The Church of the Visitation, Skoky
Žlutice, okres Karlovy Vary, Karlovy Vary Region, Czech Republic
GPS: 50°5’46.800″N, 13°5’49.720″E
The Pilgrimage Church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary in Skoky is one of the most famous Marian pilgrimage sites in the Czech lands, which in the past attracted thousands of pilgrims from far and wide every year with its miraculous healings.
Today, this cultural monument is in a very bad condition. She was the only one left from the disappeared Sudeten village of Skoky. It has survived many periods of depression, decay and vandalism. However, it is indelibly written in the saying: “…jumping Virgin…”, because it was this place of pilgrimage that gave rise to this saying.
The first mention of the village of Skoky dates back to 1518. In the village of Skoky, formerly Mariánské Skoky (originally called Stock or Maria Stock in German), mostly German residents lived, who had to leave the village after 1945. Those who stayed in the village or immigrated after the war were forced to leave the village in the 60s of the 20th century, when the only access road from Žlutice was cut off by the valley dam on the Strěle – Žlutická water reservoir. The village was then, for the most part, leveled to the ground in a controlled manner. Currently, only the ruins of the former inn, the cemetery and the baroque pilgrimage church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary can be seen here.
The massive baroque church was displayed on the site of the chapel with the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary in the years 1736 – 1738. The image of the Virgin Mary was displayed above the altar and in its heyday tens of thousands of pilgrims came.
After the ban on pilgrimage – the ban was issued by Joseph II. – the glory of the church began to decline. The last time it was repaired was at the beginning of the 20th century, and in 1976 the organ was even repaired and reconstructed, but after 1990, the church, standing in a completely abandoned place, was repeatedly looted and devastated.
Currently, the church is the property of the Canon of Premonstratensians in Teplá. Voluntary activities for the rescue and revival of Skok are covered by the civic association Pod střechou z Toužimi. The Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the Karlovy Vary Region and a number of organizations and individuals are also contributing to the reconstruction of the church. Benefit concerts are held in the church with wonderful acoustics
Part of the restoration of this pilgrimage site is also the restoration of the Marian pilgrimage route to Skoky, the so-called Skoky trail.