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:
The two-tiered Roman amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in the city of Arles, which thrived in Roman times. Built in 90 AD, the amphitheatre was capable of seating over 20,000 spectators, and was built to provide entertainment in the form of chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles. Today, it draws large crowds for bullfighting as well as plays and concerts in summer.
The building measures 136 m in length and 109 m wide, and features 120 arches. It has an oval arena surrounded by terraces, arcades on two levels (60 in all), bleachers, a system of galleries, drainage system in many corridors of access and staircases for a quick exit from the crowd. It was obviously inspired by the Colosseum in Rome (in 72-80), being built slightly later (in 90).
With the fall of the Empire in the 5th century, the amphitheatre became a shelter for the population and was transformed into a fortress with four towers (the southern tower is not restored). The structure encircled more than 200 houses, becoming a real town, with its public square built in the centre of the arena and two chapels, one in the centre of the building, and another one at the base of the west tower.
This new residential role continued until the late 18th century, and in 1825 through the initiative of the writer Prosper Mérimée, the change to national historical monument began. In 1826, expropriation began of the houses built within the building, which ended by 1830 when the first event was organized in the arena - a race of the bulls to celebrate the taking of Algiers.
Arles Amphitheatre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with other Roman buildings of the city, as part of the Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments group.