Beautiful area in nature with amazing views, a place of rest and contemplation
About 30 km southwest of Prague lies on the Brdy ridge below the hill Skalka (553 m above sea level) a unique landscape and architectural element of the Baroque area Skalka with the Baroque church of St. Mary Magdalene, a monastery, a hermitage (retreat house) and the Stations of the Cross. The Baroque pilgrimage site, which also includes the Stations of the Cross, was built at the end of the 17th century. The area became a well-known place of pilgrimage in the 18th century. The place has an extraordinary view of the valley with the town of Mníšek pod Brdy.
The Church of Mary Magdalene was built in the years 1692 – 1693 by the builder Kryštof Dienzenhofer at the expense of Servác Ignác Engel of Engelsfluss and became the dominant feature of the Brdy ridge. It is the very first building of the whole area. The model for the church was a chapel in the French city of Aix-en-Provence, where St. Mary Magdalene spent 30 years in repentance. Of interest is the interior decoration of the church, which imitates a stalactite cave.
The area was mined
The church was built on the edge of a slope with a risky geological structure, in addition to the mined iron ore deposit. Due to the rapid development of mining in the 50s of the last century, the statics of the church was disrupted. The shift in the slope literally tore the church in two. The church was then deserted and overgrown. The part of the „Way of the Cross“ even became the backdrop for the series of 30 cases of Major Zeman. It is interesting to see the shift of the building on the repaired window.
The monastery is the work of the representative of the High Baroque Kryštof Diezenhofer and was completed in 1693 near the already existing church of St. Mary Magdalene. In addition to the Benedictines, the Franciscans worked here until the first third of the 19th century. After 1989, the monastery building was restored and in 2001 it was opened to the public. At present, the premises are used for exhibitions and cultural events.
Stations of the Cross
The Way of the Cross is a symbolic path following the biblical events associated with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Stations of the Cross in this area connects the church with the hermitage on the top.
A total of fourteen chapels from the years 1755 – 1762 connect the church and the monastery with the hermitage located above it wonderfully vertically. After 2010, the chapels were beautifully repaired. It is interesting that these chapels reached the finals of the „Monument of the Year 2017“ competition.
Sitting above Mníšek
Now the area is beautifully landscaped and the benches around the church offer a pleasant sitting, contemplation and a view of the town of Mníšek pod Brdy.
A hermitage was built by Kryštof Diezenhofer below the very top of the Skalka hill. The place is intended for a certain form of spiritual practice and prayer helping to restore the mind, peace and faith (retreat). The current user of the building is the Archbishopric of Prague. It is interesting that Cardinal Vlk spent the summer months here.
Stylish outdoor snacks
At the complex there is a stylish stall with refreshments, outdoor seating and a fireplace. This place is a very popular meeting place and an important refreshment station for ridge hikes. For many years, the local community and hikers have been gathering by the fireplace to roast burritos and play the guitar. It is interesting that there used to be a forest dance hall here.
View of the valley from the cross
About 100 meters southwest of the church, hidden in the woods, there is a romantic lookout point with a cross and seating from where there is a beautiful view of the valley.
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