In the foothill of the Iron Mountains (Železné hory), close to the town of Kutná Hora on the little stream with a picturesque Czech name Brslenka lies the ancient town of Čáslav (231 metres above sea level with over 10,000 inhabitants). It is close to the protected landscape area of the Iron Mountains and to the dam Seč on the river Chrudimka.
Around the year 1260 king Přemysl Otakar founded another of his royal towns – Čáslav on the route that connected Bohemia and Moravia.
The most significant historical sight of the town is the early Gothic congregation Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. Its construction started at the end of the 13th century on the site of the original Romanesque Church of St. Michael. It still can be found inside, it serves as a vestry. Also the Gothic fortification of the town has been partly preserved and so-called Otakar Tower near Brodská Gate was a part of it. The Baroque town hall with Žižka Hall dates back to the year 1766. On the square you can see the statue of Jan Žižka by J. V. Myslbek from the year 1881. The statue of M. Ulický by B. Kozák in front of the church commemorates the uprising in the year 1627. It was led by chaplain Matouš Ulický who was executed for leading the riot.
In the year 1420 the town was conquered by Jan Žižka and a year later so-called “Čáslav Assembly“ took place in the Church of St. Peter and Paul. The assembly adopted the Hussite programme and formed a twenty-member government in which for the first time were also town representatives. Jan Žižka was elected too. During the following centuries the town was afflicted by wars and fires. In the 18th century Čáslav became a significant administrative centre and this development carried on in the 19th and 20th century.
Čáslav was the hometown of a well-known musician family of Dusíks and a birthplace of Jiří Mahen and Miloš Forman, the latter reminisced his hometown in his memoires with love. Vladislav Vančura studied the local grammar school.
During the counter-Reformation the secret Protestants gathered in family homes in many surrounding villages. After the proclamation of the Toleration Patent they espoused to the Helvetic confession and in the year 1783 the congregation was established. The first ministers came from Hungary. The believers gathered for worship in barns, usually in an original seat of the toleration congregation in Močovice, where an old granary was rebuilt into a house of prayer in the year 1785; later a rectory was added. The house of prayer was used for many years. In the middle of the 19th century the idea of moving the congregation to Čáslav and to build a church appeared. But only the pass of the Protestant Patent in the year 1861 which granted the equal rights for all churches speeded up the building permit. The foundation stone was laid in May 1864. In the year 1866 both the house of prayer and the rectory in Močovice burnt to ashes. This sad event was the decisive impuls for moving the congregation to Čáslav. F. Schmoranz senior from Chrudim, who was entrusted with the construction, designed a building in the Neo-Gothic style, a three-nave church with a steeple reminiscent of the steeple of St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Church in Čáslav. The consecration of the church on the 6th July 1869 was a significant event for the whole Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren because it was the largest Protestant church that had been opened in Bohemia since the Toleration period. In the following years it was repaired several times at a rather high cost. In the year 1928 on the site of the old rectory, there was opened a new one with Komenský Hall and a flat for the minister. The church was festively reopened after the general reconstruction on the 21st June 2009, on the occasion of 225 years of the history of the congregation and 140 years from the construction of the church building.
Let us also mention the year 1872 when the only Reformed teachers’college in Bohemia was opened in Čáslav. One of the teachers was Jan Karafiát.
The congregation in Čáslav has always persued so much needed welfare activities. In the year 1889 they established charity Marta and an orphanage. Nowadays, the Diaconia of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren continues in these activities.