CECHY POD KOSIREM, Czech Republic: A regal 19th-century horse-drawn hearse believed to be the world’s largest has become a crowd magnet for a Czech museum built single-handedly by a plumber with a passion for historic vehicles. Czech master craftsman Vaclav Brozik built the massive eight-horse hearse around 1895.
It is over four meters (yards) high, 6.5 meters long and weighs in at almost three tons. Vaclav Obr, a 45-year-old Czech plumber, recently spent two years restoring the hearse for his museum, featuring 60 historic carriages and built with European Union funding to the tune of 174,000 euros ($ 225,000). He opened the museum in 2009 in Cechy pod Kosirem, a town of about 1,000 people some 220 kilometers (140 miles) southeast of the Czech capital, Prague.
This year, the hefty hearse became the museum’s star attraction. Obr found it badly damaged in a nearby town about two years ago. He was then able to identify it with the help of a photograph hanging in a Prague museum. “When I saw the picture in Prague, I almost fell off my chair,” Obr told AFP. With the help of local craftsmen he managed to restore the hearse to its former glory, using the single photograph as a model.