The Tour of Břevnov monastery
Guided Tours: Church, Crypt, Old Abbot’s Residence and Garden Pavilion Vojtěška
Saturday: 10.00 14.00 16.00
Sunday: 11.00 14.00 16.00
Week-days: Preannounced Group Only
Central European time (Winter time)
Saturday: 10.00 14.00
Sunday: 11.00 14.00
Week-days: Preannounced Group Only
Guided Tours begin in the Granary (Information Desk).
ADMISSION FEE VALID UNTIL JUNE 30, 2018
Visit in Czech language
Adults: 80 CZK
Seniors (65+) and Students (15+): 50 CZK
Children (7–14 years): 30 CZK
Children up to 6: free
We lend you written information about the monastery in English.
Admission fee must be paid before the start of the tour in cash in CZK.
ADMISSION FEE FROM JULY 1, 2018
Visit in Czech language:
Adults: 100 CZK
Seniors (65 +) and Students (15+): 60 CZK
Children (7–14 years): 50 CZK
Children up to 6: free
We lend you written information about the monastery in English.
Admission fee must be paid before the start of the tour in cash in CZK.
Visit in a English:
Visit in a English–both on weekends and on weekdays–is available only after prior arrangement.
Admission fee for guided tours in a foreign language interpretation is:
Adults: 150 CZK
Seniors (65+) and Students (15+): 90 CZK
Children 7–14: 75 CZK
Children up to 6: free
Visit for groups with their own interpreter:
Adults: 100 CZK
Seniors (65+) and Students (15+): 60 CZK
Children 7–14: 50 CZK
Children up to 6 and Interpreter: free
Also visit for groups with own interpreter is available only after prior arrangement.
After we enter the monastery premises through a gate with a statue of St. Benedict, on our way to St. Margaret’s church we can see
— a granary, now an information desk and a beer shop, on the left,
— former agricultural houses and stables, today Klášterní šenk Restaurant, on the right.
Opposite the church there is the so-called Sartorius’ Convent, now the Adalbert Hotel.
B) The Baroque church of St. Margaret and the Romanesque crypt
Patron saints of Břevnov monastery and its church
Originally the monastery church was dedicated to St. Benedict (993), the patron saint mentioned above. St. Alexius and St. Boniface were the copatrons, most probably to remember the stay of the monastery founder, St. Adalbert (Vojtěch), in the Santi Bonifacio ed Alessio monastery on the Aventine Hill in Rome.
St. Alexius of Edesssa (d. circa 434) came from a Roman senatorial family. On the eve of his wedding he left for the Holy Land. According to a Syrian legend (dates from 450–475) he spent seventeen years in Edessa whence he returned to Rome. Here — unrecognized by anyone — he lived under the stairs of the house where he was born for another seventeen years. Before dying, the pope himslef visited him there.
St. Boniface of Tarsus lived, as the legend says, in the 4th century and died as a martyr in a kettle full of hot resin. He was buried in the catacombs in Via Latina, Rome.
Since 1045, Bishop St. Adalbert (Vojtěch), the cofounder of the monastery, has been venerated as the church’s patron saint, too (for more information about St. Adalbert see pages above).
At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the dedication of the church to St. Benedict, St. Alexius, St. Boniface and St. Adalbert (Vojtěch) sank into oblivion little by little and St. Margaret, became very popular as the patroness saint of the church, mainly due to pilgrimages. As it is written in Legenda Aurea, St. Margaret refused to marry the prefect of Antioch and confessed to be a Christian. She was tortured and imprisoned. In the prison a dragon appeared threatening to kill her but she killed it instead by blessing it with a cross. Shortly after she was beheaded (c. the 2nd half of the 3rd century). The relics of St. Margaret were given to Břevnov monastery in 1262. Today they are kept in the altar of Virgin Mary in the southern part of the church’s chancel.
Information for visitors: during the tour led by a Czech guide you can survey the church as the following account suggests.
