The international service of Czech Radio 
19-7-2019, 07:50 UTC
Photo Tour of the Czech Republic
 
Sumava I

This is a land of deep forests, peaceful and romantic valleys with clean rivers and streams, vast bogs, mountain meadows and pastures, magical lakes, granite rocks, magnificent views and watch-towers and small castles as well - this is Sumava. It is one of the most beautiful mountain massifs in the Czech Republic spreading along the border with Austria and Germany. Sumava is said to have got its name from the Czech word "sum", meaning "hum", reffering to the sound of the breeze in the trees. It is true that the "green lungs of Europe" (formed together with the neighboring hills on the Bavarian side of the border) is really one of the cleanest locations in Europe. The area is famous for gold mining - (mainly near the town of Kasperské Hory), and the production of glass. We can find good examples of - folk architecture in the region (Kvilda, Dobra, Volary, Stachy, Borova Lada) and castles (Vimperk), towers or tower ruins (Velhartice, Kasperk), fine municipal architecture (Prachatice) or remarkable industrial monuments. There are also numerous historic churches.

The small mountain village Kvilda is a famous winter holiday centre. It lies 15 km south-west of the town Vimperk on the main headstream of the Vltava river called Tepla Vltava (Hot Vltava). It is the highest located village in the Czech Republic - 1058 m above sea level. The name Kvilda was applied to the forest nearby where gold was found in the 14th century. One part of the trade route Zlata Stezka (Golden Path) led here from 1366. A lumber settlement, which is first mentioned in 1569, arose here at the turn of the 16th century. In 1794 the glassworks,- which were very well-known for their production of folk pictures painted on glass,- were founded in Kvilda. The neo-Gothic St. Stephen's Church was built between 1892 - 1894 in the place of the original wooden church from 1765. Its facade is shingled.

Ruins of Kasperk Castle - The very well preserved ruins of the Gothic Kasperk Castle tower on the rock spit above the Otava river about 3 km south of the small town Kasperske Hory. It is the highest situated royal castle in Bohemia (887 m a.s.l.).The Kasperk castle was established by Charles IV for the protection of the gold mines around the town of Kasperske Hory. It was an important regional strategic place for the King, along the Czech-Bavarian border. In 1585 the town rented Kasperk Castle and later bought it. It was the beginning of the end for the castle - the town did not take care of it and it became a source of building material. In the 20th century Kasperk was restored- and opened to the public. Kasperk Castle is a typical example of Gothic castle architecture of the 14th century with its residential palace situated between two towers. Now only a part of the fortification and palace with both towers and the western gate have been preserved. The remains of the advance fort called Pusty Hradek ("Forlorn Castle") can be found not far from the castle, about 500 m to the east.

Kralovsky Kamen (Royal Stone) - lies about 3 km west of the village of Javornik and about 6 km east of the small town of Kasperske Hory. Interesting rock formations can be seen on the top and a sea of stones lies at the foot of the mountain. A small folk chapel chiseled in the rock is situated near the peak.

Otava river Kvilda
St. Stephen's Church St. Stephen's Church Otava river
Kasperk region Kasperk castle Kasperk castle
Kasperk castle Kasperk castle Kasperk castle
Royal Stone Royal Stone Royal Stone
The chapel of Saint Jan at the Royal Stone Pusty hradek - Forlorn castle Strasin - Church of the Nativity of Virgin Mary
Svinna Lada Svinna Lada Former settlement Zdanov