T I P S F O R T R I P S : B Y B I C Y C L E
To Hoštice for Strawberries, Hay and Sun
Go from Volyně to the north and take the first right turn past the train station, up a slight hill, until you get the chapel of St. Anna. Built in 1836 it belongs to the village of Přechovice which was first mentioned in 1400. There is a 400-year-old linden tree next to the chapel. Continue to the village where you can have a look at the Bohemian folk Baroque buildings, which include house no. 9 with a granary and gate and house no. 13 from 1824. From Přechovice, continue to Hoštice, the village that is well-known in the Czech Republic thanks to the director Zdeněk Troška who was born here. There are two options to arrive at the village: either go along the busy main road and then turn right across the railway crossing at the train station or you can follow a field path from Přechovice. In both cases you will get to the small South Bohemian village where the streets are named after the characters and the director: Keliška, Schutterstein Strasse, Svaté Cecilie, Troškův sad, Pod Hurvínkem etc. The square is called after another personality that made the village famous: the singer Michal Tučný. His grave is decorated by a larger stone hat made by Michal Gabriel, covered by pebbles with candles always burning. There is also a fire brigade museum.
The village is first mentioned in 1274 when it was owned by Držislav of Hoštice. There is a single-storey palace with an early Baroque portal. The palace was built in the 17th century on the site of a fort. The design of the palace as we see it today comes from the times of the Chlumčanský family of Přestavlky: Václav Leopold, Prague Archbishop, is the best-known. The church of Virgin Mary was built with an unusual orientation north-south in 1593. It was reconstructed and furnished in the Baroque and pseudo-Renaissance style in the mid-18th century.
The village also used to be inhabited by Jews: there are remnants of a synagogue and a Jewish cemetery about 1 km north-west of the village with about 50 tombstones, out of which the oldest one comes from 1735.
From Hoštice, set off to the east past the former collective farm, these days known as Šimon Plánička’s ranch, named after the main character of the films mentioned above.
Another village you will go through is Milejovice. There also used be an estate or a fort until 1911 when it was parcelled out. Behind the village, there is a memorable two-armed cross that commemorates the soldiers fallen during the Napoleon wars. You will continue in the opposite direction around the St Adalbert’s chapel and when you exit the village, turn right and follow the yellow trail to the pilgrim’s place called Good Water where Virgin Mary’s church was built in 1889-1891 above a pond with healing and miraculous water. There is a station of the cross by the church with fourteen chapels. There is a fair every eleventh Sunday after Easter.
Follow the yellow trail to Střítež. The village lies on the other side of the Stráž hill. There is also a chapel there, built in 1885. Today Střítež is mainly known for its large gardening and therapeutic community. In 1879, František Valchář, a significant Czech designer was born there. Follow the blue trail through Neuslužice back to Volyně.
Yew Trees in Ktiš
The Ktiš Region is an interesting area at the edge of the Boletice military domain. Its capital, Ktiš, has existed at least since the mid-14th century. In 1420, Oldřich of Rožemberk annexed it to the Krumlov estate. The dominant feature of the village is St. Bartholomew Church built in the early Gothic style, rebuilt and expanded in 1687-90 and reconstructed in 1781. The church tower was raised in 1878.
At the square, there is a WWI memorial to the fallen and a fountain. The square is surrounded by typical German, or Austrian architecture left behind by the former German inhabitants. The whole area was inhabited by Germans after the Thirty Years’ War. After 1945, almost all original inhabitants were displaced and Ktiš and the surrounding settlements were resettled. At present, the municipality is building a ski resort on the slopes of the Chlum Hill (1,191m above the sea level).
The European Yew grows in Ktiš and its surroundings. It is an endangered coniferous tree, which was very common in our lands in the Middle Ages. It only reaches the height of 10 meters but grows very old. The whole tree is very poisonous. The famous Welsh longbows were made from the yew tree. Yew was also used for the production of expensive furniture thanks to its red colour and interesting grain. One of these trees grows at the local cemetery. From Ktiš, follow the red trail to the Ktišská Peak where there is a healing spring, too. The spring is called Ktišská and there is a chapel there dedicated to Virgin Mary from 1874 and the stations of the cross. However, the chapel is now used as a cottage, with a chimney in place of the belfry. Only the year in the gable and the covered pond reminds us of its original use.
Continue to the Ostrá Hill, cross over the Zlatý Brook and walk up to Chroboly.
The village has a similar history as Ktiš, it is mentioned as early as in 1317 as a forest of Strobole. The settlement was established by the monastery in Zlatá Koruna and later belonged to the Krumlov administration. There is an old church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, originally Gothic but later expanded in the Baroque style by J. J. Fortini between 1754 and 1758. To the north of the village, there is a spring which used to be called miraculous or holy. In 1902-03, a single-nave chapel was built there in the neo-Gothic style. It was dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. The chapel made Chroboly a pilgrim’s destination. Behind the village, there is a nature preserve called Chrobolské tisy with the highest occurrence of the European Yew in the Czech Republic.
