St George’s Church, located in Lukova, Czech Republic, was in danger of closure until a local artist, Jakub Hadrava, saved it. In November 2014, the city administration commissioned the artist Jakub Hadrava to create an installation capable of attracting tourists to the building, allowing them to earn the funds necessary for the essential repair work. In 1796 a huge fire destroyed most of the church structure, leaving only part of the chancel and vestry standing to support the dying bones of the building.
Four years later, and for the next 58, massive restoration work began that completely transformed it into an eerie new Gothic style.
Exactly one century later, in 1958, it was declared a monument of national culture.
But during a funeral service in 1968, the roof of the church collapsed completely. Interpreted as a bad omen, the people of Lukova abandoned the church.
In 2014, Hadrava added something inside the church that made it special: a disturbing installation of statues depicting ghosts following an imaginary mass.
These veiled statues represent the ghosts of the Sudeten Germans who lived in Lukova before WWII and who used to come and pray in this 14th-century church.
St George’s Church was derelict and left to deteriorate for almost three decades, and this haunted installation was an interesting move to reclaim one of the most fascinating abandoned places in the world.
The initiative had overwhelming success with visitors coming mainly from Germany, Great Britain, Australia and Brazil, and the necessary funds for the reconstruction of the church were raised in just a few months.
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