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Loreto (– Starý Hrozňatov) 

Loreto (– Starý Hrozňatov) The village of Starý Hrozňatov (original name: Kiensberg, German: Altkinsberg) is first mentioned around the year 1217 when Blessed Hronznata was starved to death by Jindřich of Kiensberg in the dungeon of the castle, which belonged to the palatinate in Cheb. After the estate had been acquired by the Jesuit College in Cheb in 1658, the college chancellor, Jan Jiří Dasselman, succeeded in building a pilgrimage site in 1664. In association with the revival of the Marian cult, the choice fell on a Loreto chapel bound to a legend, according to which Mary's house in the Holy Land had been moved to Loreto in Italy. The corner-stone of the Holy House was laid by Abbot Raymund Wilfert of the Teplá Monastery in the same year and its construction was completed in the following year. The typical block layout of the Santa Casa was complemented with a narrow rectangular easement on the east side, which was divided into two floors. Another legend claims that a lightning once struck the Holy House, pulling it apart and causing the plaster to fall off. The plaster remained intact only on the wall on which a picture of the Virgin Mary was painted. That is why the plastering in the interiors was kept rough with islands of the original plaster and a highlighted zigzag crack caused by the lightning. In the course of years from 1675 to 1683, ambits were added and thus, a regular oblong arcade courtyard was created. The ambits have a cylindrical vault with joint lunettes (in the outlined cross vault). The ambit corners were later complemented with prismatic chapels of the Virgin Mary, St. Joachim and St. Anne, St. Zachary and St. Elizabeth, and St. Franciscus Xaverius. The entrance was situated in a cambered entry clock tower covered with a unique imperial double roof. The pilgrimage Church of the Holy Ghost with a lengthwise arrangement formed the final part of the grounds. The large octagonal Chapel of the Holy Cross and the Farewell Chapel were built along the perimeter of the Loreto complex in 1688 (1689). The Way of the Cross, originally with 29 stations, leads through the brook valley up to the foot of Loreto Mountain. It ends on the top of the mountain at the Chapel of Holy Sepulchre.

Unfortunately, the singular pilgrimage site became a part of the border zone in the 1950’s and the vast majority of the village inhabitants were displaced. In 1964, the belfry burnt down and neglect on the part of units of the frontier guards that occupied the Loreto grounds soon turned the ambit into ruins. In the early 1980’s, the complex was facing imminent destruction. With the change of the political system in 1989, the restoration of the Loreto in Starý Hrozňatov was finally launched with generous financial aid from the Loreto-Verein Society in Waldsassen. Its chairman and the chief initiator of the rescue plan is Anton Hart, a native from the neighbouring village of Nový Hrozňatov, who managed to steer the grand-scale project to its successful completion. At the occasion of the 330th anniversary of the foundation of the Loreto, the first pilgrimage to the partially restored Loreto was held on the 2nd of October, 1994 during which the Santa Casa was re-consecrated. The unique architectural complex once again serves as a site of pilgrimage.