Prague, Dec 4 (CTK) – The Czech Catholic Church took over from the state Saturday the Mint House and the Prince House in Kromeriz, south Moravia, located near the UNESCO-listed Archbishopric Palace, which the communists confiscated from the church after they seized power in former Czechoslovakia in 1948.
The agreement on the return of the palace and the adjacent garden will be signed by the National Heritage Institute (NPU) and the church in 2016, NPU spokeswoman Simona Jurackova has told CTK.
Olomouc Archbishop Jan Graubner said the church wants to hand the palace and the garden to the NPU for long-term use. “It will be free, but with the duty to take care of them as a thrifty person,” he said.
Jurackova said the NPU has several offices in the palace compound and it will agree on the conditions of their use with the church.
The nearby Floral Garden, which is part of the UNESCO-listed site, will remain property of the state because its area is connected with new buildings that cannot be returned to the church according to the restitution law.
Graubner said the Archbishopric will ask court for a revision of the decision.
The Art Gallery in the Kromeriz Palace presents over 500 valuable paintings, and only the National Gallery in Prague has more important collections in the country. It includes paintings by famous authors such as Titian, van Dyck, Brueghel, Cranach and Veronese. Titian´s Apollo and Marsyas is the most precious painting.
According to the restitution law, which took effect in January 2013, churches are to be returned land and real estate worth 75 billion, confiscated from them by the communist regime, and given 59 billion crowns plus inflation in financial compensation for unreturned property during the following 30 years. Most of the property and compensation will go to the Catholic Church.