The Wooden Saint Catherine Church in Ostrava
People who come to the wooden church in Hrabová are surprised by how remarkably well preserved such an old church can be. That is the first secret of the only wooden church standing in this industrial city. The explanation is simple – the church is completely new.
It is a modern structure that has been serving churchgoers since 2004. The original church looked very similar, but burned to ashes on Easter in 2002, along with the centuries-old linden trees amongst which the sanctuary was nestled.
During preparations for constructing the new church, which was supposed to be as accurate a copy of the original as possible, historians discovered that there was no precise documentation about the fifteenth-century church. The new church, then, was based on photographs and details remembered by local residents. Construction was carried out by a company that also works for the open-air museum in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm and is intimately familiar with historical construction methods. Therefore, today’s church was built in the same manner as the original—without a single metal nail.
The greatest mystery of the Saint Catherine Church that is still a subject of heated debate today is how the church in Hrabová actually came to be. The most common legend is that, as early as the fourteenth century, it stood in the Beskydy foothills’ village of Metylovice. Residents there decided to build a new stone church and did not know what to do with the old one. The residents of Hrabová, who did not have a sanctuary to call their own, took advantage of this situation. They made the decision to buy the church and dismantled it to the last individual beam. Allegedly, they were able to transport the beams through carters who hauled goods from Ostrava to the Beskydy Mountains, coming back to Ostrava with empty carts. According to this legend, they hauled church beams on the journey back instead.