Follow the main road back to the valley of the Zlatý Brook and walk through the village of Záhoří with the original storey houses with hip roofs and a chapel from the second half of the 19th century. Behind the village, at the turn to Příslop, turn right and follow the forest path along the Mackový Hill back to Ktiš.
There are some new cycling paths in the military domain of Boletice. The paths go through beautiful nature past places that have been inaccessible for a long time and have some interesting monuments, such as St. Nicholas’s Church in Boletice or St. Martin’s Church in Polná. However, the marked trails through the military domain may only be used on Saturday, Sunday or public holidays between 7 am and 9 pm.
Following the Footsteps of Jakub Bursa
Starting point: Vlachovo Březí
Trail: Vlachovo Březí-Dolní Nakvasovice-Bušanovice- Předslavice- Marčovice-
Length: 27 km
Access: by car, bike
Refreshment: Vlachovo Březí
Jakub Bursa was a very talented folk builder or rather mason-artist. His buildings are still captivating, even though they were built in the mid-19th century.
Jakub was born on 21 July 1813 in Dolní Nakvasovice. He was not the best of the pupils at school because he had to work at home as most of his peers. He was trained in masonry by his father and he was accepted in the guild of masons from Vlachovo Břeží in 1831 and began working as a master. He also had some experience from Germany. His personal life was not very happy because his first two wives died prematurely and he had to take care of his children alone for some time. However, he got married again.
The cottages built by Jakub Bursa have very distinctive features, such as the the Eye of Providence, a solitary eye framed by a triangle or semicircle. His gables are richly decorated and include inscriptions. The decoration differed from house to house. For instance, blacksmith shops were decorated with blacksmith tools, pubs with a table, beer, spirits or bread (which you can see at no. 23 in Radhostice or no. 15 in Kovanín.)
Bursa prepared everything without any plans and as he did not spend a lot of time at school, you can find many mistakes in his texts. He did not earn a lot of money as a mason and he had never been recognized during his life. But he insisted on his difficult relief decorations. He used to employ up to 40 masons. He died in seclusion, at the local almshouse in Vlachovo Březí on 19 August 1884.
To see Jakub Bursa’s houses, leave Vlachovo Březí and go straight to its birthplace, Dolní Nakvasovice, where he reconstructed farmstead no. 9 in 1847. The gable is decorated simply, there is a cross with torture instruments in the middle and there is an inscription on the gate of the separated granary which says that the house was built in 1847.
Another stop is Bušanovice where the gables of houses no. 27 from 1847 and no. 13 from 1860 have been preserved. In Tvrzice there are buildings from the later period, such as no. 7 from 1860, former inn no. 9 from 1862 and no. 11 from 1862. Předslavice is where you will find the best work by Bursa at the square: the gate to house no. 18 and no. 4. Above the gate, there are extensions with columns, plastic reliefs, pictures and inscriptions. At the Malina’s estate, no. 4, which belonged to the Malina family since 1655, there is an inscription below the cornice dated from 1848. Go from Marčovice Litochovice where there is an estate with a folk Baroque gable, house no. 2. In Čepřovice, Jakub Bursa probably built house no. 17: an enclosed estate with an arched gate with an extension. The gable is decorated by relief of columns, volutes and the Eye of Providence. In Jiřetice, there is a beautifully reconstructed blue farm, no. 4, built in 1843. It is an enclosed estate with a gable above the gate, a residential building and a granary. The estate is decorated by figurative ornaments and inscriptions. St. Vaclav is painted above the entrance. Another of Bursa’s building is no. 12 from 1852 with bulbous columns in the granary gable.
Return to Vlachovo Březí through Bohunice and Tvrzice. The inhabitants of Vlachovo Březí had a plaque installed in 1985, on the 100th anniversary of Bursa’s death, with the inscription: “In memory of Jakub Bursa, the mason master, creator of the South Bohemian folk Baroque, who lived and died in Vlachovo Březí on 19 August 1884. He knew how to enjoy life and honoured work above all. He was born poor and died poor.”
Starting point: Dub u Prachatic
Trail: Dub – Lipovice – Chocholatá Lhota – Budkov - Dub
Length: 17 km
Access: by bike
The starting point of this bike trip is Dub, first mentioned as early as in 1274 when it was the seat of Jan of Dub. In the 15th century, the Dubský family of Třebomyslice owned it. However, the fortress is not mentioned until 1543 when the Boubín family of Újezd bought it. At the beginning of the 17th century, Dub belonged to the Kavka family of Říčany. They left a Renaissance reliefs with their coats of arms at the palace. The owners of the palace and estate changed quickly and one of those who had the greatest influence on the appearance of the palace was Knight Moritz Hönigstein who bought the palace in 1839. In 1854-60, he had the palace reconstructed in the neo-Gothic style and the palace has been preserved like that until now. Plans for reconstruction were prepared by the famous native of Volyně, Josef Niklas.
