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Where to go, what to visit?
 
Historical monuments, nature

 

Western Bohemia

 

Western Bohemia offers a number of attractive tourist sites: one can find beautiful nature there, where the southwest part of the Krusny Mountains continues to the Sumava mountain range, and one can discover folklore traditions in the district of Chodska. Those who love spas will get acquainted with the most famous Czech spas and beer lovers will be invited on a tour of the world renowned Plzen brewery.

 
 

If you would like to connect your trip to western Bohemia with the previous trip to northern Bohemia, we recommend you continue from Osek towards Most, Chomutov and Klášterec upon Ohře . This town with a famous tradition for the manufacturing of porcelain gets its name from the monastery, which was established here in around 1150.  Although the monastery was destroyed in 1277, there is a beautiful castle in its place now, which offers visitors a tour of the expositions of porcelain and a walk through the English park with rare species of wood plants.  

The renowned spas of the significant tourist centre Jáchymovare not farfrom Klášterce upon Ohře.  What is interesting about the town is that it is connected from its centre to the highest mountain of the Krusny Mountains, Klínovec, by cable car.  Since 1516, high quality silver coins were made here – talers, which were used for payment all over Europe.  American dollars received their name from the word talers.  Then later on, uranium replaced silver mining in Jáchymov and paradoxically due to this very radioactive waste we owe the establishment of its spas to.  In 1906, the first radioactive spas in the world were established.  The main treatment method is bathing in thermal waters with a high content of radon.  The Radiumplace sanatorium is a dominant feature of the town dating back to 1910–12.

The aforementioned highest mountain of the Krušné Mountains, Klínovec (1244 m), offers excellent conditions for skiing. Boží Dar is a sought after tourist site all year round, located just a few steps away from the German borders.  Not too far away, we also find the most valuable area of the Kršné Mountains, an extensive complex (930 hectares) of peat land, known as the Božídarské peat land.  A nature trail leads through this fascinating area with 12 stops providing information boards. The entire walk starting in Boží Dar is 3.2 km long.

The most famous spas are located in western Bohemia - Carlsbad.The town was established around 1350, when a hunting lodge was built on the site of the current castle tower.  According to legend, the hot spring was discovered by King Charles IV and his hunting party.  Supposedly the hunters had chased a deer all the way up to the top of a steep rocky cliff.  The brave deer plunged into a gorge ahead, the hunters descended into the valley where they found a hot spring spewing from the earth instead of the deer.  The king decided to establish a town here.  The cliff, from which the deer had jumped, is now called Deer’s jump (Jelení skok) and a statue of a deer is one of the symbols of Carlsbad.  The first public spa building, Mlýnské spa, was not built until many years later in 1711.  Ever since then, the Carlsbad spa life began to develop.  The modernisation of treatment was taken care of by Carlsbad native David Becher, after whom the world famous Carlsbad herbal liqueur, Becherovka , was named.  Nowadays, the treatment is mainly focussed on digestive tract system disorders and certain metabolic illnesses. Vřidlo is the most significant spring of the twelve mineral springs, shooting up to 12 metres high.  You will find a number of spa colonnades, for example Vřídelní, Mlýskou or Tržní colonnade. Aside from treatment procedures and pleasant walks, the town offers a number of other activities.  Inarguably, the most renowned cultural and social event is the Mezinárodní filmový festival Karlovy Vary.

The royal castle Loket , built in 1230, is a significant monument in the region.  It belonged to the strongest castles in central Europe.  Nowadays, the interiors offer a museum of porcelain, an exhibition of monsters and other items of interest.   

Another town with spa tradition is Františkovy Spas . These spas are now well-known mainly among women, who treat illnesses of the reproductive organs here. 

Six kilometres northeast of Františkovy Spas is the national nature reserve Soos, the remains of late volcanic activity.Here one can see unique peat land with gas spewing from mud volcanoes (mofettes) and mineral springs of which the Empire spring is the strongest.  A 3 km long nature trail passes through the area, providing information boards. 

Mariánské Spas are the second most significant spas in the Czech Republic after Carlsbad. Their history dates back to1528, when the Ferdinand spring was discovered. Nowadays, 40 mineral springs are available and a Neo-Baroque colonnade leads from the Křížove spring pavilion to the Rudolf spring pavilion. An attraction of interest is the towns Miniature Park with miniatures reduced by 1:25 of significant buildings and technical monuments mainly found in the Czech Republic, for example a mini replica of Červená Lhota castle, Mount Říp and Písek’s Romanesque rotunda and bridge.  In 1905, the golf course was completed on the town’s outskirts.  

We will continue from Mariánský spas to the centre of Chodsko, Domažlice This royal town and Chodsko fortress was built by Přemysl Otakar II between 1262 and 1265.  The town’s dominant feature is the 56 metre high and 70 cm leaning tower was originally a warning post and now serves as a viewing point. 

Chodsko is an area in Bohemia which lies on the German borders whose protection was once entrusted to Chodsko.  In return for this service, the Czech kings traditionally granted numerous privileges.  Nowadays, Chodsko is comprised of 12 villages concentrated around Domažlic.  Even until now, the locals have managed to maintain their dialect with a distinct accent and their traditional costumesand traditions.  Chodsko festivities are held annually in Domažlic.  If you would like to see a typical Chodsko village, head for Klenčí pod Čerchovem . The historical centre of this Chodsko town is a village heritage zone which offers visitors a view into several typical Chodsko homesteads.

An important and beautiful place in western Bohemia is the Natural Reserve and National Park Šumava . The surroundings of Špičák are the most attractive to tourists.The most popular tourist trail leads to the Černé (Black) and Čertuv (Devil’s) lake, the most renowned pair of lakes in the Šumava region that were originally formed by a glacier.

The recreational centre and home to the Sumava Museum is the little town Železná Ruda .  The town has a glass-making history which is interlaced with a rich history of mining iron-ore, which also gave the town its name. Another pleasant trip is a visit to the town Kašperské Hory and its castle Kašperk .  The town offers an interesting exposition at the homeland museum, a Museum of Motorcycles in the squares upper part and an exposition of Czech toys. 

There are only two places remaining in Europe where wooden matchsticks are made. One of them is the original Czech Šumavan town Sušice , which was promoted to a royal town in 1273. In 1839, the production of matchsticks began and expanded to factory production under the brand name Solo Susice, which still exists today.  

Is there any other more suitable name for Plzeňother than the town of beer?  The town brewery was established here in 1842 and it has managed to sustain its success and fame until now.  You can sample this famous beverage and learn more about its making at the Museum of Brewery . Another interesting place to visit is the Skoda Museum Plzen, where you can learn more about the ironworks, which were bought by Ing. Emil Skoda in 1868. Furthermore, you can find the Museum of West Bohemia and Ethnical Museum in Plzen which offers access to the historical underground passages.  Do not forget to also visit the historical centre of Plzen, which boasts the overwhelmingly beautiful Gothic Church of St. Bartholomew.

 
Author:
 
Added: 06.01.2010
 
 
 

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