Church of St. Bartholomew

The church of St Bartolomew is the second oldest sacral building in Pelhřimov. It was constructed in several stages. At the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries a basilica, some 11 metres long, was built within the ramparts. It was consecrated to the Virgin Mary (a change in the consecration took place in the 15th century). It had a high nave with a flat beam ceiling and two pairs of high, narrow windows, preserved above the existing vault. The aisles are vaulted. Today, this oldest part forms the centre of the church, i.e. its two front arches. Subsequently a Late-Gothic presbytery with high pointed windows and a choir above the prolonged southern aisle were added to the body of the church. The presbytery was most probably built between 1553 (the date above the portal of the side entrance to the southern aisle) and 1589 (date revealed when the sgraffiti were uncovered). The small storeyed porch of the former main entrance, which hides the Gothic portal, is from 1617, as indicated by an inscription in red clay. The church was substantially widened westward by reconstructions carried out in 1725-1726, which opened a back door, thus turning the church into a thoroughfare between the square and the area outside the ramparts. The back door used to be next to the present main entrance by the Holy Sepulchre. The youngest part is the rear of the nave, built behind the tower in 1836-1837. Access to the western side was opened after the ramparts had been pulled down. Once the ground was graded and settled, it was necessary to provide steps to the sacristy. The southern aisle had to be completed from the tower towards the western façade and the main entrance had to be opened in the western façade. During the latest reconstruction paintings were discovered, and subsequently restored, in the chapels between the supporting arches. Until the 1930s a watchman lived in the sixty metres high tower, built in 1576 and restored after the fire in 1766. During the reconstruction in 1937 the mortar was almost completely removed and plastic colourless bossage now decorates the corner. Most noteworthy are the geometrical sgraffiti, which cover the entire presbytery. Such use of coloured morfar in a church building is unusual. The interior of the church is for the most part Baroque; in the retable of the high altar are statues of St Bartholomew (patron of he church), St Vojtěch and St Procopius. The altar is flanked by statues of St Vitus and St Wenceslas. Other treasures are the tin font from the year 1517, an Early-Baroque altar, the organ dated 1767, the Stations of the Cross by Viktor Foerster and František Bílek's wooden Nativity.