How often do you visit hospitals? Sure, it does not happen to me regularly. When I saw the information about this place, I knew it would be interesting. The Kuks hospital has a very rich history, but I will write to you about it at the moment.
Kuks Hospital, despite its name, is not a place that resembles a modern medical facility. It is or actually was a huge rest complex. Currently, Kuks is primarily the name of the village and commune created centuries ago.
Kuks is located in the Czech region, whose capital is Hradec Kralove. It is about 50 kilometers from the border with Poland. Before entering the complex there is a parking lot where you can easily leave your car. Both one and the other side of the valley is rich in attractions. To visit them all you will have to take a short walk.
If you want to only walk around you can enter for free. Visiting facilities requires the purchase of a ticket. This place is open every day during the season (July-August) and closed only on Mondays during low season. Kuks is full of baroque to the limit, and his soul is sculptures that you can meet here at every step. In addition to the places described below, you can also visit the museums there. Ticket prices are varied and depend on what you want to see. Hospital (60 minutes) – 120 crowns, Sporks Crypt (15 minutes) – 30 crowns, Pharmacy (30 minutes) – 50 crowns, History of medicines production (without a guide) – 40 crowns.
Kuks is a spa and residency complex founded by F.A. Špork in 1695. It consisted of a palace, bathhouse, hotel, theater, library, monastery, and hospital. The hospital operated until 1938. It is called the pearl of the Czech Baroque. The owner did not save money during construction. In times of splendor, the Kuks was bigger and more famous than Karlove Vary. The Kuks was destroyed by the flood – two years after the death of the founder.
Side of life
The entire complex was located on two sides of the valley. On the side of life, there was a palace, theater, baths and a library – all that was important for a temporal existence. Many buildings have not survived to this day.
Side of death (Hospital)
The main complex that we can visit today is called the side of death. Objects located on this side were helping visitors and residents in the spiritual sphere. Even before entering the buildings, we can admire the sculptures – allegories of Religion, Virtues, and Sins by Mateus Bernard Braun. They are copies of original sculptures that can be seen in the building.
During the visit, we have the opportunity to see the hospital rooms and learn about the history of the entire complex. We’ll find out there about the owners and their history. A macabre curiosity is a fact that Frantisek Antonin Spork kept the mother’s skull in his room in an honorary place – today we can see it in a display case. In the first part of the exhibition, we can also watch the model of the whole area.
One of the well-known elements of the Kuks hospital is the gallery – Dance of Death. It was discovered during renovation works. On dozens of paintings, death brings the poor, child, king or pope to the land of eternal rest – the symbolism of the whole work is simple – we are all equal to death.
I saw this room as one of the first in the pictures of the object and it immediately caught my attention. It is simply beautiful and makes a huge impression. Carefully sorted medicines and herbs look amazing, especially in this stylish interior. An interesting thing is a unicorn hanging over the door, whose horn was supposed to be an antidote to poisons. This part of the complex is called the Pharmacy under the pomegranate apple.
As I have already mentioned, the soul of Kuks is sculptures. You will find them in many places. It is worth paying attention to the allegories of Virtues and Sins created by Mateus Bernard Braun. These are the figures of 24 women who symbolize human good and bad sites.
Behind the garden, through a small gate, we can go to the old cemetery. Špork graves are in the building. The cemetery is old and small. In the middle you can see the trace of a large chapel, underground crypt is visible.
It is a temple dedicated to Saint Trinity. Below the building, there are the graves of the Spork family. We can visit both the interior of the temple and its sacristy. The church is not big, but it makes an impression.
Behind the buildings, there is a garden in which various herbs are currently grown. In the past, you could also find fruits and vegetables that the monks bred for their own needs (kitchen and pharmacy). Today, you can take a walk among the hedge and relax by looking at the complex.
Kuks Hospital is a beautiful and majestic place. If you are in the area, it should be number one on your list. Interesting history, fantastic interiors and sculptures combined in the atmosphere that makes it a magical place.