By car, Cycle, On foot
What is on the way: Geocaching
Distance from KV: 12 km
The history of the town
The original market settlement with its Romanesque church was founded by Slávek from the House of Hrabischitz in place of an older Slavic settlement in the early 13th century. Thanks to its strategic location, the settlement gradually grew into a prosperous town. A new opulent chateau surrounded by a beautiful garden, considered at that time to be another of the world wonders, was built in Baroque style during the heyday of the Ostrov Manor. On the outskirts of the town, an extensive Piarist monastery with a Latin grammar school was established. Initiated by the need of new housing for workers from the Jáchymov uranium mines in the mid-20th century, Ostrov has expanded by a new district known as the New Town. In recent years, there has been a gradual restoration of Ostrov historical monuments on its way: the town popularity among tourists has been increasing.
Attractions in the town
One of the most interesting historical buildings in the town is the large Baroque chateau grounds with a park. The garden changed its layout between the 17th and 19th centuries. Founded in the spirit of the Italian Renaissance gardens, the park was gradually completed by Baroque compositions with fountains, ponds and artificial rocks, gloriettes and gazebos, mazes and rich art decoration in the form of ancient god statues. A summer house used to be situated in the middle of the garden, along with a riding hall and an aviary full of exotic animals. In its time, the park was called the eighth wonder of the world.
Ostrov historical centre was declared an urban monument zone. Staré (Old) Square is home to the Old Town Hall building. A Baroque column with a statue of the Virgin Mary from 1685 can be found nearby. In Malé (Small) Square stands St. Michael the Archangel's Church from 1572, a Saxon style representative of the Ore Mountain architecture. The oldest preserved building monument of the town is, however, the Romanesque cemetery Church of St. Jacob the Greater from the beginning of the 13th century, standing in place of a former medieval settlement. There is a sightseeing tour available to those who want to visit the extensive grounds of the newly renovated Piarist Monastery.
The early Baroque monastic Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary houses the town gallery and an exhibition hall. Many cultural events take place here on a regular basis. The Chapel of the Virgin Mary of Einsiedeln, built between 1709 and 1710, can be found on the grounds as well. It is a copy of the pilgrimage chapel in Swiss Einsiedeln. Besides the chapel, there is the funeral Chapel of St. Anne and the Chapel of St. Florian, serving today as a memorial to victims of violence in the Ostrov region.
How to get there
The town of Ostrov is located about 12 kilometres from the centre of Karlovy Vary. If you decide to walk there, choose the path along the Ohře River. Start at the Main Post Office in Karlovy Vary and follow the green tourist route to the "Under the Prague Road" crossroads where you will turn onto the red trail and continue via the Šemnice Rock and Kyselka to Radošov. From here, climb up the yellow tourist route past the ruins of a hunting lodge all the way to Ostrov. The all-day trip, mostly along forest paths through wonderful countryside, is 27 kilometres long and will keep you on your feet for less than 7 hours. To get to Ostrov by bike, choose a side road from Karlovy Vary via Sadov and Hájek. Or take an intercity bus from Dolní nádraží (Lower Bus Station) or a train from Horní nádraží (Upper Railway Station). If travelling by car, use the I/13 road in the direction of Chomutov.