Rovínek pilgrimage site

Once perched on a smallish stretch high up above the Vltava river, this pilgrimage site with a chapel is located on the shore of the Slapy Lake. The Assumption of the Virgin Mary Chapel was built in the Empire style in 1841 on the initiative of Jakub Záhorský, a retired soldier from a nearby village of Lahoz (the village is inundated by the waters of the Slapy Lake at present). The chapel was consecrated by František Kostka, a chaplain, on 17 October 1841 and in the presence of a considerable number of locals. Štěpán Hlavák, a poor wiredrawer from the Koralovice village, had a cross erected in front of the chapel at his own expense in 1878.Mass used to be celebrated in Rovínek twice a year (on Trinity Sundays and Assumption Days) since 1850, attracting thousands of pilgrims. Processions beginning in the Slapy village and heading to Rovínek would take place as late as in the 1950´s, but this tradition was not revived until after 1989.Since then, a small group of local worshippers gathers here on 1 May every year. Lead by no less a person than Miroslav Tyrš, the founder of the Sokol movement, a group of Prague´s Sokol members stopped by when hiking from the town of Mníšek pod Brdy to Prague via Svatojánské proudy (St. John´s Currents) in 1883.

Prior to the filling of the Slapy dam in the spring of 1954, the Rovínek chapel was perched 50 metres above the level of the Vltava river. A tourist restaurant called Záhoří was opened right below Rovínek on the bottom of the Vltava valley, specifically on the river bank in the upper part of St. John´s Currents in 1914. It was started by Mr Král, the owner of a nearby Záhoří u Slap farm. The restaurant was rebuilt a few times back in the First Republic (Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1938) turning into a fairly popular hotel. Since the spring of 1937, a ferry crossing over the Vltava river used to be located off a newly built road directly at the hotel. . The hotel used to be one of the starting points for most of the sightseers bound for the St. John´s Currents; pleasure boats would sail out frequently from the ferry terminal located just off the hotel, taking tourists to steamboats heading for the Štěchovice town. The chapel underwent its most recent complete renovation in 2001.

Ing. Rudolf Formis, a German expatriate, was murdered by two Gestapo agents in the Záhoří hotel on 24 January 1935. Having a radio transmitter in one of the hotel rooms, Ing. Formis would broadcast illegally on regular basis from here to neighbouring Germany. Ing. Rudolf Formis is buried in the cemetery of the Slapy nad Vltavou municipality not far from here.

Route and transport to the site

Walking (approx. 3,1 km):

The easiest way to approach Rovínek is to take the red-marked hiking trail (according to the Czech Tourist Club hiking trail colour marking); the trailhead is situated near the church in the Slapy village square. The trail will lead you effortlessly right up to the chapel. It will take you through meadows and woods and past the Zázračná studánka (the Magic Spring). It is a leisurely stroll that everyone can handle.

Cycling (approx. 4,4 km):

Bearing in mind that a biker may encounter a few bumps along the way, you can easily use the same trail as hikers. You can also use the route described below for those who go by car. The biking route is not too demanding.

By car (approx. 4,5 km):

Going by car is slightly more complicated and you cannot go all the way to the chapel. Drive through the Slapy village to a crossroads near a transport café; turn right in the direction of the dam and Nová Rabyně; the road from Slapy slopes past the Záhoří farm (to your right); after some 500 metres from the village, the road enters the woods, leading you into a left turn after another 500 metres; to your right, there is a small clearing at the side of the road where you can park your car. You will need to continue on foot, taking the red-marked hiking trail (see above) in the woods leading to the valley. It only takes a few minutes to arrive in Rovínek.

GPS coordinates - 49°49'8.96"N, 14°25'26.638"E


Map No. 38 / B5, KČT (Czech Tourist Club) series

Mapa 03

To view the route in more detail, open the file in a new window.