Ostrov monastery excavations and Svatý Kilián u Davle Church

On a smallish island on the Vltava, not far from its confluence with Sázava, you can find the remains of the Ostrov monastery dedicated to St John the Baptist. The monastery was founded by the Duke Boleslav II shortly before his death in 999.The monastery was to support the colonization of the region, which was only scarcely populated at the time and was a border zone between the land of the Slavník family and Bohemia, the land of the Přemysl family. It was the third monastery founded on the territory of today's Bohemia.

The monastery owned a number of villages in the area, including the Sekanka settlement located on the headland above Vltava and Sázava in the immediate vicinity of the monastery. The monastery and its surroundings were completely plundered by the Brandenburgers in 1278 and several more times after that. The monastery factually ceased to exist in 1420 when it was attacked and plundered by the Hussites. The monastery never recovered from this and the monks left for the monastery in Svatý Jan pod Skalou.

There was an archaeological survey carried out at the site from 1898 to 1899 and in 1907 and 1933.The surveyors uncovered the foundations of the monastery and found several graves. The relics found are stored in the depositories of the National Museum and exhibited in the Regional Museum in Jílové u Prahy. Even though the foundations of the Ostrov monastery are easy to spot, there is no easy way of getting near them. There is no access to the island and, if you do not own a boat or do not swim across the river, it is quite difficult to visit this undoubtedly interesting site. This is a shame as it is not only regionally, but also nationally recognized historical site. The possibility to open the site to the public would surely be welcomed.

On the bank of the Vltava, just opposite the remains of the monastery, there is the St. Kilian church, which is not as inaccessible. While it is also not open to the public, you can at least reach it easily and have a close look. The age of the church is still disputed. It was first mentioned in writing in 1323, but is very likely that the church was established soon after the Ostrov monastery was founded. It is the only church in the Czech Republic dedicated to St. Kilian. Near the church, you can find a detached belfry from 1768.You can also find a restaurant near the church; it is located by the road in a former vicarage.

Route and transport to the site

Walking:

This site is not suitable for a walk from Slapy. The site is rather remote and it is practically impossible to reach it otherwise than following a quite busy road in the direction of Prague.

Cycling (approx. 12 km):

You can cycle to the site, but given the fact that the route follows a rather busy road in the direction of Prague, the trip would not be pleasant. And what is more, you would have to go uphill for several unpleasant kilometres between Štěchovice and Slapy on your way back.

By car (approx. 12 km):

Slapy - Štěchovice - Davle / Sv. Kilián. The St. Kilian church with the belfry and vicarage is located directly by the road where you can also leave your car without worries. Directly across the river, you can see Ostrov with the excavated foundations of the monastery. Unfortunately, the island is inaccessible to the public and you must contend with observing it from the distance, from the bank. It is a shame as the situation could be easily resolved if, for example, the near-by restaurant had a boat for rent. Despite this, the site is very interesting and not far from the main road to Prague. You can stop in Svatý Kilián quite easily on your way from Slapy. I heartily recommend the site.

GPS coordinates

www.mapy.cz - 49°52'49.061"N, 14°23'26.316"E (vykopávky) / 49°52'44.53"N, 14°23'20.461"E (church)

Map

Map No. 38 / A5 KČT (Czech Tourist Club) series

 

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