Mělník (Melnik) - Vysoká u Mělníka (Wisoka)

Mělník (Melnik) - Vysoká u Mělníka (Wisoka)

The town of Mělník (215 metres above sea level) with its nearly 20,000 inhabitants is situated to the north of Prague above the confluence of the rivers Elbe and Vltava. Already in the 9th–10th centuries it was the seat of the Pšovan tribe. Later, in the 13th century there was a growing market town, which was in 1274 declared a royal town by Přemysl Otakar II. The significance of the town grew even more under the rule of king Charles IV, who had ordered Burgundy grapevine to be brought here, which started a boom in vine-growing and brought fame to Mělník.

During the Hussite Wars the inhabitants of Mělník sided the Hussites and later supported George of Poděbrady. The consequences of the Estates uprising 1618–1620, the White Mountain Battle and the Thirty Years’ War ended the promising development of this town. For years, Mělník was devastated by fires, battles and epidemics.

The town did not revive until the 19th century with the restoration of vine-growing (the first vine-growing school in Bohemia was founded here in 1885) and the development of railway traffic and shipping transport. The growth of the town was interrupted by World War II when Mělník was at the very border of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The town was liberated in May 1945 with the help of local partisans.

New prospects for Mělník arose after the year 1989 and can be seen also in the care for the historical part of the town. The most significant monument is the Mělník Castle. From a wooden castle of the Pšovans it was later, during centuries, rebuilt subsequently in a Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles and in the 17th century even Baroque items were added. From the castle terrace there is a beautiful view of the landscape and the confluence of the rivers Elbe and Vltava. After 1989 the Castle was returned to its original owners, the Lobkowicz family.

In the Castle premises we can find the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. The three-nave Romanesque basilica was built in 1112 and in the 14th century it was rebuilt in the Gothic style. In 1555 it burnt out. Between 1911 and 1913 the church was reconstructed. Worth noticing is the late Gothic stone sanctuary which dates back to end of the 16th cenury. The main altar originated in 1750.

In the historical part of Mělník we can find many other interesting monuments, such as the Prague Gate in the late Gothic style, old merchants’ houses with wine cellars or the Town Hall from the 15th century.

During the counter-Reformation the secret Protestants kept mostly outside Mělník and started to come to the town in the 19th century. A significant toleration congregation existed then in nearby Vysoká. The Mělník Protestants established its preaching station there and soon decided to build a church on a hillock close to the town centre. Its construction started in September 1896 and the consecration took place on the 18th of August 1897. In the place where king Charles IV originally planted the first Burgundy vine, today there is a large Neo-Classical church with a dominant rectangle clock tower, designed by František Červenka. Inside there are rich stucco decorations. The organ is situated on the gallery above the main entrance.


A congregation was established in 1901 and a rectory was built two years later. Mělník congregation members decided to build a congregation Hus House with two halls next to the rectory. The building was opened on the 24th of October 1937. Both halls are used for community purposes.

In Vysoká u Mělníka there is a Catholic Church of St Wenceslas built in 1757. Soon after the Toleration Patent in 1781 the former secret Protestants from Vysoká started to join the Reformed confession. The village was purely Protestant then. In 1783 a congregation was established there and in 1786 despite many hindrances also a house of prayer. It had to follow the toleration period regulations: it stood at the end of the village, without a tower or bells. It was built within a year – a simple building with a gabled roof with a chalice on its front – and consecrated on the 19th of November 1786. In 1882 a new rectory was built.

The house of prayer is preserved exceptionally well in its original condition. The cemetery nearby also dates back to the toleration times. In the former mortuary there is a permanent exhibition of the toleration houses of prayer in the area along the river Elbe, (including the one in Vysoká ) and it is administered by the Veritas society, historical society for updating the legacy of the Czech Reformation. Since the year 2000 Vysoká u Mělníka has been a preaching station of Mělník congregation.