith and hope in a supreme being gives people the power to accept the uncertainties of life. People visit places of worship so that they can plead with their creator to make their lives easier, simpler and happier. But what do you do when a place of worship gives you the heebie-jeebies? Folks, we may have found the creepiest church in existence and it will give you the absolute creeps!
The St. Georges Church in Lukova in the north-western Bohemia region of the Czech Republic is a unique sight to behold. The pews and aisles of the church are lined with ghosts! Thankfully, they are not real. The ghostly apparitions are the creation of Czech artist Jakub Hadrava. The idea behind the installation of these spectral figures on the aisles is to bring much-needed attention to the dilapidated condition of this 14th century church. And it worked like a charm!
The church has suffered greatly in the past. It saw many fires and was also allegedly damaged by Husittes, representatives of a Christian movement that followed the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus. During the course of its existence, the church was rebuilt many times. That was until 1968 when part of the roof of the church collapsed during a funeral service, chasing the mourners out of the area. The locals were then convinced that it was a bad omen and the church was cursed. They started carrying out sermons and masses outside, and the place was completely abandoned. Not surprisingly, the church fell into disrepair. Although, it is a beautiful and historic building, it was forsaken and its fate was sealed. Over the years, many of its priceless artefacts were stolen, including paintings and the church bell. The church organ too was damaged. And then, decades later, Hadrava stepped in.
The installation was a part of Hadravas Bachelors work where Design and Fine Arts at the University of West Bohemia had to choose a dilapidated church to display their artwork and try to raise funds for the renovation of the place. It took Hadrava more than half an hour (if he was lucky and everything went his way) to complete one figure and there are more than a dozen of them at the church. He made the figures, dressed in eerie, tattered robes of white, using plaster. According to the artist, the life-sized figures represent the ghosts of Sudeten Germans who lived in Lukova before the second World War and came to pray at the medieval church every Sunday, and the souls of all those who have listened to the sermons of the former priests of the church.
The art installation has brought in many donations from around the world so that the church can be repaired and restored to its former glory. It not only brings in visitors from the Czech Republic, people visit the church from far-flung places too like Germany, England, Australia, Brazil and Russia. Hadravas work has also rejuvenated interest in saving other dilapidated churches in the area.
This unearthly and bizarre installation may keep you up at night, but it is a truly wonderful site to visit. With the spirits dressed in white scattered around the church, watching your every move, it will be one hell of a spiritual experience! So what are you waiting for? Add this surreal church to your travel bucket list now!