Open-air sermons

Get to know the memorial trees under which Master John Hus himself preached.

An interdict was declared over John Hus in 1412. It would pass on to anybody who was in contact with him, i.e., the person would not be allowed to go to church, baptise children or anoint their dead. So as not to hurt his loyal friends, John went to the countryside. His great supporter Čeněk of Vartemberk found him sanctuary outside of Prague at Kozí hrádek near Sezimovo Ústí. It was there that John wrote his key works and he also went from here to give sermons in places far and near.

“I preached in cities and streets before, but now I preach amid fences, by the castle known as Kozí, by paths between towns and villages...”
His attendance at mass in the open air is related in many places in Bohemia to this day.

Chlístov Linden

What remains of the large-leaved linden today hardly matches it bygone glory. According to tradition, John Hus gave sermons under the tree in 1414. According to the age estimate, the tree could have been almost 150 years old at that time.

“Already back then, the linden was so huge that many listeners, anxious to learn the words of truth, would sit on its branches.”

The linden was scheduled for felling at one point, but was purchased by farmer Fidler of house no. 1 complete with the land plot, thus saving it. Public gatherings took place under the tree in later times as well. Over 700 people gathered here in 1900.

The Národní listy national daily reported at the time: “Over seven hundred persons, men and women, gathered from far and wide, villages and hamlets 2-4 hours away, and encamped in the meadow around Hus’ Linden, under which a podium was erected for speeches”. A windstorm broke the treetop in 1995, but the linden continues growing after a professional treatment. The tree received the most recent treatment in 2008.

Sudslavice Linden

A linden tree near Vimperk was also named Hus’ Linden. John Hus reportedly also preached under it. But its estimated age of 600 years would mean that Master John could have planted it at most. The linden is 30 meters tall, and the circumference of its trunk is almost 12 meters. Along with the Chlístov Linden, it is one of the two most monumental linden trees in South Bohemia. The tree received its most recent treatment in 2011. The thick top branches are joined by ropes and a little roof covers the hole left by a broken branch. Accordionists hold regular meetings under the linden tree. Mr. Vanický, the owner of the mill standing by the tree, will be happy to show tourists his old mill machinery.

Other tips along the route

  1. Chlístov Linden
  2. Sudslavice Linden
  3. Bohumilice Avenue
    • The recently revitalized avenue above the hamlet of Bohumilice consists of 76 lindens, with an estimated age of 150 years. A table and benches for walkers are installed by the old path to Bošice, in a place with a beautiful view.
  4. Sudslavice Circuit nature trail
    • The nature trail about 5 km from Vimperk was built in 1974-1977. It begins by the Sudslavice Linden and has 15 stops. It crosses the Opolenec Nature Reserve, dominated by fragments of scree forest, shrubs and mesophilic submontane meadows. There are numerous limestone rock outcrops. The site supports 7 species of orchids and the rare flower Gentianella bohemica.