On the western edge of historic Ostrov, there is a complex of buildings of the former Piarist college. Solitary chapels
were gradually added to the college, therefore the whole area was called Holy or Saint Precinct. In 2001 – 2007 the
area was fully restored newly incorporating an exhibition on history of Ostrov which remembers prominent owners of the
town dukes von Sachsen-Lauenburg and margraves von Baden. The restored Baroque buildings represent unique evidence of
the rich history of Ostrov.
Chapel of St Anne – Mausoleum of Dukes von Sachsen-Lauenburg and Margraves von Baden
The foundation stone to the construction of the chapel was laid by Julius Heinrich Duke von Sachsen-Lauenbuerg on 20th
April 1644. For construction of the family mausoleum he selected a secluded site beyond the castle garden. The chapel was
solemnly consecrated on 16th Septemebr 1633 and not long after that the remains of Julius Heinrich were laid to rest
there after his death on 20th November 1665. A central building of polygonal ground plan topped by an octagonal domed
roof with a lantern and a onion-domed turret was divided on the outside by two-layer row of pilasters. In the interior,
on the perimeter in between retracted columns there are two-storey recess galleries for tombs (cenotaphs) of the deceased
members of Sachsen-Lauenburg and Baden families, alternatively used as choir galleries. The family mausoleum is a rare
architectural monument, one of the oldest early-Baroque buildings in Bohemia.
Piarist college and Church of the Annunciation
The decision to build a Piarist college in Ostrov was made on 6th May 1666 by Duchess Anna Magdalena, widow of the late
Julius Heinrich Duke von Sachsen-Lauenburg. The construction in 1666 – 1671 was executed by Prague master-builder of
Bavarian origin Martin Reiner. The Church of the Annuciation, a single-nave building with a rectangular presbytery,
represents the core of the college complex. The nave is arched by barrel vault with three pairs of not-intersecting
triangular segments resting on massive interior pillars. In between retracted columns of the nave there are narrow side
galleries. Directly from the church nave a covered corridor gave access to the burial chapel. Originally there was a tall
independent angular bell tower covered by an onion-domed roof with a lantern. On the northern side there are three single
storey wings of the college attached to the church defining the inner courtyard with cloisters. From architectural point
of view, the facades are treated very soberly. With intervals the Piarist school remained in the complex until 1876.
A number of later significant personalities studied there, among others a well-known composer and Baden court
kapellmeister Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer (1656-1746) and a famous physicist and chemist Josef Loschmidt (1821-1895),
one of the founders of nuclear physics. In the 20s of the 20th century Czech actress Zita Kabátová studied two years at
the college, then a boarding school of the Sisters of Christian Charity.
Chapel of St Florian
It was built in 1692 – 1693 to remember the fire that consumed the castle but did not spread into the town. The author of
the building design remains unknown. A central angular building with bevelled corners is topped by a dome with a lantern.
The facade is divided on the outside by two-layer row of pilasters with lisena frames. A conrnice-based dome displays a
painting of Killing of the Innocents and the Holy Trinity by Italian painter Paolo Manni. In 1793-1852 it served as a
granary and a storehouse. In 1933, it was restored as memorial to the victims of the First World War. After an overall
restoration in 2007 the chapel is used as Memorial to victims of violence in the Ostrov area.
Chapel of St Mary of Einsiedeln
It was built in 1709 – 1710 by court master builder J. M. Sockh as a copy of a pilgrim chapel in Einsiedeln in
Switzerland. An oblong chapel with indented rectangular back displays rich architectural decoration on the front facing
the town. Above the entrance, there is a coat of arms of the alliance of the dukes von Sachsen-Lauenburg and the
margraves von Baden. The whole construction is topped by a tall gable displaying a relief of the Death of the Virgin.
A sculpture of St Mary is placed at the top of the pediment, and sculptures of St Benedict and St Maurus on the sides of
Other buildings within the Holy Precinct include: a small Chapel of the Mourning Virgin
by the Chapel of St Mary of
Einsiedeln, garden houses
in the castle garden and a small Grotto of St Mary of Lurdes
arranged in the garden wall in
the 20s of the 20th century.
Text by Mgr. Lubomír Zeman