Look inside an abandoned 14th-century church that’s filled with ‘ghosts’

Ghost church czech republic
Ghost statues by artist Jakub Hadrava are placed at the St. George’s church near Plzen in Lukova in the Czech Republic. Matej Divizna/Getty Images
  • In the tiny Czech town of Lukova, there is a church that has stood for hundreds of years.
  • It’s been abandoned since 1968 when the roof fell through during a funeral.
  • People avoided the church because it was haunted, so now it’s occupied by 32 life-sized “ghosts.”

Do you believe in ghosts? If not, you might change your mind after visiting the tiny town of Lukova and its long-abandoned church filled with eerie white figures.
Czech Republic Ghost Church
‘My Mind.’ Petr David Josek/AP
They sit solemnly in the pews, congregate at the altar, and stand at the doorways, as if to beckon you inside.

Keep scrolling to learn more about the ghosts of St. George’s and their abandoned home.

St. George’s church, which was built in the 14th century, sits atop a hill in the Czech village of Lukova.
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The exterior of St. George’s. Petr David Josek/AP
Lukova is a small town 2 1/2 hours outside of Prague. It has a population of 708.

St. George’s was consecrated in 1352, according to Atlas Obscura.

The church has stood for hundreds of years, but it was abandoned in 1968 after the roof collapsed during a funeral.
St georges church czech republic
Inside St. George’s, a ghost beckons you in. Petr David Josek/AP
This contributed to locals believing the building was haunted or even cursed. The congregation began holding mass outside.
The church was left to rot, until the community decided to try and save it. However, no one could come up with the money.
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Outside of St. George’s. Matej Divizna/Getty Images
Understandably, this town of just 700 people did not have the resources to completely refurbish a church from the 14th century.

But in 2012, a local artist had an idea …

Playing off its haunted history, local artist Jakub Hadrava created 32 life-sized “ghosts” to live inside the church.
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One of his ‘ghosts.’ Matej Divizna/Getty Images
Hadrava used his fellow classmates as models, covering them in sheets and creating plaster casts for the eerie effect.
They sit in the pews and other locations around the church, giving the entire space a spooky atmosphere.
St georges church czech republic
Ghost statues by artist Jakub Hadrava at the St. George’s church. Matej Divizna/Getty Images
At first glance, they could be congregants in shawls.
The statues represent the Sudeten Germans, or German Bohemians, an ethnic group that used to live in the area.
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Ghost statues by artist Jakub Hadrava are placed at the St. George’s church. Matej Divizna/Getty Images
The Sudeten Germans were ethnic Germans expelled from the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia) after World War II. There were believed to be as many as 3 million Sudeten Germans in the Czech Republic and, once expelled, they moved to Germany and Austria.
Visitors from all over the world have come to see the ghosts of St. George’s church.
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French tourists visit the church of St. George. Petr David Josek/AP
The church’s popularity saw a boost in 2013, when a stylized video was uploaded to YouTube. It has over 260,000 views today.
Tourists have donated thousands of dollars to help repair the church’s roof.
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French tourists visit the church of St. George in the village of Lukova, Czech Republic. Petr David Josek/AP
The church’s caretaker, Petr Koukl, told Lonely Planet in September 2018 that tourists had raised more than 600,000 koruna, or almost $US26,000 ($AU35,739), for renovations.
While most visitors are excited to see the ghosts, “we had two or three visitors that refused to enter,” said caretaker Petr Koukl.
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Ghost statues in St. George’s church. Matej Divizna/Getty Images
We can see why.
“They peeked through the door, but didn’t enter because they didn’t feel well about it.”
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Ghost statues by artist Jakub Hadrava in the St. George’s church. Matej Divizna/Getty Images
Messing around with ghostly statues inside an abanoned church does sound like the beginning of a horror movie.
Think you’re brave enough to meet the ghosts of St. George’s?
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Ghost statues. Matej Divizna/Getty Images
The church is open every Sunday for a few hours, though you can always peek through the window to say hello to — and keep your distance from — the ghosts.