St. Margaret’s Church
Exterior of the church
Cornices of both the main gables are decorated with two couples of statues, St. Adalbert (Vojtěch) with Duke Boleslav II, and St. Othmar with St. Benedict.
On the top of the roof above the chancel there is a golden “Cross of our holy father Benedict”. Four letters placed in the middle of the cross mean C(rux) S(ancti) P(atris) B(enedicti), i.e. the Cross of St. Father Benedict. The letters on the horizontal beam of the cross say C(rux) S(ancta) S(it) M(ihi) L(ux) (May the holy cross be my light) and the letters on the vertical beam say N(on) D(raco) S(it) M(ihi) D(ux) (May the dragon never be my guide). Letters around the cross stand for the words V(ade) R(etro) S(atana) N(umquam) S(uade) M(ihi) V(ana) S(unt) M(ala) Q(uae) L(ibas) I(pse) V(enena) B(ibas), meaning: “Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!”
Above the southern door (outside) which is used as an entrance today, there is a memorial panel put there by Abbot Othmar Zinke in 1715 to commemorate the completion of the church’s basic structure. The western door, with a grill gate inside dating from 1986 is decorated with the Cross of our holy father Benedict. It is opened on special occassions only.
Interior of the church
Under the organ loft four paintings can be seen (St. Peter, St. Paul, St. John the Evangelist and St. Jerome).
The tour of the church nave dominated by six side altars with huge paintings by Petr Brandl and statues by Matěj Václav Jäckel may start in the southern part of the church and will lead to the east, to the chancel.
1. The first altar on the southern side of the nave, closest to the entrance, is dedicated to St. Othmar, the founderabbot of St. Gall monastery (719–759). To dedicate the altar to St. Othmar was a wish of Abbot Othmar who wanted to honour his own patron saint. Altar statues: St. Alexius and St. Bonifatius.
2. The second altar on the southern part of the nave is dedicated to St. Benedict.
Altar statues: St. Placidus and St. Maurus.
3. Inside the third altar on the southern part of the nave the relics of St. Gunther (Vintíř) are kept. Since Gunther had not been cannonized yet and therefore could not have an altar dedicated to himself only, a small painting depicting St. Procopius, a hermit from Sázava district and later an abbot (d. 1053) who iswas supposed to be a Břevnov monk, had been added.
4. Close to the chancel you can see the altar of the Virgin Mary of the Benedictine Delights (Deliciae benedictinae). In the middle of the altar a painting of Virgin Mary is placed, a copy of a picture that was most probablyúdajně kept in the house of the Roman Anicii family (today it is the church San Benedetto in Piscinula), wherefrom St. Bendict, according to tradition, came. Statues: St. Bernard of Clairvaux and hermit St. Gunther (Vintíř; or perhpas St. Hermann the Cripple of Reichenau).
5. If we follow the southern part of the chancel, to the right of the main altar, we will find the tombstone of St. Gunther, embeded in the church’s wall.
6. The main altar was designed by K. I. Dientzenhofer. In its niche, there is a statue of St. Margaret. Above St. Margaret, the statue of God the Father blesses the saint, accompanied by the Holy Spirit above (in the form of a dove).
7. The choir stalls, made by the cabinet-maker Jan Sichtmüller, have been used for the prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours in the choir.
8. The new altar mensa is a work of Karel Stádník (1993). A relic of St. Adalbert (Vojtěch) is kept in it.
9. Above the entrance to the sacristy we can see a glassed-in oratory decorated with the coat-of-arms of the monastery. The oratory was intended to serve e.g. to the monks who were ill and thus enabled them taking part in the liturgy, that is why it can be entered right from the enclosure.
10. If we follow the northern side of the nave now, where the chancel meets the nave, we can see the abbot’s pew, with a statue of St. Adalbert (Vojtěch) at the top (with an attribute of an oar by which St. Adalbert was hit before his death by a pagan Prussian).
11. On our way back to the entrance we can see the altar with a painting depicting St. Adalbert (Vojtěch) meeting Duke Boleslav before founding the monastery. In the upper part of the painting, the Holy Trinity is receiveing Břevnov monks into Heaven, perhaps Radla/Anastáz and Radim/Gaudentius.
