With its nearly 15,000 inhabitants, the town of Nymburk lies northeast of Prague on the river Elbe (186 metres above sea level). It is an important railway junction and an industrial centre.
Originally, in the site of a primeval settlement where the old provincial route crossed the river Elbe there used to be a Slavonic settlement. Around the year 1257 king Přemysl Otakar II founded there one of his royal towns and had it embattled with double walls. Among the most valuable monuments is a Gothic Cathedral of St. Giles, the only tower of which is out of its axis. The Renaissance town hall dates back to 1526 and the former water tower called ”Turkish tower“ comes from 1597. The historical part including the fortification walls which were partly destroyed but at the beginning of the 20th century also partly reconstructed has become a Historic Town Reserve.
The Hussite wars did not affect the town at all. The townsmen accepted the Four Articles of Prague and until 1620 the town remained Protestant. After the Battle of the White Mountain with the onset of counter-Reformation Nymburk went through the same ordeal as many Czech and Moravian Protestant towns. The Thirty Years’ War, fires and epidemics nearly destroyed it.
The introduction of railway traffic in 1870 was a great turning point for Nymburk. It started to develop and today it is a nice town proud of its past and its famous natives, such as B. M. Černohorský, a composer, and Bohumil Hrabal, a famous writer who lived during his childhood in the local brewery.
After the Toleration Patent in 1781, only two families in Nymburk joined the Evangelical church. In the country the situation for the Reformed church was more favourable. Due to the town development the Protestants started to come to Nymburk as well. The congregation was established on 8th November 1897. Not much later the plans to build its own church arose. The foundation stone was laid in Smetanova Street already on 15th May 1898. Less than a year later a Neo-Renaissance church, designed by G. Alber, an architect from Brno, with a 35 m high tower was built by J. Blecha, a Prague master builder.
Alongside with its construction, the rectory was built and the area around turned into a park.
The consecration of the church took place on 30th November 1898. Today it is well-kept; in the sacral area there is a Neo-Renaissance pulpit; the organ is original, repaired in the 1950s. The whole complex – the church, rectory as well as the congregation room built later – is surrounded by a park.
The formely independent congregation in the village of Hořátev became a preaching station of Nymburk congregation only in 2000. The first written records about the village date back to 1384. Hořátev originally belonged to the noblemen of Kunštát and Poděbrady who were devoted Utraquists. As a consequence, secret Protestants stayed in this area despite the Jesuit re-Catholization attempts. Soon after the Toleration Patent, a new Reformed church congregation was established here in 1783. The first services took place in a barn, which was quite common then. It did not take long and a new house of prayer according to the toleration regulations was built. It was consecrated on 30th September 1792. It is especially valued as it has remained, apart from minor adjustments, unchanged up to now. Also the interior is in accordance with the spirit of a toleration house of prayer. It is touching by its simplicity and worship. The linden tree which was planted near the house of prayer about 200 years ago is today among Czech listed trees. In winter, services take place in a pretty Art Nouveau rectory building.
In a nearby spa town of Poděbrady there is also the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) congregation which was not established until 1895, however, its rich history dates back to the Hussite times. Boček of Kunštát, the owner of Poděbrady then, was a devoted advocate and supporter of Master Jan Hus and his seal can be found on a protest letter of Bohemian noblemen sent to the Council of Constance after Jan Hus’ execution.
In the 15th century Poděbrady was awarded the status of a town. Today you can find here a great number of interesting historical monuments as well as relaxation in the quiet spa part of the town. Worth your interest might be the Protestant house of prayer which has undergone a series of noticeable renovations. The members of the congregation are hospitable and used to the visits of spa guests.