The Church of Ghosts

Church of Ghosts

Have you ever heard about the Czech church filled with life-size ghost statues? St George’s is a 14th-century church, which overlooks the small village of Luvoka, and is easily one of the spookiest places in all of Europe!

This said-to-be haunted church is steeped in ghost stories and superstitions, giving it a chilling atmosphere. Ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts should not miss out on the opportunity to visit this incredible attraction during their time in the Czech Republic.

In this article, we will discuss the history of St George’s Church, its famous art installation, and why people tend to think this church is haunted.

St George’s Church: A Brief History

St George’s Church is located in Luvoka, which is a small Czech village in West Bohemia. The church was originally built in 1352 and named after St George, the patron saint of knights and soldiers. With just nine windows and two doors, the church is relatively small.

For hundreds of years, St George’s was used by the residents of Luvoka for christenings, mass, funerals, and more.

The fire of 1796

In 1796, St George’s Church experienced a disastrous fire. This fire damaged the majority of the church’s structure, even the bell. The church remained unused while funds were raised for its restoration, which was completed in 1800.

The organ and the bells were severely damaged in the fire of 1796. The metal from these objects was melted down and given to a local hospital.

The funeral service of 1968

In 1968, the ceiling and roof collapsed on the congregation during a funeral service in St George’s Church. Terrified, everyone ran outside and thankfully there weren’t any casualties. However, the local residents considered the roof collapse a bad omen and church services were held outside from then on.

Rumours about the dilapidated church being haunted began circling the village and the church fell into increasing decay after many years of disuse.

Looting

After the roof collapsed, the abandoned church became a target for looters. Various religious items were stolen under the Czech Republic’s communist rule. The church’s largest bell was also taken to be used in the ongoing world war but was not returned when the war ended.

Despite the looting and the lack of a roof, the church’s interior remained largely functional.

Installation Artwork by Jakub Hardrava

After many years of disuse, the abandoned church piqued the interest of local artist Jakub Hadrava. He knew about the building’s significant role in the town’s history and wanted to breathe new life into the dilapidated church.

Hardava created 32 life-sized ghosts, made out of plaster casts of his fellow students. The ghost statues were carefully placed around the church, with many of them sitting in the pews. The effect is completely otherworldly and Hardava’s talent as a local artist is evident!

The name of the installation piece is “My Mind“, which was completed in 2012 as part of Hadrava’s senior art project. Hardava says that the ghost statues represent the 3 million Sudetan Germans who were expelled from the Czech Republic after World War II. These displaced people moved on to Germany and Austria.

A Boom in Tourism

The art installation by local artist Jakub Hadrava received far more interest than was originally anticipated. Many people began visiting the church, eager to see the eerie ghosts that now occupied its ancient pews.

In 2013, a video of the church and its ghostly art installation went viral on YouTube, receiving over 280,000 views! This video had a huge influence on how many people knew about the artwork. Luvoka received a massive boom in tourism in the years that followed.

The installation was attractive to a wide variety of people, including ghost hunters and history enthusiasts as well as international tourists. People from all over the world have visited St George’s, including those from Australia and Brazil.

Luvoka, which was pretty much unheard of before the installation, has now become a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Czech Republic. This is all thanks to a local artist!

What is the Church Like Today?

Today, the Czech church has been restored to its former glory. This is mostly thanks to the funds raised by tourists over the years. Over €23,500 was raised in admission fees alone, most of which was used for the roof restoration.

St George’s is used for concerts and even the occasional mass. The local residents are pleased to see their beloved church being put to practical use once more. In an interview with Czech Radio, Petr Koukl, the church’s caretaker said, “98% evaluate the exhibition as positive.”

The art installation is still in place to this day. While most people love it, there are still a few visitors who feel spooked out by the ghost statues and cannot bring themselves to enter the church.

Is St George’s Really Church Haunted?

Since the roof collapsed in 1968, many local residents believe that the church is truly haunted. But now that St George’s is back to its former glory, do people still associate the church with paranormal activity?

The installation by artist Hadrava has certainly added to the spookiness of the church and there are rumours that the church is haunted by the spirit of St George himself.

If you want to determine whether or not St George’s is really haunted, you may want to bring along some ghost-hunting equipment when you visit. Some of useful hunting equipment include:

FAQs

How do I find St George’s Church in Luvoka?

Luvoka is situated roughly 200 km from Czech’s capital city of Prague. If you’re driving, the best route to take is along the D6 Highway. When you reach route 226 at Lubenec, you can exit and make your way to Luvoka. The church is located on a small hill overlooking the village.

It’s also possible to get to the ghost church by using public transport. From Prague, take the bus or train to Plzen. From here, you’ll need to take the local bus to Manetin, Mezi, which is within walking distance from the church.

When is the church open?

Presently, the church is only open to the public on Saturdays between 1 PM and 4 PM. Visitors are more than welcome. If you want to visit the church outside of official visiting times, you can always peer through the windows to get a look at the ghost statues.

Is there anything else to do in Luvoka besides visiting the ghost church?

While there aren’t too many other attractions to visit in Luvoka, the town is filled with historic buildings. It is very peaceful to take a walk through the small village and simply enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings of West Bohemia. Ghost enthusiasts should be sure to have a look at the cemetery adjacent to the ghost church.

Should I visit St George’s Church?

If you ever find yourself in the Czech Republic, it is well worth taking the time to visit the ghost church of St George’s. Even if you are not particularly fascinated by ghosts, the 14th-century church is very beautiful and steeped in rich history.

Final Thoughts

Whatever your personal views on the ghost church may be, it is safe to say that the ghost statues introduced by Jakub Hadrava have played a significant role in the church’s restoration.

Ever since the roof fell in 1968, locals believed the church was haunted, and this bad omen is what launched the church into its state of disrepair.

Hadrava has breathed new life into the 14th-century ghost church, making it an attraction in its own right. The installation still attracts hundreds of visitors from all over the world! Furthermore, the church has been reinstated as a part of everyday life in Luvoka, just as it originally was.

Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!