7. Fourteen Holy Helpers‘ Chapel (the old cemetery)

Tourism Information System, obr: 313 title=

The ancient glory of the Šumava glassmakers has survived in this charming and stylistically pure Baroque structure, nestling close to the old cemetery wall, near Vimperk’s oldest church of St. Bartholomew. It was founded in 1708 by Michal Müller, probably the most prominent glassmaker of the region and the inventor of two new kinds of glass: the clear and extremely hard chalk glass, reminiscent of crystal, and ruby glass, produced with the addition of copper oxide instead of gold. From the original glassworks on the Helmbašský brook at Vimperk, these new kinds of glass spread quickly throughout Europe at the close of the 17th century, making the dominating Venetian glassmakers feel for the first time competition from products made by the skilful Czech glassmakers.

Having grown rich, Michal Müller intended to build the Fourteen Holy Helpers‘ Chapel as his personal memorial and the family vault. He started its construction at the very end of his life, dying at the ripe age of 70 a year later in 1709, and leaving the completion as a pious testament to his son Valentin Antonín. He finished the chapel and the crypt in 1714, as testified by the German inscription on the Baroque cartouche above the entrance.

The chapel is a single-nave structure with a square presbytery, a simple front with two shell-shaped niches and a small spire. On entering, the visitor’s attention is attracted by the small wooden gallery, the painted ceiling and the almost empty interior. The vaulted space vibrates with the silently excited Baroque piety of a man of many worldly achievements, yet one who retained modesty and humbleness when faced with God and eternity. The cemetery includes, among others, Josef Taschek’s tombstone with a 1862-statue of an angel made of Hořice sandstone by E. Max in Prague, and the grave of Vilém Králík of Meyerswalden, with a sandstone statue of the blessing Jesus made by L. Šimek in Prague in 1878.