Posted by: LM | May 22, 2008

Svaty Jan Pod Skalou (St. John Under the Cliff)

This trip into “the nature” was special for me for several reasons. First of all, it was my first time in a car since I’d left home about a month and a half before. As much as I do love public transportation, it was great to sit in a car again. The second thing that made this trip special was that I climbed a mountain. Now, if you know me well you know that hiking ranks pretty high on my “most hated things to do” list. I downright loath hiking. I have asthma and I’m not in such great physical shape so hiking for me is… well, it’s painful. I can never breathe right and my legs get that jell-o feeling. It’s just not pleasant. This hike, though, was an exception. I actually really enjoyed myself. I wasn’t told there was going to be a hike, which is probably why I agreed to go. Had I been told that I would be forced to climb a massive mountain I probably would’ve opted out of the entire venture, car ride or not

Ok that might not seem big to you, but that’s after we already hiked half-way up the mountain. Feel sorry for me now? haha. This thing was goglinormous, and I’m not lyin. Just so we’re clear, here’s the view from the top:

That’s a picture of me defying death and sitting on the edge of a mountain. It’s a straight down drop. This cliff isn’t playing. Probably my favorite thing about climbing this mountain was the fact that they actually carved stairs out of the side of it so that tourists (like me) could conveniently ascend the peak and feel good about themselves. I’m as equally unfond of stairs as I am of mountains. As far as I’m concerned, this was no convenience. If they’d installed an escalator maybe I’d have been satisfied.

Svaty Jan Pod Skalou actually is the name of the city that houses this massive mountain. The “St. John” (Svaty Jan) being referred to is the name of the church that’s in the shadow of the cliff. We stopped by there too. We were given a tour by a little old Czech man who explained to us the legend of St. Ivan (whose tomb is below the church) and showed us a painting from the 17th century called “The Revelation of St. John”. A legend associated with this city is the legend of Saint Ivan who was a hermit who lived in a cave near the cliff. According to the legend, St. Ivan chose to live a life of solitude to be better in touch with God. He lived by himself in the cave for 42 years and during that time was repeatedly visited by St. John who would give him revelations. One day the first Czech Christian Duke, Borivoj, met St. Ivan in the woods by his cave and offered to let Ivan live in his castle with him. Ivan refused, but upon his death he wrote to Borivoj that St. John had come to him and revealed that Borivoj would be the one to consecrate the mountain and build a church there. The city also used to be the city of a Benedictine Monastery.

Like so many of my experiences in Prague, it wasn’t necessarily the mountain or the history that made this particular adventure to great. It was really just a beautiful backdrop for the other teacher and I to get some time away from the craziness of our lives and have some fun together. I haven’t climbed a mountain since that day and I probably won’t until unless a gun is held to my temple. Still, jell-o legs are worth a good time with friends and a beautiful view from the top.

I wish I had a video to show you, but none of them are in the right format apparently.

To read more about Svaty Jan Pod Skalou click here.


  1. Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  2. Hello !!!! 😉
    I am Piter Kokoniz. Just want to tell, that I like your blog very much!
    And want to ask you: what was the reasson for you to start this blog?
    Sorry for my bad english:)

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