In 1869, Dub was promoted to a market-town by the emperor’s resolution. In 1917, the administrative councillor Josef Broumovský purchased the palace and the estate. After 1945, the whole area was nationalized and it was used for an agricultural vocational school. After 1989, the Battaglia family acquired the palace with the surrounding area and they are reconstructing it to its original form. Occasionally, there are public exhibitions or concerts and if you are interested, the owners will be happy to show you around the palace.
The Church of St. Apostles the Messengers from 1787 is another dominant feature of the village.
There was quite a large Jewish community in Dub which suffered the most from a fire in 1872 which badly damaged the Jewish Street. There was a synagogue, which was later reconstructed to a home. About 10 minutes to the south of the village, at the edge of the Na Hájku wood, there is a Jewish cemetery with tombstones from the first half of the 18th century.
Leave Dub to the southwest to Lipovice. This village is first mentioned in the same year as Dub and it has its own fortress, even though it has been converted to a granary. However, the Gothic portal and the Renaissance fireplace have been preserved. The fortress was built in the 14th century and it is located to the west of the village. The hillocks at the edge of the V luhu wood, covered by bramble-bushes are Slavic burial mounds. There are about 13 of them. Pottery from the 8th and 9th century with Slavic decorations was found nearby the village. There are two interesting constructions by Jakub Bursa – house no. 4 with a gable from 1857 and a chapel dedicated to the Guardian Angels.
Follow the field path to the neighbouring Lhota Chocholatá. There is also an old fortress there, however covered by sheet metal sheds of the local agricultural business. The fortress was built by the Budkovský family of Budkov at the end of the 16th century. It did not last long: it was converted to a granary in 1680. After a fire in 1861, several houses were reconstructed by Jakub Bursa. Reliefs from Helfenburk was transferred to house no. 3 but it was destroyed when the gate was taken apart.
Turn right at the end of the village in the direction of Strunkovice and go to Budkov. The village was established in 1354 when it belonged to the Budkovský family of Budkov. On the left, at the premises of the agricultural business, there is a Gothic fortress from the 14th century, later converted to a granary. The late Gothic portal or remnants of the vaults have been preserved. There are also wooden cut beehives from 1910 at house no. 14. There is a 300-year-old linden tree with a circumference of 560m. At the edge of the forest, south of the village, there are 16 Slavic burial mounds.
Return on the red trail and you will get to the technical monument: a stone bridge from the 16th century. On the right you see the Budkovský Lake, whose dam was renewed after the floods in 2002. Below the dam, in the marshes and on oak stilts, a Renaissance mill with an early Baroque gable was built in 1577. Continue along the red trail through Jarouše around the Spálený Hill back to Dub.
(The length of the trail is 17 km, terrain is medium-difficult, suitable for mountain bikes)
On Bike or by Airplane around Strunkovice
Starting point: Strunkovice nad Blanicí
Trail: Strunkovice nad Blanicí-Protivec-Malý Bor-Čichtice-Blanička-
Strunkovice nad Blanicí
Length: 22 km
Access: by bike
Refreshment: Strunkovice nad Blanicí
There are many interesting places around Strunkovice nad Blanicí that are worth visiting. You can stay in this area at a campsite in Žíchovec, which provides accommodation in cottages or provides space for tents or trailers. The campsite has basic sanitary facilities as well as a restaurant and a mini-golf course.
Žíchovec is located about 2 km south of Strunkovice and is first mentioned in 1334. It used to be a part of the Rožemberk family, Prachatice family and later Eggenberk family. There is a nice square with Virgin Mary Chapel with walls decorated by quartz crystals, and a Baroque chapel dedicated to St. John of Nepomuk from 1738.
Strunkovice is first mentioned in 1227 when it was recorded as a property of the St. George Monastery at Hradčany. In 1290, old documents mention Vok of Strunkovice who used to live at the local castle which was built in the place of an ancient fortified settlement. The castle no longer exists but the rocky promontory above Blanice bears its name.
A document by which Petr Vok of Rožmberk grants the market-town of Strunkovice the right to use his own seal has been preserved. The seal shows the castle and a five-leaf rose, which is the symbol of the Rožemberk family. From 1593 to 1620, Strunkovice was owned by the Prachatice family.
St. Dominic church originally built in the second half of the 13th century is a significant monument (the Master of Zvíkov participated in its construction). The feet and capitals of the early Gothic portal and the Gothic baptistery have been preserved. In the 18th century, the nave of the church was expanded and the tower top was added. There is a wrought-iron cross from the 18th century by the church.
