CZ, Krkonose: Vrchlabi
Predni Zaly (1019 m) is one of the green hills surrounding the town of Vrchlabi. Up on the hill, there is a stone observation tower. It is even hard to imagine being in the Krkonose mountains and not getting on the top of Zaly. The tower was built in 1892 and it is sort of a holyp lace today. Vrchlabi is situated in the Region of Hradec Kralove. However, if you start making your trips in this town, the roads will get you mostly to the neighbor Region of Liberec and Zaly also belongs to this region.
The 60-meter belfry of St Vavrinec church is an easy-to-spot landmark in the town. There is clock at two sides of the tower. Its pyramid tower has another 4 corner towers and there is a cross on the very top which rises to the sky. This three-navy church is impressive and especially when the bells start ringing. A church used to be situated on there at the times of iron ore mining. Righ from the entrance there is the Marian column. We almost overlooked it as it is hidden in the greenery. Near Miru square are the oldest buildings in the town. These are three houses with arches. They are examples of the Krkonose architecture. There is a visitors' center in one of them. Others display museum exhibitions.
We go down the main street toward the chateau park gate. In the 16th century when the chateau was constructed, there had been designs of a garden which would surround it already. The park as you can see it today covers an area of 8,5 hectares. It is a great place to rest for everybody regardless if people meet here in purpose or happen to go here accidentaly. It is also a great place for dog-owners for dogs are allowed. I have to claim that people behave here really well and according to the park rules. Here people have respect to nature. It is possible to walk through the compound. The area around the lake has some information boards scattered around. These tell you about local fauna, flora, and rocks. The Renaissance-style chateau is not open to the public.
Another garden follows the chateau park. This time it is neighbouring with the Augustinian cloister. It was being renovated at the time of our visit. Yet we learned that the interiors of this baroque structure are well worth seeing. There is a Krknosske Museum exhibition inside. The garden smelled after herbs and lavender. A gravel pathway led us to a modern building. It is the residence of the Krkonose National Park.
Krkonosska street is the main avenue where stores, restaurants, and hotels are situated. You can park your car there for 40 Czech Koruna. There is another visitors' center right behind the town hall. It, however, doesn't belong to KRNAP but to the town of Vrchlabi. The Elbe flows parallel to the street mentioned. There are both car bridges and pedestrian bridges across the river. We stop at one of the bridges at one remarkable house to have a coffee. This interesting wooden building with seven shields was built in the 16th century. It used to be a craftsmen's dwelling. The attic is really non-traditionally designed. The house has 6 shileds only after renovation works were done.
Ski resorts seemed to be quite abandoned towards the end of the summer. Well, there were actually only few tourists around. It seems as Vrchlabi is being forgoten... Yet the prices remained the same.
Text and photos: Monika Babická
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