In the forest of Zelizy, at the foot of Kokorin Castle, near to the town of Libechov in the Czech Republic, in a hollow among trees, is a man-made cave carved out by a monastery cook who became a national artist. In this retreat the young Vaclav Levy set about his cave, to guard it, monuments in sandstone rock of warriors of an earlier age in Bohemian mythology. The whole was a memorial to Czech identity – a majestic Slavin. The cave dates to 1845 and was a tribute that Levy made for the one-time monk, poet, and philosopher Frantisek Matous Klacel. This sanctuary in the woods became known as the Klacelka and included other sculptural works by Levy assembled there. In that place, among pine trees and brooding shadows, among rocks, Levy authored a national mythology recalling Blanik, with knights of old and soldiers to guard the cave. Here he sculptured these warriors, and others, including Zbynek from Zasmouky, Jan Zizka from Kalich, and Prokop Holy, with dwarfs hammering arms on an anvil for the soldiers – all waiting the day when the nation in peril, would summon them! These outer carvings protect the second part of the memorial, a chamber or room or cave, cut into the rock. This is the true Klacelka. The walls of this cave are festooned with sculpted reliefs from the fairy tales of Bajky Ferina Lisak by Frantisek Klacel.

It is not without interest that Klacel tended the Monastery Garden at Brno immediately before passing it on to Gregor Mendel who undertook his pea experiments on genetics there. Both Klacel and Mendel shared an intimate scholarly friendship and interest in pomiculture, breeding, and agro-improvement. A second historical feature of note is that Vaclav Levy the “monastery cook who became a sculptor” was the teacher of Myslbek, later one of the most prominent artists in the twentieth century in the Czech Republic. (From The Klacelka In A Slavic Woodland by Stacey B. Day, 2002).
Stacey Day at the entrance to the Klacelka Cave at Zelizy, September 2002 Blanik (Legend of the Knights) carved by Vaclav Levy opposite the entrance to the Klacelka Cave, Zelizy