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The Unfinished West Tower of St. Nicholas Church  

Erhard the builder was charged with a grandiose building project, although the nearest similar structures of any significance could only be found only in Regensburg in Bavaria and the royal city of Prague. The project involved the building of a high tower rising next to the church nave. Erhard had the full support of the burghers of Cheb, he had access to all workshops in Cheb and its surroundings, above all, he was promised generous funds from the town treasury. The work was gradually growing. Stone blocks were embedded in excavated pits that were to hold the load of the tower. Two pillars were built up to the level of the first floor and connected with the western church wall. However, unexpected news of an approaching mercenary army reached Cheb. As ordered by the town councillors, Erhard the builder unwillingly discontinued all work on the tower and focused on reinforcing and improving the town walls. Fortunately, no army drew up to Cheb and thus, Erhard awaited further instruction from the councillors to continue with the construction of the tower. Instead, he was unpleasantly surprised. The town councillors ordered him to cover the corner-stones with soil and rubble. They thought the construction of the tower was too daring and luxurious and were concerned about its possible collapse. Erhard the builder never recuperated from such an insult on the part of the councillors. Today, the only traces of the daring building project are the west church entrance and the still covered massive stone blocks on the west side of the church.

Throughout its history, the church has undergone numerous reconstructions. The original Late Romanesque and Early Gothic basilica-type structure, which was almost destroyed by a fire, experienced a major Gothic reconstruction between 1456 and 1470. Even the historical resources mention the west tower in connection with the reconstruction. Nonetheless, only the ground floor was built and the construction was never completed.

Adapted from: Homolka, Jan: Chebské pověsti II. (Cheb Legends II), Cheb Printing House, Cheb 2002
Literature: Kuča, K.: Města a městečka v Čechách, na Moravě a ve Slezsku (Cities and Towns in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia), volume 2, Libri, Praha 2000
http://mestocheb.cz
The church in Cheb has new towers