Aš - Podhradí - Hranice - Mokřiny

Aš - Podhradí - Hranice - Mokřiny

In Aš tip, the westernmost part of the Czech Republic, near Smrčiny Hills there lies a town of Aš (666 metres above sea level, 13,420 inhabitants). It is surrounded by the German Federal States, Saxony and Bavaria. Hill Háj (757 m) with a view tower is a popular place for walks.

The first written records come from the year 1270. King Sigismund gave Aš region to Zedwitz family in 1422. This was important in matters of religion in this region (the counter-Reformation was not carried out so hard), and therefore the religious monument treasures could appear here – Baroque churches in a Protestant Baroque style. Only in 1775 Aš region was attached to Bohemia. Later there was a great development of the textile industry. In the late 1930’s German population strongly supported Henlein movement so that most Czech families had to leave the town. After World War II (Aš was liberated by the Americans in 1945) it was the German inhabitants for a change who left the town, including the Lutherans, the descendants of the Protestants who already in 1622 built the Church of the Holy Trinity. In its place a new church with three galleries and a remarkable altar was built in 1749. Up to 2,500 people could gather here.

After World War II the Church of the Holy Trinity, the most valuable religious building not only in Aš but in the whole western Bohemia region was given to the congregation of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) for using. During its repairs in January 1960 the church burnt to the ground. Only a memorial of Martin Luther from 1883 survived. These days the whole place is piously maintained.

The Protestant church in Hranice which is under the congregation in Aš comes from the year 1682. At that time one-nave Baroque-Classicist church was built here, in 1719 it was rebuilt into its current form. Inside of the church there is a Baroque altar by M. Zeitler; a pulpit was built over the altar. Baptistery dates back to the year 1763. Equally massive church tower as in Hranice can be as well found in Podhradí. Also a tower of a burned church in Aš was built in the same way. Modern rectory from the twenties of the 20th century serves as a chapel in winter. The church is used for worship in the summer months.

Few people know that in a tiny village of Podhradí, distant 5km from Aš, there is another rare building of the German Protestant Baroque-Church of the Good Shepherd. The original church was built in the late 15th century, in the years 1678–1712 it was rebuilt into the present form. From outside it is a Baroque-Classicist church with a strong tower. An amazing sight however awaits the visitors inside: not only painted wooden galleries and a choir, painted ceiling but also wooden benches from the end of the 16th century which are painted at their sides. Altar made by M. Zeitler dates back to the year 1710. Not for nothing the Church of the Good Shepherd is a protected site and its visit is for sure recommended. From Easter to Christmas there is a religious service in the German language.

Aš congregation also takes care of one more important religious building: it is a church in Mokřiny, built by a famous German architect Otto Bartning in 1914 in a style of German Art Nouveau. After World War II the church was in a deplorable condition. Thanks to the collections within the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren and foreign financial assistance the church was restored in the 90’s of the 20th century. Also here as well as in Podhradí there is a worship in the German language from spring to winter.