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Kuks Hospital National Cultural Monument

photo:  (czechtourism.com)

The unique Baroque Kuks complex is located in the homonymous village near Jaroměř. It is definitely worth visiting as it is one of the most significant baroque monuments in central Europe.

The large baroque complex in the valley of the Elbe River was constructed between 1692 and 1724 on the demand of count František Antonín Špork, the owner of the mansion. He had big plans for the locality, gradually starting to realise the large-scale transformation of the valley into a summer resort, which became the spa and social centre of the period nobility. One of the most representative spas in Bohemia of the time was built on the left bank. Gradually, a staircase with a chateau, a theatre, a race track, spa houses, guest houses and Philosophers’ House with a library were constructed. The importance of the local spa already started to decline during the life of earl Špork and its destiny was definitely sealed after his death. Consequently, today there is practically nothing left from the buildings on the left bank except for the cascade staircase to the Elbe River. 

However, the right bank of the Elbe River is much more interesting. In 1696, earl Špork decided to found a hospital for the old veterans from the surrounding area at his mansion. He had the hospital and the Holy Trinity Church and crypt of an earl built according to the project of Italian architect Giovanni Battista Alliprandi. The monumental space in front of the church’s frontage and hospital is decorated by sculptures made by the significant baroque sculptor Matyáš Bernard Braun. The sculpture decoration was created from 1712 to 1731 and depicts the Allegory of Religion and a number of Virtues and Vices. 

Nowadays, the Kuks (Map) complex serves as a historical museum with exhibitions of baroque art and development of medicine. It is possible to visit the church, the gardens, the earl’s tombs as well as the perfectly preserved baroque pharmacy from 1743. Nearby the Kuks Hospital we will find one of the top art pieces of baroque sculpting in Europe, i.e. Braun’s Nativity Scene, which was created on the demand of earl Špork and became a resting area for the visitors of the spa. In 2001, Braun’s Nativity Scene was proclaimed a national cultural monument.

You will find more information here.

Author: Petra Hubálková
Added: 29.08.2012

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