The Benedictine Skalka Abbey was founded by Jakub I. in Skalka, in 1224, to commemorate St. Svorad-Andrew and Beňadik. Jakub built a monastery near the cave where St. Beňadik was slain and later a church on the rock from which his body was thrown into the Váh river. King Béla IV annexed a village called Geszte (today’s Opatová) to the abbey in 1238. The monastery grew in significance and soon became the spiritual centre of the Považie (river Váh) region.
The monastery’s development was interrupted by invasion of the Tartars in 1241. In late June, their northern hoards, defeated by the Czech king Václav I., massively fled to the old Hungary through the Vlársky mountain pass. They would plunder villages and towns with fire and sword, which also affected the monastery. In the years 1300-1321, life of the local people and of the monastery felt the iron fist of Matthew the Czak. The following period of a hundred years between 1321 and 1421 passed calmly, and nobody would disturb the godly life of the monks. They preached the word of god and did missionary work. In 1421 came the Hussite armies, with the rich Skalka standing in their way. The monastery would change various owners in the period of 1528 to 1545.
Jesuits came to Skalka in 1665 and started the haydays of the monastery In 1667 they began to reconstruct the monastery and the adjoining buildings, and built a calvary. The Jesuits were advocates of a new style used in arts – Baroque. Their gardens would have the most appealing kinds of fruit that was precious and known in the region of Považie, and beyond the Morava River as well. In 1713 they built a stove to dry plums and other fruits. They even had their own breeding fruit orchards. Behind gardens were mountains where the flocks of the best sheep were bred for high quality wool. The monks had fisheries; they even built a cellar to preserve ice. It was in 1722 when the monks dug a well in front of the monastery.
The Pope Clement XIV put the Jesuit order to an end on July 21, 1773. Monastery at Skalka thus lost much of its former significance and began to fall apart. Today, the only things remaining of the original monastery are the ruins.References:
Manarola is a small town, a frazione of the comune of Riomaggiore. It is the second-smallest of the famous Cinque Terre towns frequented by tourists, with a population of 353.
Manarola may be the oldest of the towns in the Cinque Terre, with the cornerstone of the church, San Lorenzo, dating from 1338. The local dialect is Manarolese, which is marginally different from the dialects in the nearby area. The name 'Manarola' is probably a dialectical evolution of the Latin, 'magna rota'. In the Manarolese dialect this was changed to 'magna roea' which means 'large wheel', in reference to the mill wheel in the town.
Manarola's primary industries have traditionally been fishing and wine-making. The local wine, called Sciacchetrà, is especially renowned; references from Roman writings mention the high quality of the wine produced in the region.