12. Between this and the next altars a Baroque raised pulpit is situated.
13. The middle altar on the northern side is connected with the Benedictine veneration of the Holy Cross (cf. the Cross of the Saint Father Benedict). The image of Our Lady of Sorrows, standing at the Cross, with a sword of pain in her heart was a familiar motif in the Benedictine spirituality. Statues: St. John the Evangelist and St. Mary Magdalene.
14. After having seen the last altar on the northern side of the nave — the altar of the main patron saint of Bohemia, St. Wenceslas (Václav) (with the statues of St. Scholastica and St. Gertrud of Helfta) — we come back under the organ loft.
Now we can walk through the nave towards the chancel again, through the aisle among the pews, and perceive the overall architectural and artistic composition of the church which is rightfully ranked among masterpieces of the Dientzenhofers. We can also observe the church vaulting which is decorated with ceiling frescoes by Jakub Jan Steinfels.
1. The vaulting in the chancel presents the Apotheosis of St. Benedict. Merits of the order are referred to here — each figure representing a different rank in church and society is provided with a number telling how many saints of that rank were Benedictines.
2. Paintings in the chancel and the nave are separated by a painted cornice with the convent’s coat-of-arms, the initials of Abbot Othmar Zinke and the date of 1719.
The vaulting in the nave is divided into four parts. They present saints and rulers who are in one way or another related to the history of Břevnov:
3. In the first part (watching from the chancel) we can see St. Adalbert (Vojtěch), Five Saint Brothers and two other Břevnov saints, St. Anastasius and St. Gaudentius.
4. Between the first and the second part of the nave vaulting there is a clock which used to measure time of prayers in the choir. It is accompanied by paintings of Dukes Boleslav II and Břetislav I.
5. In the second part we can see the Apotheosis of the Cross of the Saint Father Benedict. On the sides there are portraits of two kings, Přemysl Otakar I and John of Luxembourg.
6. Břevnov saints are presented in the third part: St. Anastasius (the first abbot of Esztergom monastery in Hungary), St. Gaudentius (later the archbishop of Gniezno, Poland), St. Gunther (Vintíř), St. Prokop and St. Adalbert (Vojtěch), a co-founder of Břevnov monastery. On the sides, frames with paintings of Emperor Rudolf II and Ferdinand II are placed.
7. The fresco above the organ loft shows us patron saints of Bohemia: St. Wenceslas (Václav), St. Adalbert (Vojtěch), St. Ludmila and St. Sigismund. Except them, there is Pope John XV and Pope Bonifatius IX.
8. The organ case was designed by K. I. Dientzenhofer and made by the cabinet-maker Tobias Meysner of Grossdorf near Broumov. M. V. Jäckel is the author of the statues of angels. In the period between 2004 and 2007 the organ was reconstructed, therefore the basilica — primarily a place of worship, of course — has become a saught-after place for organ concerts.
The crypt of the Romanesque monastery church dated from the half of the 11th century
The word crypt, Greek by its origin, means a space hidden underground. Here we are confronted with a liturgical crypt — a vaulted space, originally also funeral, mostly situated in the eastern part of the church and partially undreground (semi-subterranean space). In general, a liturgical crypt is associated with Romanesque architecture most of all for even as early as in the period of the Early Gothic, crypts had been excluded from building schemes.
After the Hussite Wars and reconstructions in the Baroque period, only very little was preserved of the Romanesque and Gothic architecture of Břevnov monastery. Discovering the medieval appearance of the monastery is thus bound with archelogical research first of all. Such research was conducted several times — at the end of the 1950s and between 1965 and 1974. When the latter phase had been finished, parts of buildings found under the chancel of the Baroque basilica have been opened to the public (1984–1986). Neither this research, nor the one conducted in the 1990s could focus on systematic excavations of the remains of the fundamental monastery parts; it could follow only the main reconstructive interventions. That is why our knowledge of the medieval appearance of the monastery has always remained partial.
