Monday, 18 May 2009

Boletice Church

Yesterday I did a circular walk from Kajov (a town with a church that merits its own post) over the hills and through the forests of the Boletice Military area. The walk which I had calculated would take me 3 hrs actually took me 4.5; I stopped so much, admiring and photographing the view. As I have said before the Boletice area is special, its military status means that it is not accessible to cars. Only determined tourists will make it there, for they must come by bike or on foot. Nature is therefore particularly rich there and the history, of which there is too little accessible or even visible, very special.

And nowhere is more special than Boletice church. The church is set apart from the modern village of Boletice (which was depopulated during Commie times and used as target practice) and sits on top of a small hill. I approached it from the forests above along a road empty of cars. The church made an impression long before I got to it. By the time I took the little lane to Boletice kostel, I already felt I was going somewhere special. The Church sits among trees, apples, cherries and plums. At its foot a trackway dotted with tank barriers reminds us of the area's current use. The church is Romanesque, the oldest in South Bohemia. I was unable to enter the building: signs warned that, despite the restoration work done so far, one should still take care. So I just walked around and then sat at a bench and contemplated this lovely building. Inside they have found wallpaintings under the graffiti left by Russian soldiers and lovely Romanesque and Gothic features. What is it, I thought to myself, that makes some people react in so brutish a way to such beauty, to such holiness. For make no mistake Boletice Church is a holy place.

This morning on my way to Cesky Krumlov I passed military vehicles going in the opposite direction, soon the peace of Boletice would be broken by the sound of guns.

1 comment:

Philip Wilkinson said...

A lovely Romanesque tower. Fascinating that you see those Romanesque double windows all over Europe, and they're common in England – there are examples in Lincoln, for example, and Oxford – but that roof is quite different to anything you'd see on a tower here.


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