In the valley of the river Divoká Orlice where ruins of the castle Potštejn juts out highly in the rocks is a small town of the same name – Potštejn. The surrounding countryside is a part of the Podorlická hilly country and a small town with a population of approximately 1,000 inhabitants lies at an altitude of 315 metres. These favourable natural conditions invite to romantic walks along the river through the age-old linden tree lane near Ann’s Valley – thanks to it Potštejn became one of the first summer resorts in Bohemia and a place of rest for many famous people in the past and in the present.
The castle Potštejn which is dilapidated today is a scene of Jirásek’s short-story ”Treasure“. In 1731 Potštejn was a small town as it is proved by an accidental finding of a sealing-stick with its crest and coat of arms. The original Gothic St. Lawrence’s Church was rebuilt in an Empire style in the years 1815–1821. Inside of the church you will be impressed by the altar painting of St. Lawrence by Antonín Machek from 1819. We will certainly notice a statue of St. Florian and a nice fountain in front of the church. In the middle of the 18th century a Baroque castle was built near the church; later this castle was sensitively restored by its current owners.
In the past the persecuted members of the Unity of Brethren were hiding in the surroundings of Potštejn. The name of a deep valley “Praying Pit“ where the Czech Brothers used to gather for the secret worship confirms this fact.
“The Brethren District“ is a name of the part of Potštejn where a Brethren house of prayer and a parish can be found. Potštejn was the first congregation in Bohemia where so called Renewed Unity of Brethren worked. The first wave of non-Catholic exiles left Bohemia after 1620. Later in the 18th centry the members of the Unity of Brethren found their refuge in Herrnhut (Ochranov) at the domain of count Zinzendorf. Thus the Renewed Unity of Brethren was formed and later became famous under the name ”Moravian Brothers“. Despite many problems (this Renewed Unity of Brethren was not recognized in Bohemia immediately after the declaration of the Protestant Patent in 1861) congregations were being established also in Bohemia and Potštejn was chosen as the first one. It happened on the 16th of October 1870. The first Brethren house of prayer was consecrated in Potštejn after more than 200 years on the the 6th of August 1871. The current one comes from the year 1899.
The members of so called Seniorate of Ochranov are a part of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB) but they remain affiliated to the World Unity of Brethren. Today there is a modernized rectory with a winter house of prayer next to the Brethren church. There is a possibility of nice accommodation especially during the summer months, too.