Visit the Czech village that's home to one of the world's spookiest churches

Ghostly statues installed in St. George’s church in Luková send a shiver down the spine.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 29.10.2021 19:43 (updated on 31.10.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

St. George’s church in Luková is definitely one of the spookiest places in the Czech Republic, maybe even in the world. After being abandoned by locals who believed the church was haunted, an artist’s installation has enhanced St. George’s reputation internationally by giving its “ghosts” an earthly form.

St. George’s church gained a reputation for being haunted when its roof fell in during a funeral in 1968. This ill omen led local residents to hold church services outside, rather than venturing into the supposedly cursed interior of the building, which was consecrated in 1352.

As people stayed away, the church fell into disrepair, only adding to its sense of mystique. But in 2012, a local art student, Jakub Hadrava, had the idea to install 32 life-sized “ghosts” in the building. The other-worldly figures were intended to represent the three million Sudetan Germans who were expelled from the Czech Republic following the end of World War II.

The plaster statues sit in somber poses in the church pews, underlining the abandonment of the church by the living for fear of it being populated by the dead.

The art installation brought the church’s haunted atmosphere to a new level; when a video of the “ghosts” in the church was released online in 2013, international interest boomed and tourist visits raised CZK 25,000 for the restoration of the building. The video today has over 260,000 views, and continues to draw visitors to this small village north of Plzeň.

Local responses to the art installation have been positive; not least because of the boost which it brought to tourism as well as to the fortunes of the previously derelict church.

“98 percent evaluate the exhibition as positive,” Petr Koukl, a former tour guide at the church, told Czech Radio. “It’s true that sometimes someone comes who is afraid to enter, but that’s only around fifteen or twenty people in the time I worked there. In short, there are some places where people with more sensitive souls are afraid to enter.”

Others, however, have described the presence of the “ghosts” as oddly calming, bringing an added sense of peace and repose to the ancient building.

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Getting there

St George’s church in Luková is about two hours from Prague by car, leaving the capital on the D6 highway before exiting onto route 226 at Lubenec.

You can also get there using public transport, traveling via train or bus to Plzeň before catching local bus connections to the Manětín, Mezí stop, which is within walking distance of the church.

St George's is open on Saturdays from 13:00 till 16:00; at other times, visitors can peer through the windows to greet its resident ghosts. Whether they bring you a sense of calm or send shivers down your spine, the church is well worth a visit. lukova-kostel.cz


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