DISCOVER SLOVAKIA WITH SPECTACULAR SLOVAKIA .

Churches and a monastery near Trenčín

In medieval times, there was a Latin saying “Ora et labora”, which encouraged people to “pray and work”. These words echo in one’s mind during a visit to Skalka, which is a place of deep thoughts and meditation, a world away from the city noise. It was here that the two Saints Svorad and Benedict alighted in the 11th century, and where they achieved their aim of absolute asceticism.

Skalka is one of the oldest pilgrimage sites in Slovakia. Skalka is one of the oldest pilgrimage sites in Slovakia. (Source: Soňa Weissová)

In medieval times, there was a Latin saying “Ora et labora”, which encouraged people to “pray and work”. These words echo in one’s mind during a visit to Skalka, which is a place of deep thoughts and meditation, a world away from the city noise. It was here that the two Saints Svorad and Benedict alighted in the 11th century, and where they achieved their aim of absolute asceticism.

Skalka is only a few kilometres away from the centre of Trenčín, and although it is almost impossibly quiet most of the time, it is also known as one of the oldest pilgrimage destination in Slovakia, to which about 15,000 pilgrims head each year, some from the Czech Republic and Poland. Their target is a complex of sacral buildings spread across the neighbouring villages of Veľká and Malá Skalka (Big and Small Skalka).

On arrival from Trenčín, the first sight for visitors is St Benedict’s Church on the top of a hill in Small Skalka. Legend has it that the church was built in the memory of St Benedict, who was murdered by robbers in 1033. The thieves believed that Benedict had been counting gold, when really he had been counting only nuts. The church, which features two towers in the Romanesque style, was mentioned for the first time in 1208. It is built on the area from which the robbers are said to have thrown Benedict’s body into the Váh River. On the opposite side of church, there is now a calvary.

One kilometre away is Big Skalka, where the alleged murder took place. In 1224, a small church was built on the site, which neighbours a Benedictine monastery, and a cave in the rock where the two hermits, and future saints, are reported to have lived. The monks in the monastery were also entirely self-sufficient and had their own masons, kitchen and pantries. These days it is a steep but rewarding walk to see such a peaceful place.

________________________________________

This article was published in the latest edition of Spectacular Slovakia , which can be obtained from our online shop.
________________________________________

Skalka

Benediktínsky kláštor Skalka (Skalka Benedictine Abbey)
The abbey is located
on a cliff 9 km from
Trenčín (in the direction of Zamarovce);
Driving from Trenčín: 9 km / 12 mins; Public transport from Trenčín to Skalka nad Váhom (www.cp.sk) Bus: 9 km / 20 mins

Pilgrimage on the Saints Day of St Svorad and Benedict every year around July 17

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Top stories

News digest: Pilot testing deemed successful

Coronavirus affects bus connections, gastronomy businesses send an open letter to the prime minister. Take a look at the latest in our news digest.

PM Igor Matovič presents the results of the pilot nationwide testing on October 26.

Slovakia orders a curfew and embarks on its COVID experiment

High turnout in testing in four northern districts, decision awaited on extending the project to the nation. Prison for a prominent prosecutor and parliament's speaker injured.

Waiting for the results of COVID tests during the pilot phase of the nationwide testing in the town of Nižná in Orava, northern Slovakia.

No balanced budget for next three years, this time due to COVID-19

2021-2023 general government budgets lack consolidation measures.

Finance Minister Eduard Heger