Svatý Jan pod Skalou
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Svatý Jan pod Skalou 11, 266 01 Beroun
GPS: 49° 58' 09" N
14° 08' 04" E
Tel.: 311 672 115
SVATY JAN POD SKALOU (Saint John under the Cliff) with its abundance of natural scenery and historical landmarks, is one of the most picturesque villages in the Cesky Kras natural protected area. The history of the village dates back to the end of the 9th century when, according to legend, the first Czech Christian hermit, Ivan, settled down in a cave under a large cliff.
THE SAINT IVAN LEGEND
The hermit Ivan, worshipped as a saint, lived in local travertine caves, which have been preserved up to the present day. Ivan was the son of the Charvatian duke Gostimysl. Legend has it that he turned away from secular life and retreated to this silent landscape where he lived for 42 years. He liked the local valley so much that he decided to live there. God sent him a doe to feed him with milk. The hermit was tempted by demons and decided to leave the area. On the day of his departure, however, St. John the Baptist appeared on the hillock under the St. John Cliff and gave him a wooden crosslet, which helped Ivan expel the demons. The legend further narrates about the hermit’s meeting with the first Czech Christian duke and leader Borivoj during his hunt for bears in the local deep forest. The duke accidentally wounded Ivan’s doe. The injured doe brought Borivoj to the hermit’s cave where she later died. The duke was sorry for killing Ivan’s provider and invited the hermit to Tetin, his nearby castle, where he offered him a place to live. Ivan, however, refused the generous offer and returned back to his cave. Before his death, he sent the duke tidings from St. John the Baptist: ‘It was you whom God ordered through St. John the Baptist to consecrate this place after my death as a church in honor of the Virgin Mary and the St. Cross, and to designate St. John the Baptist as its patron saint.’ According to the legend, after Ivan’s death, Borivoj built a chapel which in the 11th century fell under the administration of the Benedictine monastery (the Ostrov Monastery, located on an island in Vltava River, south of Prague).