Tuesday, 14 April 2009

M is for...

Most

This is one of the few remaining historic buildings of the small town of Most in the Czech Republic. During the 1960's most of the town's old and historic buildings were destroyed to make way for the lignite mines. However, one building was saved: The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, a Gothic church built in the 16th century.

The building remains, however the site changed. 'Prior to moving the building, the peripheral masonry, the bearing and supporting pillars were reinforced, and the remainder of the western tower was demolished. The church circumference was reinforced by a concrete ring and the church was gripped by a steel framework construction on the inner as well as outer sides. 53 transport trucks were set on special rails, which were inserted under all statically important points of the church. These transport trucks worked using computer controlled hydraulics, as were four booms used to pull the church. During movement of the church on the road section, rails which had already been passed over were moved from behind the building to in front of it, allowing them to be used again.' All houses that stood between the old and the new site had to be demolished as well, to make way for the convoy.

It took seven years of preparation and 28 days of actually moving the church 841 meters (920 yards) to its new site. They moved at a snail's pace: 1-3 centimeters per minute or about 30 meters per day. After the move they continued restoring the church until it was finally finished in 1988. In 1993 the church was solemnly blessed again. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is the heaviest building ever to be moved.

This photo was taken (not by me, but one of my colleagues) during a 'learning trip' through Europe several years ago. It was the start of my career as an international driver and we saw Paris, Trier, Prague and Berlin in about four days. Needless to say I don't remember much. It was however great fun and since then I've had the opportunity to go to Italy, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany and of course the Netherlands with varying groups of people, a chance I wouldn't have had if I hadn't been on that course.

For more M words please check out: ABC Wednesday
Oh, and here is my L word for last week. Since I wasn't even fashionably late anymore!

14 comments:

  1. Fascinating post.Moving churches is not something you normally see. Just read you are a tour driver. That must be a a fantastic way to travel and see the world.

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  2. What an incredible story! Certainly, as Babooshka said, moving churches is an ordinary happening, particularly one that old! Fabulous! great photo! Does sound like a great way to see the world!

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  3. Very interesting post to read. I have seen houses moved but nothing that big. Also enjoyed your bicycle post....hope you have your own back by now....

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  4. Fascinating story. And the photo is superb, too!

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  5. When I read posts of your travels and of interesting European places, I keep wondering why you want to come here. Are you really sure?

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  6. I suppose it's a bad pun, but I found your post MOST interesting!

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  7. It's a very beautiful photo, and a fascinating post - thank you.

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  8. I love the way they move historically important buildings like that. We were privileged to see an old church moved when we were in New Zealand in the 1980s - not gothic, not 16th C, not even stone, but a wooden building of sufficient age to be important and worth saving. They used the same method, but with rollers, taking them from the back to put under the front. Fun to watch!

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  9. A fantastic story! How much they must have valued that church to expend all that time and energy moving it.

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  10. Very interesting, Mara! Now I'm curious what lignite mines are...what a shame they would demolish historic buildings for a commercial venture. Your job has to be very interesting; I remember a bus driver we had on a tour from Florence to Rome. I was chaperoning a group of students, and they all just loved him! I'm sure it's not all "fun and games" for you, but you probably meet some interesting people as well as seeing so many fascinating places.

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  11. I'm glad they moved it instead of demolishing it! It's amazing that they planned everything perfectly enough to get it there in one piece. There is so much history in Europe.. sometimes I feel like Europeans take it for granted. Here in the US a building just one or two hundred years old is very old! :)

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  12. @Babooshka and Sylvia K: yes, it is the best way, since I hardly ever pay my way!!! However, the world of a Dutch tourbus driver stops at the European borders (mostly anyway), so no visits to beautiful places on the other side of the pond...

    @Carol: no my bike isn't back from the shop yet, that will take at least another week.

    @Anvilcloud: yes, I do want to move to Canada and I think there are lots of beautiful places and sights in that country as well.

    @Rose: lignite is a sort of coal (thank you Wikipedia) and the whole town was a sort of drab grey when we were there.

    @Everyone: thank you so much for your comments!

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  13. That's an amazing story! It would have been interesting to witness the move.

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  14. What an amazing story, I can't even imagine who would come up with the concept of moving a church!

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Any weighty (and not so weighty) comments are welcome!