Zavis Cross

In August, we wanted to take our Segways and go somewhere out of Prague and we pinpointed Southern Bohemia as our target.

Of course, we visited the beautiful city of Český Krumlov, which is a main tourist destination, although the Zavis cross is located elsewhere. Somewhat apart from the tourism as we know it from Prague of Český Krumlov lays a small beautiful town of Vyšší Brod, which has a Cistercian abbey found in 1252.

In gothic cellars of this old abbey, you can find a provincial art exhibition that brings the essence of a hypothesis about the origin of this extraordinary goldsmith sights.

If you want to see the Zavis cross itself, you need to climb the spiral staircase to the Rosenberg oratory, where you will face the legendary Zavis cross, whose value equal the famous Czech crown jewels and therefore is subject to strict safety conditions. The spectacular reliquary was ordered by the Hungarian king and contains saved remnant wood of the Holy Cross on which Jesus Christ died. The golden cross in now exhibited after 75 years.

In 2013, the so called Rosenberg oratory was restored and remnant wood of the Holy Cross on which Jesus Christ died is now exhibited in it. Cistercians of Vyšší Brod invite to this sacred place for prayer and contemplation. In 13th century, patriarchs made a golden cross for this significant relic that was often attached to a pole and carried in front of liturgical processions. Its challenging design makes it one of the foremost gems of European art of goldsmithing. It certainly is one of the extraordinary items made only by the mightiest of the mighty.

One of the hypotheses says that this gem was delivered to Bohemia along with Hungarian crown treasure in 1270 by Anna Mačevská which sought refuge in her daughter Kunhuta, the Czech queen, when escaping the struggles. Kunhuta's spouse, the Přemysl Otakar II., was defeated and killed in battle against roman king Rudolf I. of Habsburg at Suché Kruty on 26 August, 1278. The widowed queen then married Záviš of Falkenstein, who was executed for a plot against the king Václav II. beneath the Hluboká castle. The necrology of Vyšší Brod states that Záviš died on 24 September, 1290 and was buried in the local chapter hall and donated the wood of the Holy Cross of the Lord preciously decorated to the monastery. The cross left the abbey several times, but was always returned. The earlier arrest in younger Reinprecht from Wallsee was paid 1464. In 1464, the cross was paid out from an arrest of Reinprech junior from Wallsee. The cross was even stolen by Nazis, but was found at the end of WW2 in Austrian Altaussee. At the time when the monastery was abolished by the communist regime, the reliquary was put to the St. Vitus Cathedral Treasury in Prague for four decades. In 1991, Cistercians restored the monastery and the Zavis cross returned to Vyšší Brod.

 
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