The Icarus of Pieniny - brother Cyprian from Czerwony Klasztor (Red Cloister)

What do an 18th century monk from Czerwony Klasztor and Leonardo da Vinci have in common? According to the legend, the monk designed a flying machine. read more

What do an 18th century monk from Czerwony Klasztor and Leonardo da Vinci have in common? According to the legend, the monk designed a flying machine. Historians emphasize that he was a herb expert and a medic. A film shot in 2011 aims to show what really happened. The legend of brother Cyprian from Czerwony Klasztor was one of the vivid stories written down by the 19th century travelers. That enigmatic monk was supposedly a constructor of a weird machine compared to the invention of Leonardo da Vinci. Cyprian's flight was supposed to start on the top of Trzy Korony and - according to one of the versions - to end in Morskie Oko dell in the Tatra Mountains. There the audacious monk was turned into a rock, admired by the tourists to this day.

Research has shown that Cyprian was a historical figure. Franz Ignatz Jäschke was from Silesia and he came to the Camaldolese hermitage in an unknown way in the mid-eighteenth century. At that time Czerwony Klasztor became one of the most important culture-forming centres, influencing whole Slovakia. Cyprian went down in history as an herb expert and a medic. His carefully prepared herbarium has remained to this day.

But the legend has its own rules; it seduces the reader with fairytale aura and extraordinary adventures. Jan Wiktor has written two literary versions of this legend. His historical novel Skrzydlaty mnich (Winged monk, 1948) has been reissued recently. The other version was created by Wiktor in his subsequent book Miłość wśród płonących wzgórz (Love Among the Burning Hills). In both cases Cyprian's character is a rebel, opposing the feudal system of those days.

Quite recently a new version of the Czerwony Klasztor monk's story has been presented by a Slovak director Mariana Čengel-Solčanska in her debut film Latający mnich i tajemnica da Vinci (The Flying Monk and the Mystery of da Vinci). It is an interesting, evocative film, enriched with a variety of beautiful landscapes of Pieniny.

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