Press releases

Mining under the Doly district of Karviná ends; “the leaning church“ comes to life

Mining under the Doly district of Karviná ends; “the leaning church“ comes to life

Ostrava (November 29, 2012) – Hard coal mining at the Doly district of Karviná is phased out. Specifically, under the legendary St. Peter of Alcantara Church ground subsidence stopped already. Here, the ground had lowered by more than 37 metres and caused the church to lean almost 7 degrees. Hence, the mining company could start a complete restoration of the church and today, the church building that underwent capital repair was officially handed over by OKD to the Church.


“In the early nineties of the last century, there was still a risk that the church would collapse and it was doomed to demolition. The fact that it was saved and that it will now welcome, in full splendour, everyone arriving in Karviná, documents new corporate culture of OKD and its new approach to reclamation and repair of mining damage. Care of the region is one of our priorities,“ said Václav Kabourek, Director of the Darkov Mine who was in charge of the repairs.


The restoration was carried out by the WINRO building firm from Velké Hoštice in the Opava region, which specialises in the restoration of historic buildings and monuments. Although the church is still leaning, it changed beyond recognition. It has a new facade made of a special material resistant to weathering, moisture exhaust ducts, a drainage system and repaired floor. The mining company invested nearly CZK 5 million in the restoration.


Thanks to a donation from the OKD Foundation, the church will also receive new bells still this year. It was deprived of the original bells by the Nazis. Although after World War II they were replaced by new bells, they were only made of iron. “But iron bells sound differently than bells made of bell metal. With the bells, life always returns, so this is a symbol of hope for this undermined area that life will return here again, too," said the Roman Catholic Karviná parish priest, Daniel Vícha. In the house of God, he now prepares to hold regular Sunday services and other religious ceremonies.


The Saint Peter of Alcantara Church was built in 1736 in the Baroque style by a member of the local nobility, Franz Wilhelm Larisch, in the place of a wooden church of St. Martin. Since in Cieszyn Silesia, several churches had been dedicated to St. Martin, Saint Peter of Alcantara was chosen as the patron saint of this new church. The uniqueness of the church does not lie only in its historical value, but especially in the circumstances that affected and permanently marked the building. After coal mining started in 1854, 27 coal seams with a total thickness of 46.82 m have been harvested from under the church. It was decided to save the church in mid nineties of the past century, when OKD arranged its first restoration.


Vladislav Sobol

Spokesman of OKD and OKD Foundation