Another term I had never entered into Google along with my location was ‘Templar’. Imagine my surprise and delight to find yet again that the Templars had been located very close to Brno! Apparently, the Templars entered Bohemia in 1231 during the reign of King Wenceslas 1 (Yes – the one who looked out on the feast of Stephen!) first establishing ‘Jerusalem’ in Prague. Later, by 1248, they had established themselves in Moravia at Čekovice near Brno and by 1250 at Jamolice also near to Brno. How did I never know this?
At the earliest opportunity, I was off to visit one of the sites – I chose Jamolice as it happens and the ruins of the Templar Castle – Templstejn. Unfortunately, I didn’t have too much time and was dragging my reluctant daughter with me so this would just be a quick recce trip to prepare for a longer one in better weather (-1 and snowing!). As we set out and I entered it into the GPS, I realized that this site was on the banks of the River Jihlava – the same as the ancient convent of Rosa Coeli at Dolní Kounice – interesting huh?
Finding the place proved to be difficult. But at Ivančice, we began to follow the river going in the opposite direction to Dolní Kounice. We passed through several small villages as the road narrowed slowly to a single track highway. The first village we hit was nothing special – just a bunch of small houses and farms by the side of the road and yet, to my utter amazement, one of them brazenly flew a Union Jack! In all my time in the Czech Republic, I had never seen a home flying a Union Jack on a flag pole and I wondered who, why and how they managed it knowing how patriotic the Czechs are…..
As we hit the next village, I had to stop and back up. We passed a church you see but this church was, well weird. Czech village churches have a look you know – a certain style. This one looked very different. I photographed it for future reference and research. The church is romanesque and dedicated St. Peter and Paul. It was built in the second half of the 12th century and has a central layout with apses added to three sides. Given the initial research, it would seem that the 1100’s were a significant time for this area.
As we followed the river along, we came across a very recent monument built in local stone and wood to the Templars. U tří Templářů. The monument was opened very recently across from the bridge over the Jihlava. The land above it and to the side of it has that look – as if it has at some time past been worked by humans. We spent a few minutes examining the site with an image of Baphomet, two templars and a throne.
We set off again down the roadway by the river but eventually had to stop as we entered a gorge and the road seemed to become impassable. Despite my pleas that we should walk further, my daughter was having none of it and so reluctantly, I gave up my pursuit of Templstejn for another day. Next time, I would bring proper walking gear as I could see that a hike was going to be involved as the place is not accessible by road – at least not if you still value your vehicle. Besides, the walk would be very interesting.
So, we turned away and headed back the way we had come. Fate had another sign for us yet though as the old car we followed down the road back to Brno had a red Templar cross on it.
Yes – I must return.
I wonder what relationship the Templar site had to the Convent at Dolni Kunice and the strange little church we had seen as well. More research to do it would seem but this river valley – the Jihlava river valley – seemed to have something special about it…..