The Svatý Jan pod Skalou Pilgrimage Site

Svatý Jan pod Skalou is located in the heart of Czech Karst and has been visited for several centuries, either as a pilgrimage site or as a tourist destination. It not only owes to the beautiful nature, but also to the rich history connected with the area of the former Benedictine monastery and the figure of the first Czech monk St. Ivan, who settled in the local cave at the end of the 9th century.

But the hermit didn’t have it easy, he was tempted by evil spirits in the cave, so he decided to leave the place. As he was leaving, St. John the Baptist appeared on the hill below the rock and gave him a wooden cross, which Ivan used to drive the spirits out of the cave.

As the legend goes, Ivan also met the first historically documented Přemyslid duke Bořivoj. After the hermit’s death, he had a chapel built on the site, which came under the administration of the Benedictine monastery in Ostrov near Davle in the 11th century. When the island monastery was destroyed around 1517, the Benedictine monks moved permanently to Svatý Jan pod Skalou. Before that, the Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist was built to the cave.

Further development of the location under St. John’s Rock took place late in the 16th century, when, after the discovery of the alleged remains of St. Ivan, pilgrimages to his grave began to take place, attended by high-ranking personalities. The church and the monastery grounds were rebuilt in the Baroque period and have retained this appearance to this day.

At the top of St. John’s Rock, above the village there is a breath-taking viewpoint with a cross offering a view of the monastery grounds and the Loděnický Brook valley that flows through it.

During the season, visitors to the village can visit the St. John’s Museum or the information centre for the Czech Karst protected landscape area. The Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, which leads to the Ivan’s Cave, is also open to the public.