Chlum Svaté Maří – The grounds of the pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
The village of Chlum Svaté Maří (St. Mary's Hurst) is first mentioned in 1341. Although first settlement in the area dates much further back. The statue of Virgin Mary and a wooden chapel stood on the site in the 13th century and they were replaced by a stone Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene around the year 1400. The pilgrims coming to Chlum were tended by members of the Order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star who founded a settlement near the church.
The church was burnt down by the Hussites in 1429 and rebuilt after the end of the Hussites Wars. The settlement grew and gradually changed into a small town. In 1651, Chlum was raised to a township by the Prague Archbishop and the Grandmaster of the Order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star, Count Arnošt Vojtěch of Harrach, who also granted the right to the township and to use a seal with its coat-of-arms, i.e. a red cross with a star above three golden hills.
Pilgrimages and fairs became very popular after the Thirty Years War and the Prague Archbishop, who was coincidentally also the Grandmaster of the Order, Jan Bedřich Valdštejn, promoted the local parish to a provostry and thereby, triggered the construction of a new church and pilgrimage grounds.
The pilgrimage church with the adjoining provostry of the Order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star stands on the site of the original late 15th century Gothic church. An earlier chapel with an oval layout with a cherished Marian statue was built in the course of years 1664 and 1665 and it forms a part of the later-built church, namely its western side between the two towers.
The construction of the church was underway from 1690 to 1697 and the new temple was apparently built according to the design of Kryštof Dienzenhofer by the foreman of the famous architect and builder, Wolfgang Braunbock. The original chapel is a part of the newly erected three-aisled church with a cross aisle, and a rectangular chancel. The church is surrounded by symmetrically conceived ambits with chapels built between 1708 and 1724.
The northern front of the premises is formed by a three-wing building of the former provostry built between 1706 and 1724. Since the early 1990s, the pilgrimage grounds have been undergoing extensive reconstruction co-funded by the Ministry of Culture within the framework of the Architectural Heritage Conservation Programme.
Interesting tidbit: Miraculous Statuette in a Hazel Shrub
Virtual tour: Three-Aisled Church