As in other medieval convents, the overall disposition of the monastery has never changed much.
This kind of stability is evident in the approach to the space of the monastery church first of all. The church itself has always been perceived as the very centre of the life of the monastic community.
That is why a new church had usually been erected in the place of the older church, in which the members of earlier communities had been buried and in which relics of the saints and other remarkable persons had been kept.
This exactly is the case of Břevnov, too. Under its Baroque buildings, the remains of older structures have been found. In 1964 and 1965 the archelogist Vladimír Píša conducted the archelogical research and made several important discoveries: the base of Romanesque and Gothic well, right in the place marked on a Baroque map, the graves under the sacristy and especially the walls of the Romanesque crypt — a part of the former liturgical area under the chancel of today’s church.
On the basis of the research results it is possible to sum up the history of the crypt as follows, although we must always keep in mind that many hypotheses remain.
The first community which was brought by Bishop Adalabert (Vojtěch) to Břevnov from Aventine, Rome lived in temporal wooden buildings. These had been replaced by stone buildings by the end of the abbacy of Meginhard (1035–1089). A three-nave Romanesque church was built — with a crypt in the east, a chancel above the crypt and the main nave adhering to it in the west (with a narthex and most probably two towers). Next to the chancel under which the crypt was built there had probably been two smaller apses, closing two aisles of the church.
The crypt was built of small blocks of local marlstone. It was composed as a threenave hall, with an apse in the east.
The perimetre wall is divided by pilasters which together with two lines of columns supported a low groined vault.
During the construction some changes had been made in the original building plan: the vaulting was raised for about 1 metre (this is evident on the southern wall of the crypt) and some niches dividing the interior part of the perimetre wall were built up. Three south-facing windows had already been constructed with respect to the raised level of the vaulting, however, the window facing the north had reached only the former height of the vaulting. In the second phase of construction, the perimetre bearing elements were provided with coulmn capitals with abacuses as well. Eight columns — one of them, a reconstructed one, can be seen in the original place — were arranged four by four in two parallel lines and thus the square space of the crypt was organized as a three-nave space, closed up with a semicircular apse. The floor was covered with stone tiles originally. Except the remains of the tiles we can observe drain channels on the ground as well. The crypt had two entrances, a northern one and a southern one; the location of the northern entrance is visible in the wall probe of the Baroque crypt.
During the reconstruction in Gothic style, the layout of the crypt had been changed since it had not been used anymore. A partition wall had divided the crypt into two spaces of different size: it has closed up the eastern part whose purpose and relation to other buildings has been unclear since; the partition wall meant the end of the liturgical usage of the crypt. It is possible that its vaulting had been pulled down and the eastern part of the crypt was covered in.
The narrow western part of the crypt which is smaller than the eastern part, might have been used as a corridor linking the convent and the new pentagonal chapel, built much deeper in the ground than the floor of the southern aisle, by which the apse of the former southern aisle had been replaced. By the end of the 13th century this quite a complicated corridor had disappeared. Its new version had been constructed from the level of the church’s chancel.
The new building of the monastery changed all the monastery precincts to a large extent in the 18th century, mainly due to complete levelling of the building site itself. Baroque buildings have covered the monastery remains of the pre-Hussite era once for all.
Information for visitors: You are allowed to see over the crypt on your own, the following description and plan can help you.
It is possible to enter the subterranean part of the monastery through a door in the church’s outer wall.
After descending the stairs, the northern part of the crypt and the northern apse (the east end of the aisle) of the Romanesque basilica can be observed.
Visible remains of the original surface of the ground prove that the lower part of the crypt’s windows were almost at the ground level and thus the subterranean space of the crypt was lit by daylight. It can be noticed that the wall hidden undergound had not been built as finely as the wall above the ground level where the blocks of marlstone, well hewed and cut, fit perfectly in their places.
