The city of Prachatice was founded on the Gold Route; this was a medieval trade route used for the transport of salt from the salt mines of Austria into Bohemia. The city’s advantageous position, as well as its right to trade in salt, was responsible for its unprecedented period of prosperity during the Middle Ages. Prachatice became very impoverished after the Thirty Years’ War, however, which also manifested in a decline in building activity. This period of decline is now responsible for the fact that the city’s historical centre has remained nearly unchanged up to the present. The city’s most valuable structures include the Town Square with its Baroque fountain, the Renaissance Old Town Hall from 1570 to 1571, the pseudo-Renaissance New Town Hall from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and a generous number of Gothic and Renaissance houses adorned with beautiful sgraffito decorations. The entire historical centre is still surrounded by well-preserved remnants of fortification walls from the 14th century. There are plenty of marked hiking routes and educational trails around the city.
Bavorov is located on the Blanice River and was founded at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries on the Gold Route. The clear dominant feature of the town and its wide surroundings is the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary from the end of the 14th century on the southwest edge of the original historical centre. This is one of the most important structures of South Bohemian Gothic and is richly decorated.
Not far from Bavorov (about 5 km west/southwest), there is a ruins of a castle built in the middle 14th century by Petr of Rožmberk, located on the hilltop known as Malošín. The castle was originally built to guard over the settlements and townships located along the Gold Route, then was later reconstructed into a Gothic fortress. It has been listed as abandoned since the beginning of the 17th century. With an area of 1.27 hectares, this is one of the largest castle ruin complexes in the country. Its two watch towers serve today as lookout towers and provide a nice view onto the Strakonice landscape and the Šumava range. There is a variety of cultural events and gatherings that regularly take place at the castle.
This castle ruin used to be a royal fortified castle on a steep rock promontory above the Blanice River, roughly 8 km southwest of Prachatice. It was built to secure the safe movement of merchants along the Gold Route. Later, it was occupied by a certain unknown villainous knight, and the castle was conquered, pillaged, and demolished as part of a military action against him.
The best way to get to Hus is along the Blue Trail from Křišťanovice Pond (near the village of Křišťanovice).
This village is located 4 km north of Prachatice and is mostly known as the probable birth place of Jan Hus (likely 1370–1415). House No. 26, from the beginning of the 17th century, stands on the site of the original building which is considered to be Hus’ birth house. This famous Czech martyr is commemorated by a statue on the town square by sculpture Karel Lidický. Not far from Husinec, a valley reservoir was built on the Blanice River in 1934–1939. The dam holding the reservoir is a historical work in the Czech Republic, in that it is the last one built from stone.
This is the highest peak (1066 m ASL) of the Javornice Highlands. The top of the mountain holds the Klostermann lookout tower from 1938; it was raised even higher in 2003 because of the overgrown spruce surrounding it, and today it offers a magnificent panoramic view of a large part of the Šumava range and lower Bohemia.
This former glassmaking settlement used to be one of the stops on the former Gold Route. This popular and sought–after summer and winter recreation centre is peculiar for one interesting feature – it has the highest altitude train station in the Czech Republic (995 m ASL).
This picturesque village in the central part of the Šumava Mountains is the starting point for many hiking trails, one of which leads 5 km to the source of the Teplá Vltava. It’s unique in that it is the highest located Czech town with a church (1062 m ASL). The Neo–gothic Church of St. Stephan was built from 1892 to 1894 on the site of an original wooden church from the middle 18th century. The church’s outer walls, like other churches and cottages in other Šumava townships, are covered in wooden shingles.
Vilém of Rožmberk hired the Italian architect Baldassar Maggi di Arogno to begin building this hunting manor from 1583, inspired by Italian villas. The building work was complicated by the swampy terrain, so the manor was built on oak and alder piles. The entire work, including the Renaissance stucco decorations inside, was completed in a mere six years by 1589. The manor is surrounded by a charming Renaissance garden with a moat.
This is one of Šumava’s eight glacier lakes located at the foothills of Plechý Mountain (1378 m ASL), which is the highest mountain of the Czech part of Šumava. The surface of the lake covers an area of 7.48 hectares, and its deepest point is 18.5 meters. Above the lake rises an imposing nearly 300 meter high rock wall. In 1877, a monument was placed on a lookout area at the top of the cliff, dedicated to the writer Adalbert Stifter (1805–1868). The monument is a 14.5 meter tall granite obelisk. www.plesnejezero.cz
This is one of the youngest villages in Šumava, founded in 1834 and also named Eleonorenhein. The town used to hold a renowned glassmaking tradition which is now commemorated by a Glass Museum as well as a covered bridge (rechle) which used to be subject to flooding by the Vltava and served for catching and counting floating logs and timber. Lenora is a favourite starting point for canoers for floating down the upper part of the Vltava River above Lake Lipno.
This is the natural dominant feature of the Prachatice area as well as the highest mountain (1093 m ASL) of the Šumava foothills. On the top of the mountain there is a 27 meter tall white lookout tower which can be clearly seen from far away. There is a hiking chalet next to the tower that serves refreshments, and not far away there is a new park, one of the largest rope parks in Europe.
This is a valley peat bog named “Dead Meadow” at the confluence of the Teplá and Studená (Warm and Cold) Vltava Rivers with an area of 394 hectares. Most of the growth consists of a cage form of Pinus rotundata, and the rare carnivorous common sundew plant occurs here as well. This area is classified as a 1st zone of the Šumava National Park and as such is not accessible to the public. The Teplá Vltava may be canoed down, however, providing that visitors respect the rules of nature protection.
This is a symbolically modified starting point of the longest Czech river, or more specifically one of its headwater branches, the Teplá Vltava. It springs from the side of Černá Mountain (1315 m ASL) on the Czech-Bavarian border. There used to be a hiking chalet on this site in the past. Today, the source of the Vltava is a popular destination for hikers, bicyclists, and cross-country skiers in the winter.
The best way to get there is to take the Blue Trail from Kvilda.
This is the largest (68,064 hectares) of the Czech Republic’s natural parks and was founded as the third one in 1991. The purpose of the park is to actively protect the untouched Šumava nature with its unique highland peat bogs, mountain meadows, streams, rivers, and glacier lakes. There are a total of eight such lakes in Šumava, five on the Czech side and three on the Bavarian side. The Šumava forests are the largest continuous forest complex in Central Europe (which is why Šumava is sometimes known as the “green roof of Europe”) and are home to a large number of rare protected flora and fauna. The park is divided into three protection levels, the most protected area being the 1st zone.
This is one of the towns known as the “Gate to Šumava”. The town, as well as the fortified castle above it were mentioned in the middle 13th century. Today the fortified castle is a Renaissance castle. The town still retains remnants of the fortification which includes six defense bastions. The historical centre of town still contains several log houses from the 17th and 18th centuries as examples of Šumava folk architecture. Vimperk is known mostly for its glassmaking tradition as well as printing – some of the
oldest books in Europe were printed here.
This town, located on the boundary of the Šumava National Park, formed in the 13th century as an original packhorse station on the Gold Trail. The town’s advantageous location resulted in its rapid development. In 1871, Volary was granted township status.
Even today, there are many admirable Volary houses visible – this is typically a large wooden structure with a wide roof. Up until a fire in 1863, these houses made up most of the architecture of Volary, and at that time it was known as the “largest wooden settlement in Europe”.