Nové Město pod Smrkem

Nové Město pod Smrkem

In the eastern part of Frýdlant tip just 4 kilometres from the Polish border there lies Nové Město pod Smrkem at an altitude of 465 metres. It has been a town since 1584 when Melchior of Redern, owner of the domain founded it for new settlers who came to mine tin and other non-ferrous metals. And a word Smrk (Spruce) in a name of the town suggests that we are near the highest mountain of the Jizera Mountains (1,124 m).

The original population here was predominantly German. In the 19th century there was a rapid development of the textile industry, the town was growing, but its fate was negatively influenced by two world wars. Today the town with 4,000 people is developing favourably. This is mostly thanks to the beautiful countryside and the development of tourism.

Local Protestants of the Augsburg Confession did want to become an independent congregation with its own church. It is interesting to know that St. Catherine’s Church from 1607 was originally Protestant, only in the year 1652 it was re-consecrated as a Catholic church.

The members of the then preaching station entrusted a young architect Otto Bartning with a construction of their own church. Bartning later became famous for many important religious and secular buildings.

“Luther’s Castle“ as the church was called according to Luther’s famous song “The Strongest Castle is Our God“ started to be built in 1911. The church was not the only issue; according to Bartning’s plan a very modern and efficient set of interconnected buildings including a hall and a spacious congregation house was as well built. The building was consecrated on the 11th of August 1912. An independent congregation of the German Protestant Church in Nové Město pod Smrkem was established in 1928.

Both wars mixed fate of many people, especially in the border region. After the end of the Second World War the German population had to leave and the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) took over the church. The repatriates from Volyně and Polish Zelow became the new members of the congregation, but people also came from other places. Newly established congregations in the former German border region created varied communities; many problems appeared, indeed. Some congregations disappeared, others continued. The congregation of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in Nové Město pod Smrkem belongs to those which have been kept.