The VKOL Red Church - Atlas Obscura

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The VKOL Red Church

Instead of sermons, this church became home to millions of books. 

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While the art of turning churches into cafés, libraries, or even techno clubs is nothing new within a country such as the Netherlands, Czechs have always been a bit more conservative. This church, however, stands out.

With a bizarre architectural style that stands in contrast to the city’s baroque buildings, this former church looks as though it belongs in the Baltics rather than Central Europe. The founding of the church can be traced back to the Germans living in Olomouc (Olmütz). A subset of this community following the Protestant faith had long lacked their own place of worship. The first chance they got was during the formalization of a new Olomouc urban plan, when the old fortress walls were torn down and new plots of land redistributed to its usually wealthy inhabitants.

With the Second World War having come and gone, the Germans were forced out of the city and their church fell into the hands of the Communist authorities. The reformists opted to turn the church into a harbor of knowledge, providing storage for the millions of books owned by the nearby Scientific Library. If one were to wander through the church, he’d be sinking underneath tonnes and tonnes of Kants, Palackys, and Voltaires.

Recently, the church has provided Olomouc the first glimpse into how the modern and the old can complement each other, turning the shell of the church into a modern 150-seater aula, holding photography expositions and cultural happenings, hosting a small café and providing hourly guides to anyone interested in the structure. For those architecturally and literary inclined among you, this place is easy to fall in love with.

Know Before You Go

You can check out the interior any time Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m Feel free to walk round the main nave or sit down in the entrance hall which doubles as a café.

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