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LN: Architect wants to open church buried underground

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Prague, Nov 13 (CTK) – A young Czech architect proposed to make accessible a church that was buried deep underground within the coal mining process in Radovesice, 50 km northwest of Prague, daily Lidove noviny (LN) wrote on Monday.

The municipality of Radovesice, central Bohemia, was pulled down due to coal mining in the early 1970s and the only building that remained standing in the former village was the All Saints’ Church. In 1983, the church was buried by layers of ground that were removed to uncover nearby coal deposits and it is situated 90 metres below ground now, the paper writes.

Based on large photographic documentation and description of the burial process, architect Adam Kossler, 29, concluded that the church might still remain more or less untouched deep underground, with its roofs broken and filled with mining waste.

“It definitely has not been preserved in its original condition. I have no illusion, it may be a torso, but I believe that it is standing,” Kossler told LN.

Kossler proposed that a concrete well be made and the layers above and around the church be reinforced to create a concrete sarcophagus, from which soil and stones could be gradually removed. Finally, an elevator would be built to operate in the well by which people would get to the buried church. Another well would bring light into the church.

“It looks like a utopia, but it is technologically feasible. I considered the available technologies and consulted it all with engineers,” Kossler said.

After his plan was published in Intro, a Czech magazine on architecture, it attracted attention of several experts, the paper writes.

Architect Josef Pleskot praised the idea as one saving the country’s cultural and spiritual heritage. He said it is wonderful that such a project was worked out, even if it would not be carried out.

Kossler said representatives of the Severoceske doly mining firm that owns the Radovesice area considered his plan rather ridiculous. However, the firm does not rule out that the church might be opened to public. Severoceske doly has been reclaiming the area and the recultivation process is to last until 2030, LN writes.

The costs of the underground church project would be huge, however.

Kossler told the paper that he did not try to estimate its total costs. He said it could be similar to the building of one underground station of the Prague metro transport system.

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