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Piarist College
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Piarist College
In 1666, Anna Magdalena Duchess von Sachsen-Lauenburg founded a college of the Order of Poor Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools – the Piarists. The order founded by St Joseph Calasanz, and approved by the pope in 1621, is dedicated to teaching activities focusing on musical education.

Duchess Anna Magdalena invited twelve Piarist fathers to the Ostrov college and Latin school. Simultaneously she ordered a Prague master builder Martin Reiner to build a college and a church close by the Sachsen-Lauenburg burial chapel of St Anne located out of the town walls. Plans for the construction were approved at the general curia of the order in Rome and the complex was consecrated in 1674.

Piarist college offered a rare opportunity of higher education and, being one of the means of recatholization after the Battle of the White Mountain, it served in the area as a counterpart to the protestant school in Jáchymov. In the burial chapel and later in the college Church of the Annunciation, a polychrome wooden sculpture of St Mary with baby Jesus was displayed. The work of an artists from Lower Saxony dated 1492 was brought to Ostrov by Duchess Anna Magdalena from a closed Benedictine monastery in Ebstorf in northern Germany. And as devotion to St Mary whose name the order include in their symbols is their characteristic feature, the sculpture and the whole of the Ostrov college were known since 1726 as ”Maria Treu“ - True Mary. The same name that is given to St Mary in litanies of Loreto. Ostrov Piarist college had a rich library that included a precious collection of rare incunabules and handwritten sheets of music. An illuminated Silesian manuscript of 1353 referred to as “Schlackenwerther Codex” belonged to the collection. It was a transcript of now lost Latin legend of St Hedwig dated 1300. Together with the rest of the library collection it was sold by the last owner – the municipality of Ostrov - in 1910 to a Viennese second-hand bookshop. The codex has changed hands on several times. Currently it is owned by a collector from Aachen.

Many important personalities in state administration, church and army were graduates of the Ostrov Piarist college. Two of them are significant even today. Baroque music composer and Baden court Kapellmeister Johan Caspar Ferdinand Fischer /1656 Krásno u Horního Slavkova – 1746 Rastatt/ studied there in the 70s of the 17th century. He was an author of countless pieces of both spiritual and secular music for organ, other musical instruments and vocalists. He was referred to as “the Bach of Baden”, he is recognized as Bach´s forerunner and his music is performed up to now. The other important personality is Johann Josef Loschmidt /1821 Počerny – 1895 Vienna/. He studied at the Ostrov Piarist college in1833-1837. His scientific work in the fields of physics and chemistry resulted in ”Loschmidt number“, one of the building blocks for the kinetic theory of gases and the formula of carbon compounds. He became a professor of physics and chemistry in Vienna and he is recognized as one of the founders of nuclear physics. In 2003 Masaryk University of Brno had a memorial plaque commemorating Loschmidt unveiled in the college building.

With intervals Piarists stayed in Ostrov until 1876. The whole complex was bought in 1897 by a German female Congregation of the Sisters of Christian Charity who operated a girls´ boarding school there until 1942. The next user – army troops – left the premises in 2000 and five years later the college was turned into a residential complex of 37 council flats.