Sights worth seeing

Sights worth seeingThe principal attraction of the Vimperk region is its natural beauty, but there are also many interesting man-made monuments built in the course of centuries. Natural and historical sights intertwine in a unique manner, offering every visitor something worth the effort to go on a trip.

From the dark prehistoric times, two large settlements have been preserved to this day, situated on high hills, and probably inhabited by the Celts in their time. The extensive settlement of Věnec near Lčovice, to the north of Vimperk, is unique owing to the multiple fortifications around its rocky acropolis, and the mysterious Obří Hrad (Giant’s Castle) at Popelná, perched above the river Losenice, at the altitude of 1000 metres above sea level.

The medieval castles in the Boubín area include, besides Vimperk, Kunžvart castle, built to guard traffic on the Gold Trail near the present border crossing at Strážný, Hus castle above a twist of the river Blanice near Volary, built by the lords of Janovice as the administrative centre of the eastern part of their estate, the mighty Kašperk castle near Kašperské Hory, founded by King Charles IV in the middle of the 14th century, to protect the local branch of the Gold Trail and the gold mines, and the remains of a frontier fortress on the top of Stožec.

Sights worth seeing

There are several chateaux, lodges and stately homes in the Šumava foothills to the north of Vimperk, all of them small, most of them private, and none open to public. Despite this, some of them may become the destinations for nice trips, e.g. the Baroque Skalice lodge in Bohumilice (successfully restored by the owner to its original condition), the Lčovice chateau, with arcade rows and pleasing little structures in the park (one of its owners was Josef Zítek, who built the National Theatre in Prague, and is buried in the nearby Malenice), the inconspicuous Přečín near Vacov, or the Classicist-style lodge in Čkyně (now housing the local council). A modern pilgrim may sometimes be taken by surprise, for instance on finding in a small ancient village of Dobrš, situated in a dominant position to the north-east of Vacov, a Renaissance-style stronghold, a Baroque chateau, and two churches, the older of them still bearing Romanesqe features and treasuring two precious 16th-century bells.

Sights worth seeingA local peculiarity is represented by examples of vernacular architecture of the "Peasant Baroque" style. These are houses built in the 19th century by Jakub Bursa, a gifted mason, scattered in the picturesque villages of the whole region (in Libotyně, Dvory, Předslavice, Bušanovice, Zálezly, Kovanín, Šumavské Hoštice etc.).

Among the monuments of church architecture outside Vimperk, a prominent position is occupied by the church of St. Vojtěch (Adalbert) in Lštění (a place of pilgrimage in beautiful countryside), the early-Gothic church of St. Maria Magdalena in Čkyně, the church of the Holy Trinity in Bohumilice, the church of St. Nicholas in Vacov, the church of St. Stephen in Kvilda, and the church of Our Lady, St. Joseph, and St. John of Nepomuk in Horní Vltavice. The Jewish synagogue in Čkyně is among the last synagogues preserved outside towns in Bohemia, and along with the Jewish cemetery serves as a reminder of the importance of Jews as an ethnic and cultural community in Czech history.

The technical monuments of the Vimperk region include a huge four-arch railway bridge, which was built in the late 1890s near Klášterec on the Volary – Vimperk railway and put in operation in 1900. Then there is the public bread oven in Lenora from 1837, or the Schwarzenberg and Vchynice-Tetov lumber floating canals from the turn of the 18th and 19th century. They were both built by a Schwarzenberg engineer Josef Rosenauer. The former used to float lumber from the forests under Třístoličník mountain, the latter from around Modrava.

Sights worth seeing

The Vimperk region is famous for magnificent scenic views. Outstanding among them is the one you get from the newly repaired Klostermann observation tower on the top of Javorník, the view from Bučina, a former village boasting the highest altitude on the Czech side of the Šumava, from where you can see the Alps in fine visibility - a view you can also get from Švajglova Lada. Other places include Mářský hill near Vimperk overlooking the region around Vacov and Stachy, an observation tower at Churáňov, or the plateau at Zhůří offering a lovely scenic view of the whole Central Šumava, from Trojmezná as far as Velký Ostrý.

Seemingly limitless is the wealth of natural monuments and peculiarities in the region, with the Boubín primeval forest at the top. It is a nature reserve, a site of exceptional natural and cultural value, and one of the busiest tourist spots in the Šumava. The massif of Boubín and Pažení treasures also other nature reserves: Milešický primeval forest, Zátoňská mountain, and Jilmová skála (Elm Rock).

Sights worth seeing

Other places worth visiting include the wildly romantic Blanice river valley, with rare plant and animal communities, the spring of the river Vltava under Černá mountain, the Chalupská moor at Borová Lada boasting the largest bog lake in the country, the ancient Hus linden tree in Chlístov, the linden tree of Sudslavice, several centuries old, the canyon-like valley of the Boubínský brook, and also the fairy tale valley of the Roklanský brook near Modrava, along which you proceed to the observation tower on the top of Poledník mountain.

As the monuments know no country boundaries, you can go on exploring them in neighbouring Bavaria. When you cross the border at Strážný, do not miss Wolfstein Castle in Freyung, another guardian post on the Gold Trail, now housing various authorities as well as a museum of hunting and angling.

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