If you climb the stairs on your left and walk along the footbridge, you can see another part of the crpyt — larger windows (“younger” building phase) and the interior of the crpyt as well. At the very end of the footbridge a brick wall of the main altar of Dientzenhofer’s Baroque church can be seen.
After returning back into the little corridor it is possible to proceed through a passage, made for visitors, into the northern apse of the Romanesque church. The Romanesque masonry is visible from the outside only, for the interior masonry had been replaced by younger one.
Through a passage on your right, which has been made recently as well, you can enter a little cellar whose northern part adheres to the medieval cellars of the convent. Masonry you can see here was repaired during the time of the Baroque reconstruction. Little holes in the ground were left by wooden poles that would stabilize sodden and uneven surface.
The tour continues into the Baroque crypt of St. Margaret’s church. Brickwork we can see is a part of Dientzenhofer’s building for which older, mostly stone walls were used. There is an entrance from the church to the crypt, with stairs made of brick, covered with a stone panel (we can see the panel in the church close to the first rows of pews); from below the staircase and a burial chamber on its southern side are covered with glass panels.
The passage recently gapped in the Early Gothic partiton wall allow you to enter the eastern part of the Romanesque crypt.
C) Prelate’s residence
(the representative residence of the abbot) is another part of the monastery open to public. It is possible to visit it either on various cultural and social occasions or on guided tours.
However, not all the residence can be visited — it is not possible to tour over the ground floor where there are adminstration offices. The first floor can be toured over with a guide only.
The prelate’s residence was built by Kryštof a Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer between 1709 and 1722.
During the communist regime much of the residence’s inventory has been either damaged or stolen. Some of the original frescoes and floors have been damaged, too, what had been left, would change its place repeatedly.
The staircase leading to the first floor is provided with a grill gate made by Petr Josef Heinen, a blacksmith and locksmith of Kladno (a town near Prague); he is the author of most of the metalwork.
On the wall of the stair landing there are two paintings depicting the two founders of the monastery, Duke Boleslav II and Bishop Adalbert (Vojtěch). These fall into a six-piece series of the monastery patron-saints and benefactors painted by Jan Petr Molitor. The other four paintings — the first abbot of Břevnov monastery Anastasius (Radla/Astrik), Gunther (Vintíř) the hermit, the abbot of Sázava monastery St. Procopius (Prokop) and St. Margaret, the patroness-saint of the monastery — are displayed on the first floor.
The cloister vaulting on the first floor is decorated with eight ceiling frescoes by J. K. Kovář (1739) depicting scenes from the history of Břevnov monastery.
In the south-west corner of the cloister we can see a fresco depicting the reconstruction of the Gothic St. Margaret’s church, after the Battle of White Mountain.
Seven other frescoes are as follows:
St. Jadwiga (Hedvika) of Poland after the Battle of Lehnice, Poland where her son, Duke Henryk II of the Piast dynasty, was killed by the Tatars in 1241.
Building of the monastery by St. Jadwiga in Lehnické Pole, Poland.
Building of Broumov monastery.
Foundation of the provostship in Police nad Metují, Bohemia in 1216.
Foundation of the provostship in Rajhrad, Moravia, together with the figures of Duke Břetislav I and Abbot Menhart.
The former abbot’s dinning room is the first chamber in the southern part of the prelate’s residence.
The inlayed cupboard, designed by K. I. Dientzenhofer, was made by J. I. Dobner.
The chamber is used as a gallery as well as a lecture hall.
On the walls following paintings are on display:
Building of the Tower of Babel,
Skirmish of Horsmen,
Coronation of the Virgin,
a fragment of an epitaph with a figure of Risen Christ,
St. Apollonia, King David, Pensive Christ,
Holy Family by the Dutch painter J.-C. Monnot,
St. John the Baptist and St. Jerome.
The paintings fall into the monastery’s collection of art. Originally they were on display in various other places.
The second chamber in the southern part of the cloister would serve as the abbot’s audience room. Its walls are decorated with frescoes by Antonín Tuvora, painted in 1783, depicting fictitious Italian-like sceneries.
