Thursday, 13 March 2008

Small but perfectly formed

According to the statistics, the Czech Republic’s population contains a high percentage of atheists. But, as is often the way with statistics, this isn’t the whole story and certainly hasn’t always been the case. The country has an impressive religious heritage. Not only was it one of the birthplaces of Protestantism, but there are hundreds of old Catholic churches dotted about the place, a lot of them delightful buildings that are well worth looking out for and looking at. I particularly like the small ones, some Gothic, some baroque, some a mixture of the two, that you find in town centres and on village greens in many places in southern Bohemia. The picture shows the one on the green at Holasovice, its colourwashed walls and baroque gable beautifully matching the houses of the village. As in England, they’re sometimes locked, but it’s always worth stopping and having a look. If you get a chance to see inside, there might be ornate plasterwork, statues of saints, or gilded cherubs fluttering around. And an atmosphere of peace in a busy world.

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