Visitor number
Visitor number
MTB tour
Ergis #ID: 903

Castle Tour (MTB)

enlarge picture: Castle Tour (MTB) * Krkonose Mountains (Giant Mts)
enlarge picture: Castle Tour (MTB) * Krkonose Mountains (Giant Mts)
enlarge picture: Castle Tour (MTB) * Krkonose Mountains (Giant Mts)
enlarge picture: Castle Tour (MTB) * Krkonose Mountains (Giant Mts)
enlarge picture: Castle Tour (MTB) * Krkonose Mountains (Giant Mts)

Vrchlabí Náměstí - Vrchlabí Náměstí

detailed map

Tracing the Aristocrats
[27km/651m; MTB, Trek]

The tour of castles leads us back to the 16th century, when
aristocratic families fiercely competed for the power over the Krkonose
Mountains and its foothills. At this time the local renaissance castles
were built.
In the middle of the 16th century the King appointed the young
Christoph von Gendorf from Carinthia/Austria as an adviser for mining
and coinage. He quickly noticed the wealth of mining resources in the
Krkonose Mountains and in 1533 acquired the manor of Vrchlabi and
later on the manors of Trutnov and Zacler in the eastern Krkonose
Mountains. In Vrchlabi the established Czechia’s largest ironworks.
One of his most successful products were scythes, that were sold even
beyond the country’s borders. He turned the village of Vrchlabi into a
town and in 1546 built one of the first renaissance castles in Czechia.
Still it wasn’t easy for him being a foreigner in Czechia. The
Wallenstein family, his neighbours to the south and west (with the
manors Hostinne and Stepanice), felt threatened by his activities and
his expansion. Wherever possible, they tried to cause him harm: they
poached, stole his cattle stealing, looted his mines, they even built
dams on the Elbe river to deprive him of the water he needed for the
rafting of timber. Sometimes there were even armed interventions. All
that’s left of the Stepanice castle are some foundation walls in the
woods. In the second half of the 16th century the land was divided
between Horni Branna, where Zdenek von Wallenstein built his castle,
and Jillemnice where Krinecti von Ronov built his.
The Krkonose Mountains had seen many rulers until the Emperor
confiscated all the land when the Thirty Years‘ War started. After
that the Emperor’s General Albrecht von Wallenstein took over the
land. The appendant ironworks, once built by von Gedorf, now had to
manufacture arms and especially in Vrchlabi he produced cannonballs
and muskets to use in his wars. At this time the Krkonose Mountains
had an exceptional position in war-stricken Europe and were referred
to as the “terra felix”, the fortunate land where peace prevailed.
After Wallenstein’s assassination his assets were spread among the
Emperors followers and the era of the potent Czech dynasties came
to an end.
Today, the castles of Vrchlabi and Horni Branna are the domiciles
of the city councils. A tiled stove in renaissance style is being preserved
in the Vrchlabi castle. The castle of Horni
Branna houses a Comenius-
Museum and in the castle
of Jilemnice you can
visit the museum
of local ski

Length26.3 km
Time02:30 h
Elevation rise651 m
Maximal altitude465 m
Minimal altitude675 m