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|ČESKÁ REPUBLIKA||CZECH REPUBLIC|
|Plzeňský kraj||Plzeň region|
Nepomuk developed at a crossing of important trading routes from Bohemia to Bavaria and Austria. The original name of the town was Pomuk (first mentioned in a document of 1284), which was changed to Nepomuk after the villages of Pomuk and Přesanice were merged in 1384. Nepomuk obtained the status of a town in 1413.
Nepomuk is famous as the birthplace of Saint John (of) Nepomuk (ca.13501393). "John of Pomuk", in Czech "Jan ne Pomuk", became the origin of "Nepomuk". John studied theology at Prague and law at Padova. He became a notary in the offices of the Archbishops of Prague and later vicar general to the Archbishop. He firmly insisted on the rights of the church against the crown, which made him very popular among the people but unpopular with King Wenceslav (Václáv, Wenzel) IV of Bohemia (also German King). According to the legend John became the confessor of the Queen, but refused to breach the confessional secret (this version was declared false in 1961). It is, however, a fact that the King ordered him to be tortured and then drowned in the river Vltava (Moldau) in Prague in 1393. His body was found by a miracle: one version says that the river ran dry, another version tells that the Queen had an apparition of five stars (which later became one of the popular attributes of the Saint). He was buried in the cathedral of Prague. A statue of John Nepomuk was erected on the Charles bridge in Prague in 1693 (he later also became a patron saint of bridges and river crossings). It is said that when his grave was opened in 1719 his tongue was found miraculously well preserved. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1729, his feast day is the 16th of May. He is the patron saint of Bohemia.
The pilgrimage church of St. John of Nepomuk (kostel svatého Jana Nepomuckého) [right, no.1159: centre left] was built by the famous architect Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer in 17341736 in splendid Baroque style in place of an older chapel of St. John the Baptist.
The church of St. James (kostel svatého Jakuba) [right, no.1159: background right]
was built in Gothic style in 12901295 in place of an older church of the 12th century. Parts of the church were altered in Baroque style in the late 18th century.