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Place of pilgrimage Křtiny with the church by Santini with troubled past invites you for a trip


During our  trip in the Moravian Karst we reached village Křtiny. Just on arrival we were impressed  by a white baroque pilgrimage church of the Name of Virgin Mary, which dominates the village. The author of the building is Giovanni Santini, descended from a family of Italian stonemasons settled for several generations in Prague. The most famous form of his name is Jan Blažej Santini Aichel.


The entire pilgrimage site consists of a temple, cloisters and St. Anna chapel. The complex  together with the building of presbytery and the castle is situated in the middle of a small village Křtiny, which lies about 20km northeast of Brno.



History of Křtiny

Village Křtiny is located in area of  the Moravian Karst in district Blansko, South Moravian region, about 16 km northeast from Brno and 10 km southeast from town Blansko. Population is  about 800 inhabitants.


Křtiny is considered a gateway to the middle part of the Moravian Karst region and it is a significant European Marian place of pilgrimage. Origin of the name is probably linked to Cyril and Methodius, who here baptized (baptism = “křest”) our ancestors, hence the name Křtiny.

History of the place of pilgrimage


Legend says that in 1210 statue of the Virgin Mary was transferred to Křtiny  from the nearby village Bukovinka. Then, in 1299, is mentioned the construction of a small Romanesque church called "Czech" or “of Miraculous Virgin Mary”. In the 15th century it was built another large temple called "German". And right in place where stood these two churches was later built the pilgrimage site.


The foundation stone of the church of the Name of Virgin Mary was laid in 1728, five years after Santini's death, so the architect was not able to supervise the construction. František Antonín Ritz, an architect from Brno, lead the construction work.  “Czech” church, in which statue of the Virgin Mary was placed on the  main altar,  was demolished only in 1733, when chapel of St. Anna  was completed  and the statue could be transferred into the chapel. The temple was completed in 1750 On 1st May 1750 was ceremonially blessed by Abbot Matuška. Consecration of the temple was conducted on  21st April  1771 by  Bishop of Olomouc Matyáš František Chorinský.  


Early the 90s of the 20th century in the temple took place  speleological exploration of underground spaces. In 1991 was discovered in front of the altar of St. John and Paul the tomb of Abbot Kryštof Matuška. The same year was discovered under the nave crypt, which was used as an ossuary to save the mortal remains of approx. thousand people buried at the old cemetery at Křtiny during 13th and 18th century. Entrance into the crypt were walled and soon forgotten. Today the ossuary could be accessed from the corridor from the square. The greatest curiosity of the Křtiny ossuary became finding twelve human skulls with black markings in the shape of a laurel wreath and the letter "T" on the forehead. Sense of drawing remains a mystery. When medical research of these skulls found no signs of violence, it can not therefore be the remains of people executed.




Sightseeing of the place of pilgrimage


Already on arrival a Křtiny from Brno, we are impressed by monumenality of buildings. We entered the complex through the cloisters of the church and  in front of us appeared the chimes and cloisters. Above us rises a temple tower and next to us is the nave. All around the cloister there are paintings devoted to the temple. After reviewing the cloister we finally entered the church itself, where dominates the statue of the Virgin Mary on the altar and main circular nave beautifully lit and the semicircular portion extending further. All richly decorated with frescoes across the ceiling. It is rather unusual that we can walk around the entire altar and stand behind the altar. However, the richly decorated church gives impression natural and omnipresent light brings  us  in peace and tranquility. And then certainly symmetries of shapes using a circle that is reassuring element.


Many information material on this site, we can  buy here or just browse them.



Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel

The famous architect  was born on 3rd February  1677 in Prague and died on 7h December 1723 in the capital. He was a significant Czech Baroque architect of Italian origin who is famous for his unique style called Baroque Gothic. His buildings are characterized by specific lighting and acoustics. Finally, symmetrical structures and original solution dispositions temples and buildings. One of the most famous buildings is the pilgrim church at Zelená Hora, which is a historic sight on the UNESCO list. During his relatively short lifetime he designed and built countless buildings, comprising churches, houses and palaces. These were new construction and remodeling or extensions. We can mentions for instance:

We can mentions for instance::



  • Praha-Hradčany, Prague Castle, Chapter deanery, 1705–06, reconstruction. Authorship documented. The facade is a typical characteristic manifestation of Santini's style.
  • Praha-Malá Strana, Nerudova, Kolovratský (Thunovský) palace, (Nr,.213-III), (at present seat of Italian Embassy), design 1706, construction during 1716–21, new building. Authorship documented.
  • Panenské Břežany, St. Anna chapel, 1705-1707, new building. Authorship documented. Chapel at Břežany  is ranked among the most important buildings of the entire European Baroque.
  • pilgrimage church. Of St. John of Nepomuk att Zelená Hora, a complex of cloisters, chapels and gates, 1719-1722, cloisters completed only  after 1735, new building. Author documented. Within the works of Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel  represents most clear realization and culmination of Santini's work.


Mystery of  Premonstratensian monastery in Křtiny

History of place of pilgrimage at Křtiny is for the first time mentioned in 1663  by monk from Zábrdovice Martin Alexander Vigsius in his work "Valis baptismi alias Kiriteinensis ...". He states that Křtiny were overturned and the monastery looted  during the Tatar invasion to Moravia in 1241. Decline of the monastery dated to 1423, when it was demolished by the Hussites to the ground and when the local church  was damaged as well. He adds  a report on the murder of nuns hidden in a convent. Their bodies were apparently buried under the rubble wall. According Vigsia only three of them were saved by fleeing into the dense forests to Zábrdovice monastery where they spent the rest of their lives.


However, this rumor or myth has no historical documents and so is still not clear whether there really was a nunnery and therefore  that tragic event happened.


One more evidence which could prove this  is Anonymous "Wanderer of Křtiny" which in 1706 notes: "At the German local church is a place where especially when damp time is, could be seen something red, as bloody. This place has been scrapped several times, but soon  the red spot could be seen again. The rumours came from ancestors that at that place some spiritual virgins were murdered and that spots their blood is ... ". James Tiehan in  1738 adds that red color of the place ceased to exist during the construction of the present chapel of St.. Anna at the end of the second decade of the 18th century.



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Preview of picture in folder Poutní místo Křtiny