The Chapel and Cross in Uhelná
The picturesque little chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary from 1867 stands near the local road and it is hidden by a linden-tree lined alley. It needs to be said that the chapel’s history has been quite turbulent and that only thanks to great fortune we are able to see the chapel with our own eyes and not only in vintage postcards.
The idea of acquisition of a chapel emerged during winter of 1861 and 1862 in a local pub. The local people actually felt the urge to construct a new fire house for their fire engine placed inappropriately in a wooden shed but they lacked money for the project. Moreover, back in 1849, they purchased a bell which at the time hung from the top of giant linden-tree which stood in front of a house No. 4. The location of the bell was not very suitable either, it even fell down from the tree during a storm. During another discussion in a pub on constructing a new fire house, this time with an attached turret for the bell, a new idea was presented by some of the locals. They wanted to construct a bay for an altar or at least a cross at the rear side of the turret.
All these circumstances led one of the participants, Wenzel Wagenknecht, to present an idea, which was later generally accepted: “Why don’t we build a solid chapel then?” The financial contribution came not only from local people but also from the owner of the manor, Earl Clam – Callas.
The chapel and its inner equipment outlived not only both world wars, it survived until the beginning of the 90’s of the last century. Although its state was really miserable, it was still covered with a roof, with a preserved altar and gallery. The chapel was sold to a private owner in 1996 and deteriorated for another 12 years and in the end it was repurchased by the town again. Since then, the town of Hrádek nad Nisou strived to get the financial means for the chapel’s rescue. The town’s effort was rewarded in 2016 when it was able to get the resources from the European Union project Paměť v krajině Trojzemí (The Memory of the Tri – Nation Point Countryside).
The rescue arrived at the last moment, all that remained at that time was peripheral brickwork and a single ceiling joist. The reconstruction started in July 2017 and by the end of the year it was almost finished.
The main objective of the reconstruction was to keep the chapel’s original character, to achieve its original shape as much as possible and also to work with materials used originally or at least supposedly. To reach that objective the vintage photographs became a valuable source of information.
You can find another cross if you walk little further up the road. On the sides of its sandstone pedestal there is a visible year 1806 and illegible remains of a text. It is one of a few of that kind of monuments which survived the period of destruction. However, we have no knowledge about by whom and why this cross was acquired.