The ceiling fresco by J. K. Kovář celebrates Abbot Benno Löbel and his merits. The fresco presents a miracle performed by St. Benno, the bishop of Mainz, Germany (d. 1088, cannonized in 1523). In the background we can see the orangery of Břevnov monastery.
The vaulting in the corridor at the entrance to this chamber shows us the conquest of Břevnov monastery by the Hussites in 1420 (a fresco by J. K. Kovář).
A painting of St. Mary Magdalene (oil on wood, beginning of the 17th century) is displayd here.
The chamber called “Pompeian” is the next room on your tour. Its name is derived from the style of the frescoes — they were made in the first third of the 19th century; they were influenced by archelogical survey and excavations in Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The ceiling fresco by J. K. Kovář depicts the renewal of St. Gall monastery by its abbot St. Othmar. The floor is original, from the 1720s.
Four following chambers would be used as the abbot’s apartments. It is not absolutely certain for what particular purposes one or another abbot used these rooms.
The chamber in the corner of the prelate’s residence was the abbot’s study. When the conservation research was conducted here in 1992, two layers of frescoes with illusive altars have been discovered, one covering the other, on the same wall. The upper layer was transferred on the opposite wall. The ceiling fresco of an angel with the Eye of Providence was renovated by a famous Czech painter František Tichý in 1939.
The chamber is dominated by an inlayed longcase clock designed by K. I. Dientzenhofer and made by J. Sichtmüller (the clockwork is Enlish by origin, signed “William Barrow”). The same cabinet-maker is the author of both the prayer desk and the cupboard.
We move into the abbot’s bedroom with a changing room.
Břevnov abbots used to have a private chapel in the prelate’s residence. Its walls are decorated with frescoes of illusive architecture and allegoric figures of Faith, Eternity and Church.
In 1740 J. K. Kovář provided the chapel vaulting with a fresco “Duke Oldřich is meeting St. Procopius the hermit in Sázava”.
On the wall opposite the door a painting of St. John of Nepomuk at prayer (1747) is on display.
The southern part of the cloister leads into Maria Theresa Hall. While entering the hall, we can observe a ceiling fresco by J. K. Kovář presenting the foundation legend of Břevnov monastery (regarding the foundation legend, see also the Vojtěška pavilion in the monastery garden).
Maria Theresa Hall or Asam Hall is the most beautiful and admired chamber of the prelate’s residence.
Maria Theresa Hall obtained its name in 1743, in commemoration of the coronation of Maria Theresa, a remarkable ruler of the Habsburgh dynasty, as Bohemian Queen and acknowledging the monastery’s privileges on this occasion.
The frontal walls present two monumental paintings of the Empress and her son Joseph II, an emperor-to-be, on one side and her husband Francis of Lorraine (by Gottfried Auerbach of Wien, d. 1735) on the other side. Above the paintings there are the coats-of-arms of the rulers.
Portraits of other Habsburg emperors are placed above the four doors leading to the hall: Ferdinand III, Leopold I, Joseph I and Charles VI.
The whole of the ceiling is covered with a huge fresco by a famous Bavarian painter Cosmas Damian Asam called “The Miracle of Gunther (Vintíř) the hermit, at the court of Hungarian King Stephen”. (The alternative name of the hall is Asam Hall, reminding us of the author of the fresco.)
While visiting Hungary, Gunther (Vintíř) had been invited for a feast by his relative, Hungarian King St. Stephen and his wife Bl. Gisela. It was the time of Lent. Gunther the hermit did not want to break fasting by eating meat. Therefore he started to pray —he did not want to offend the King and Queen as well — and the roasted peacock came back to life and flew away.
Maria Theresa Hall can be entered from the northern part of the prelate’s residence, too, where other abbot’s rooms can be found. They were used for various purposes.
So-called Blue Chamber, which was named after the prevailing colour of its frescoes, is the first of the chambers in the northern part of the prelate’s residence. These frescoes with architectural motives were made by A. Tuvora. The chamber used to be heated with a masonry heater decorated with gilded ornaments (musical emblems). It was made by Václav Sommerschuch, a stove builder from Kladno (a town near Prague).
