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CZ: Nejdek - A Town In The Heart Of Iron Ore Mountains

Published: 18.3.2011
The town of Nejdek is situated in west part of the Czech Republic, Karlovy Vary Region, at the border with Germany.

Nejdek has approx. 8500 inhabitants. The community is placed in the centre of Iron Ore Mountains, inside Rolava-river Valley, in an altitude of 550-650 metres above sea level. Close to the town, Lesík Water Reservoir is to be found, used for relax purposes.

square - NejdekNejdek was established, similarly as another towns of the region, as a subsequence of tin places of deposits, when this raw material started to be mined. The locality was founded in 1250, as mining community, nevertheless, the oldest written notice was dated hundred years later.Anyway, the biggest swing of mining passed during rule of Count Slik Parentage. They owned Nejdek-Dominion within 1446-1602. At that time period, even iron ore started to be excavated there, and several iron-works and forges were constructed. Later, when Nejdek area was under hegemony of Collon of Fells Parentage, violent re-Catolization of the region was effected. As a consequence, many families were forced to leave the country to Germany. This fact broke out that the mining works decreased strongly. From that reason, various handicrafts  as well as household production begun to develop, and bobbin-works, including pillow-lace had its biggest importance. At that time period, even various industry branches noted its development, such as: in 1813, iron-works were founded (during 1836, their modernization - rolling-mills was effected), followed by worsted-yarn spinning-factory and, since 1881, when railway line from Chodov to Nejdek was constructed, and finally, by means of line from Karlovy Vary via Potůčky up to Johanngeorgenstadt in Germany, railway connection was finished. This railway line had its essential importance for the whole area of West Iron Ore Mountains. So, this new connection with Germany caused the revival for tourist movement. New look out towers as well as restaurants were built on the top of Klínovec (1884), Plešivec (1895) and Tisovsky Hill – Paindl, close to Nejdek (1897).

view - NejdekHowever, after the 2nd World War, within 1945-1946, on base of so called Beneš-decrees and Potsdam Treaty, the inhabitants of German origin lost their properties by confiscation, and were forced to leave the area. After their exit, the people of Czech nationality started to move into deserted homes. Nevertheless, the interst for living in mountaneous areas was small, deserted houses fell to decay, and so, as a consequence of such facts, within 1950-1960, the buildings were mostly demolished.

On the other hand, after Velvet Revolution in 1989, new period for region development begun. Free (independent) activities and tourist movement actions started. The renovation of many churches, chapels, cemeteries as well as any other cultural monuments was effected.

As far as important native is concerned, these are, for instance: Dr. Heinz Kurt Henisch (British physician and photography historian in USA), Staff Captain Otakar Korec (aviator, hero of the 2nd World War), Wladimir Ráž (theatre and film actor), Ignatz Sichelbarth (missionary, a member of Jesuits´ Order - main court painter and mandarin in Empire Court in Being, China).

Nejdek Sightseeings

NejdekCastle Tower, of Romanesque-Gothic origin, belongs to most important historical Nejdek monuments. In fact, it is a rest of original Nejdek Castle, constructed by Conrad Plik of Plikenstein in 1250, in order to serve for protection of country way, and deposite of valuable objects as well as excavated tin. In the tower, where an entry was situated, you can see several loopholes and narrow windows (one window is equipped with saddle-shaped jamb of Gothic origin). In 19th century, the tower was let down, equipped with gallery, pyramid roof and arranged for bell-tower. At present, you can find there rare bell of Renaissance origin of 1579, the work of manufacturer Bricki nof Cymperg.

textile factory - NejdekOn the top of Paindl (977 m) - Tisovsky Hill of Iron Ore Mountains, stone look out tower is arising. Its construction was built in 1897, by means of Nejdek Iron Ore Unity. The height has 18 metres. Its outlook pier, including glassed shelter (3 metres) and lightning-rod (3 metres long) is to be reached, by overpassing of 114 granit stages. From outlook pier (molo), you can enjoy marvellous view to Klínovec, Slavkov Forest or Doupov Mountains. Moreover, under favourable weather conditions, you can even see the hills and peaks of Bohemia Forest. The look out tower is open for public free of charge and is open all year round.

Nejdek Castle was originally built by Count Hermann Tschernin, in the middle of 17th century. However, the castle burnt out completely in 1857. The owner, Henry Kleist, let to construct new building in Neo-Baroque form, with Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Gothic elements.

restaurant - NejdekSt. Martin Church of Baroque style belongs to the other interesting historical monuments. Originally, it was small Gothic church of 1354,  the architectonical face of which was enlarged and changed within several centuries. In the interiors, there was preserved majority of its Baroque equipment, the organ of Rococco style, richly decorated altars, dedicated to Virgin Mary and St.John Nepomuk. You can also admire tomb-stone with picture of Count Christopher Slik.

In a forest at Křížový vrch (Cross Hill) you can follows Nejdek Way of the Cross (It is the longest local way and the highest one at the same time). Each stop of this Cross Way was constructed within 1851-1858. So, in 2008, the way celebrated its 150th anniversary. On such occasion, the way was reconstructed and consecrated again by Bishop František Radkovsky.

On the top of Plešivec Hill, a mountain hotel (1895) of the same name is placed. From its outlook tower, you can enjoy beautiful views towards surrounding countryside of Iron Ore Mountain Valleys.

Plešivec look out towerEven Education Path Horní Blatná-Vlčí Jámy is quite interesting. The path leads along rests of tin excavations. So, Ledová jáma (Ice Ditch) forms one stop on the route. Here, you can follow even ice and snow during hot summer. Zita Look Out Tower, which can be found at near Blatensky Hill, forms also a part of this educational path.

The community of Jelení is placed in distance of nine kilometres, in north direction from Nejdek. At the beginning of 20th century, totally 165 inhabitated houses were to be found there. However, now, only four houses remained. A monument was erected on a place of destructed Church St. Anthony of Padova. Apart of this, on way between Jelení and former village of  Rolava, you can find in forests the rests of ore-assortments as well as traces of captives´camp.

Text: Maxim Kucer

Foto: Wikimedia Commons, SehLax, Prazak, Ondrej.konicek,foto 1, foto 2, foto3, foto 4, foto 5



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