Děčín (Tetschen)

Děčín (Tetschen)

Děčín – in the past it was a name of a king town, today it is a name of a statutory town derived from an ancient Slavic tribe of the Děčans. The town with a rich but also a troubled history, the town located on the confluence of the river Elbe and the river Ploučnice, surrounded by a beauty of the rock towns, deep gorges and beautiful views; this town is also home for 50,000 inhabitants living in a centre of the town and also in surrounding neighbourhoods.

It is a beautiful town. The natural wealth of the Elbe’s sandstone walls, the Bohemian Central Highlands and the Lužické Mountains meet each other in this region. Děčínský Sněžník (722 metres) with a look-out tower dominates the region. A National Park the Bohemian Switzerland (České Švýcarsko) together with a corresponding national park in a neighbouring Saxony is a unique European natural reservation.

On the right bank of the river Elbe on a high promontory there stands an early Classicist castle of Děčín to which a unique approach road known as Dlouhá jízda (“Long Ride”), preserved from the Baroque period, leads from the town. Rose garden with a Baroque “sala terrena” and with a garden-house is also a favourite place of many visitors. Dr. Miroslav Tyrš, a later founder of Sokol, a significant gymnastic organization of that time, was born at the castle in 1832.

Across the Elbe river, on even a higher rock, an observation restaurant with a beautiful view of the town and its surroundings was built up.Behind it, in the middle of the trees, Děčín Zoo is hidden. Houses in residential districts have shiny, various colours facades, all big churches are also well kept – Baroque Church of the Holy Cross and Church of St. Wenceslas and St. Basius as well as St. Francis’ of Assisi Church in former Podmokly, which is now one of the town districts of Děčín. Art-Nouveau synagogue miraculously survived the war and also a recent period. Along Teplická Street we are slowly approaching the church that belongs to the local congregation of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB).

The history of the church dates back to the 1880s. That time German Protestants of the Augsburg Confession belonged to a remote congregation in Habřina near Úštěk. As Děčín was getting bigger, the number of believers was also rising and an independent German congregation was formed in 1887. Which congregation wouldn’t like to have its own church? Therefore in 1881 – during a centenary celebration of a Toleration Patent, a construction of Jesus’ Church according to G. L. Moeckel’s project was started. Builder W. Nickel assumed the construction of the church – building from sandstone ashlars in a Neo-Gothic style with pseudo-Romanesque elements.

The church was completed in 1884 and in the same year an organ was also installed. The German Protestants experienced glorious moments in 1923 when dr. Albert Schweitzer, “doctor of a jungle“, musician, philosopher and theologian, a great connoisseur of J. S. Bach’s work hold a concert in this church.

Hard war years passed over and people from all Czechoslovakia but also reemigrants from Poland and Volyně began to settle down in the border region.

The congregation of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren was founded in 1946 and took over the Church of the Lord at Teplická Street into its care. Within the years necessary repairs of the exterior were made with a help of the ECCB and friends from abroad and later the interior of the church was also repaired and got its original appearance. A combination of wooden elements with sandstone ashlars is also impressive, a pulpit and a font are as well remarkable. In the apse there are two big stained-glass windows which present St. Peter and St. Paul. In nearby Benešov nad Ploučnicí the congregation has its own preaching station. A local castle is a rare example of so-called Saxon, Nordic-oriented Renaissance.

Although the congregation in Děčín is not big by number of its members, it carefully and with respect takes care of a church and a congregation house which serves the members of the congregation in winter. The house of prayer is equipped with a rare organ made in Eule company in Bautzen.