The most popular tourist destination is the local airport, which is about 2 km away from Strunkovice. The airport offers scenic flights, parachuting or tandem parachuting recorded on video.
If you leave Strunkovice by bike to the east, you will cycle past the airport and get to the village of Protivec after 2 kilometres. But first you have to cross the Zlatý Brook over an 18th century stone bridge which has three diminished arches with a four-meter span and 1.5-meter rise. The bridge is a significant technological monument.
Protivec also has a long history. It was first mentioned in 1377 and belonged to the Čichtice manor in 1543. There is a chapel dedicated to Virgin Mary from 1860 and a WWI memorial to the fallen. In 1866, Protivec suffered from a great fire that almost destroyed the whole village. Since then until the 1950s, there used to be a procession to St. Dominic church on the Assumption of Mary to express gratitude that the village did not burn down completely.
Continue through Malý Bor, turn left at the crossroads at the Kněžský Lake and then right after the Hluboký Lake to Čichtice. There is an old estate on the left before the village which used to administer the surrounding municipalities and was later reconstructed by the Schwarzenbergs. The Čichtice square is elongated and there is a chapel there. There is a Jewish cemetery with tombstones from the 18th century behind the village. Follow the road down to the Gold brook where it flows into the Blanice River and cross the brook to the village of Blanička. Return to Strunkovice through Blanický Dvůr.
On Bike and Foot for the Gold in the Blanice Valley
Starting point: Záblatí
Trail: Záblatí – Kratušín – Zábrdí – Podedvory – Husinec – Těšovice - Staré Prachatice – Kahov – Oseky – Zábrdí - Záblatí
Length: 28 km
Access: by bike
Refreshment: Záblatí, Kratušín, Husinec, Staré Prachatice
The gold-bearing Blanice River rises in inaccessible places below Knížecí Stolec at the elevation of almost 1000m above the sea level. Its basin has an area exceeding 800km2. The flow of Blanice is about 95km long and it was gold-bearing all the way to the confluence with another gold-bearing river, Otava. Gold was extracted mainly in the area between Záblatí and Husinec and between Strunkovice and Bavorov. Gold mining had a significant effect on the settlement of the region and the establishment of first roads along the flow of Blanice.
Gold was extracted in Pošumaví by the Celts in the first centuries before our era, as archaeological surveys show, and later between the 10th and 14th centuries during the reign of the Přemysl family and Charles IV. Even nowadays there is gold in the deposits of the river of up to several dozen mg per cubic meter of soil. Moreover, there was a national championship in gold panning in 1987.
Gold was used mainly for the production of jewellery, by which the nobility or monarchs showed their wealth. Gold was popular for its scarceness as well as the properties such as malleability or permanent shine.
Start the bike trip through the Blanice Valley at Záblatí. Go towards Kratušín, cross Blanice nd the Cikánský Brook where you will find the first interesting thing. There are placer deposits from the gold mining period. Placer deposits are heaps of rinsed waste rock, sometimes 10 meters long and 3 meters high. They were left here and you can still see many of them in the Blanice Valley. Archaeological surveys have found many medieval objects in these deposits. Today, these deposits are technical monuments.
Gold was obtained by rinsing sandy soil in a flat wooden bowl with a continuous rotating movement, the lighter sand washed away leaving the heavy gold pieces at the bottom of the bowl.
Turn right in Kratušín to the Zábrdský Mill. Cross the bridge over Blanice and take the paved road to the Podedvorský Mill surrounded by placer deposits, which are overgrown by rich vegetation. Carry on the yellow trail above Husinec and then turn left to the road to Husinec. Blanice was also used as a cheap means of transportation. In spring, when the river had enough water, wood was rafted from its upper parts, usually in meter-long trunks, all the way down to Vodňany. Transporting wood on the river waned with the introduction of the railway and it ceased to exist when the Husinec Dam was built.
Follow the blue trail to Těšovice. This village was first mentioned in 1356. There were several mills along the Blanice River or the Živný Brook, e.g. Hanušův, Mauriců or Bělečský. The Hanuš Mill is built of bricks, it was for the upper water and it was built in the 17th century. In the first half of the 19th century, a paper mill operated there. The chapel in the village comes from the second half of the 19th century. Houses no. 14, 15 or 17 are built in the Bohemian folk Baroque and they have notable gables. Gold was mined below the village of Těšovice. Pearl oysters were also collected there in the past and they were harvested near extinction however, they have been introduced back into nature and are strictly protected now. From Těšovice go to Staré Prachatice, to the right along the educational trail to the Šibeniční Hill and then on the road through Kahov, Oseky to the Zábrdský Mill and back to Záblatí. (The trail is for experienced bikers, it is 28 km long)