St. Mary’s Chapel in Hluboká rokle near Lipnice

Roughly halfway between Studený and Lipnice, near the road above the wooded rocky Hluboká rokle (Tiefen Loch), there stands a forest chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, nestling under the crowns of giant spruces. It stands by the ancient, probably actually mediaeval “Šluknov-Prague courier route” (“Schluckenau-Prager Botenweg” - Herr 1993), that ran in a straight line intersecting the narrow deep rocky gorge, at the bottom of which runs the silver ribbon of a little stream. According to the account of Petr Kühn and his son, in 2010 a bridge could clearly be seen below the new road. The rocky slopes of the ravine were too steep for the new road built in the second half of the 19th century, and so it had to follow a winding route. The old road on the south slope of the gorge towards Lipnice passes by part of the massif, along a section of carved-out wall several dozen metres long, opposite which on the other side of the path a narrow rock column projects rises up from the bottom of the valley. Now it is hard to know whether the old road passed between the column and the rock wall or if it was hewn out from what was originally one single rock massif. A “chapel” was carved into the remains of the rock part of the tower in 1773. The remains of the bridge were swept away in the early evening of 9th June 2009 during a catastrophic rainstorm followed by a flood wave more than 99 m high, which carried off everything in its path. Everything else was changed during later construction work.

The niche of the chapel is dominated by a deep relief of the Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus in her arms, carved along the lines of the miraculous statue of Mary from Česká Kamenice. The inscriptions on the cartouches, which carry two angels aloft, proclaim that the chapel was established in 1733 in honour of God and His sorrowful mother by a local reeve in Studený, Christoph Austen, on land owned by Elias Schiffner of Lipnice. The lower part of the carved recess frame is partially covered by a relief depicting clouds with a pair of cherubs’ heads.

The votive building was built in token of thanks for the happy recovery or protection from the Plague that hit the Česká Kamenice region. As N. Belisová says, according to tradition, the foundation of the chapel was linked to the story of the Plague year of 1713, when the ten-year-old children of the Studený reeve Ch. Austen (owner of the farm at No. 11) and the farmer E. Schiffner (No. 24) of Lipnice. The parents of both children had both earlier agreed that their children would wed one another and that their marriage would forge blood ties between both families. During the darkest hours the farmers promised that if the children were to survive, they would build a chapel in honour of the Virgin Mary by the old Kamenice road in Hluboká rokle gorge. And so it was that in 1733 a beautiful Baroque rock chapel was erected on Schiffner’s land (by farm No. 24 in Lipnice). As the archive sources indicate, the actual process was somewhat more complicated than the story goes.

Address: 

Kunratice
405 02 Kunratice
Česká republika
50° 50' 13.4088" N, 14° 26' 8.1816" E

Category: 

  • Monument