In two portraits the prominent Břevnov abbots, Thomas Sartorius and Othmar Zinke, are depicted, between them we can see the provost of Rajhrad monastery Matouš Ferdinand of Bilenberg, the first bishop of Hradec Králové and later the archbishop of Prague.
From the chamber windows you can see the monastery fish ponds. Behind them there is a housing estate, built in the 1970s, which was erected in the area of the former monastery village of Břevnov.
From the Blue Chamber we can continue our tour into the Chinese Chamber, painted by A. Tuvora in 1787 who employed the then popular Chinese motives.
From the windows on its northern side, a part of the monastery terraced garden with the orangery can be seen.
In the following chamber photographs by Jindřich Štreit, a famous Czech photographer, are worth noticing. They present the life of the renewed Břevnov community. The pictures were taken between 1990 and 1994 when the monks still lived in Sartorius’ Convent (today the Adalbert Hotel).
If we walk the northern part of the prelate’s residence through the cloister parallel to the abbot’s chambers on this side, we can view a part of a “portrait gallery” of Břevnov abbots (series abbatum) which symbolizes the monastery’s antiquity and continuity.
D) The convent with the enclosure
(where the monks dwell) is not open to the public.
E) If you follow the western front of the church and go along the convent, you will reach a spring called Vojtěška where according to the foundation legend St. Adalbert (Vojtěch) and Duke Boleslav II met.
The foundation legend and its imagination are rather enchanting. Duke Boleslav II and Bishop Adalbert dreamed the same dream in which God asked them to found a Benedictine monastery at the spring of Brusnice creek, not far from Prague. Both followed the instruction and met one another in the place shown to them in the dream. At the spring they saw a stag longing for water. Unfortunately, in the spring there was a log which prevented the stag from drinking. St. Adalbert pulled the log out, water spouted out and the stag could quench his thirst. The log — or rather a piece of a tree trunk with branch stubs — became a part of the monastery coat-of-arms.
This legendary event was sculpted by the sculptor Josef Klein. The wooden sculptoral group of St. Adalbert and Boleslav was installed above the spring in 1749/1750. The overall appearance of the sculptoral group is preserved only in photographs for in 1967 it was irrecoverably demaged by vandals.
The pavilion above the spring was most probably built during the abbacy of Bavor of Nečtiny.
Between 1724 and 1726 K. I. Dientzenhofer built a two-storey pavilion over the older, medieval one.
K. I. Dientzenhofer designed the terraced gardens of the monastery as well. He started in 1718, its final modifications took place between 1737 and 1738.
The gardens have been preserved, with minor modifications, till the end of the World War II. Unfortunately, after the Benedictines had been expelled from Břevnov in 1950, the gardens and buildings in them were damaged.
When the Benedictines returned to their monastery, with the financial support by the state as well as monasteries from abroad, it was possible to repair not only the church and convent with the prelate’s residence but also the Vojtěška pavilion (now serving as a parish centre), water supply adits and the chapel of St. Lazarus in the cemetery.
Between 2009 and 2012 a huge reconstruction of the garden was carried out, including the revitalization of the orchard in the upper part of the garden, the reconstruction of some of the buttress walls and fencing walls, and gates, the reconstruction of St. Joseph’s Chapel in the garden (in the engraving, it is the chapel in the right part of the picture, next to the monastery wall), the modification of the area close to the western front of the church with the statue of St. John of Nepomuk, building subsurface utilities, irrigation system, and the reconstruction of the orangery, a part of which is a gallery for young artists nowadays.
F) Not far from the monastery other places of interest once belonging to the monastery — a cemetery and a former windmill (built in 1722) can be found. The milling part of the windmill was turned into flats in 1900, later it was used as a lodging for university students, now it is in private possession.
The cemetery and the windmill (“Větrník”) have not been a part of the monastery any more, therefore they are not included in the tour.