Central Bohemia - west
The enchanting region of Křivoklátsko and Brd Ridge. Countless castles starting with Karlštejn and end with Žebrák. Chateaux that resemble masterpieces. Numerous engaging churches, chapels and tombs. Aquaparks, squash, bowling and very challenging golf. Rafting, canoeing, kayaking, paragliding, windsurfing, and several other water sports. Paradise for fishermen and mushroom pickers. A playground for hikers and cyclists. An area that is perfect for an entire holiday, or for a day trip with the family. You can find all of this and more in the territory west of Prague.
The touristic area of Central Bohemia – west runs from the left bank of the Vltava River all the way to the intersection of Velvary – Slaný – Rakovník – Rožmitál pod Třemšínem. The Berounka forms its imaginary axis and similar to Central Bohemia’s other touristic areas, a substantial part of it serves as a popular weekend getaway for many residents of the Czech capital of Prague. The hilly protected landscape areas of the Czech Karst (Český kras) and Křivoklátsko run along the length of the Berounka, and Brd Ridge, a popular destination among hikers, campers and fit cyclists, dominates the land between the Vltava and the Berounka.
The Czech Karst
The protected landscape areas of the Czech Karst start just past Prague’s city limits and stretch along both banks of the Berounka. The karst phenomena are not as powerfully developed in the Czech Karst as they are in other karst regions, but the surrounding countryside still has its own special charm. The karst processes here were influenced by considerable variability in the composition of limestone and alternating karst and non-karst rocks. A lack of water also had a negative impact on the development of the karst. In spite of these unfavourable factors, valleys featuring the characteristics of karst ravines have formed here. This can be seen primarily at the Berounka Canyon by Srbsko, as well as valleys with smaller streams that flow into the Berounka. Of the larger caves, the most outstanding are the Koněpruské Caves, the cave networks in Chlum, Arnoldka, the Palachova Chasm, the Martina Caves, among others.
The most prominent and, at the same time, most famous monument in the Czech Karst is Karlštejn Castle. It was founded in 1348 by Czech king and later Roman Emperor Charles IV. The name Karlštejn was given to the castle by the monarch himself. According to the monarch’s concept, it was to be a palatial seat in which the crown jewels and important state documents would be kept. Charles IV also had his castle built with the intention of frequently retiring to it for religious meditation and relaxation. The castle’s location, a half-day from Prague on horseback, attests to this.
A paradise for hikers who wish to enjoy a bountiful network of hiking paths and nature trails (Křivoklát/educational/Brtka and others) and the boating routes of the Berounka (a 60 km stretch that runs from Zvíkovec to Zadní Třebáň). It has a wealth of attractions for nature lovers: nature trails, built on the slopes of the extinct volcanoes of the Slánské and Vinařské Hills, Jesenik Nature Park, and Džbán, a protected habitat of rare plants and extraordinary ornithological wonders.
Culturally historic monuments include exquisite chateaux in Kladno, Nižbor, Unhošť, Buštěhrad, Smečno and Budenička. Křivoklát Castle is one of the most well-preserved Gothic castles in Bohemia. Furthermore, in Křivoklátsko you can visit the well-preserved Kyšice Fortress and the ruins of Týřov and Krakovec Castles.
The so-called Buštěhrad Railroad, built in the 18th century as a horse railroad, is a local technical attraction. It was used for the transport of coal.
The Hamous Estate - an open-air museum in Zbečno – is a very interesting site that is well worth a visit. It is a rare specimen of very well-maintained folk architecture with timber residential buildings, brick cowsheds, stables with granaries, barns, and other agricultural structures. The homesteads date back to the turn of the 17th century. One building, first open to the public in 1995, features an outdoor exposition featuring period lodgings, farming activities, rustic occupations and daily customs.
Every Saturday at the manor, bread is baked from wheat and rye flours using old-fashioned methods in a reconstructed bread oven. It is an experience that you should not miss.
Lidice - a national cultural memorial - is situated eight kilometres from Kladno. The village was annihilated as part of the Heydrichiade (Nazi retribution for the assassination of Reichsprotektor Heydrich) on June 10, 1942.
Křivoklátsko is interwoven with a dense network of marked paths for hikers and cyclists for those who prefer to take in the scenery from a bicycle seat. The Berounka River, which is relatively calm and has no treacherous passages, offers other attractive sightseeing opportunities by boat.
Brdy is a mountain range spread out over 70 km, situated southwest of the capital city of Prague. Its entire length consists of a practically closed strip of deep forests, of which several have retained the character of their original mixed flora. Though situated in the very centre of the country, the countryside in several parts of the Brd Mountains remains incredibly unpopulated. In the hills you will not find any tourist centres, hotels, or cottage communities, and needless to say the area has no inhabited villages or any kind of industry whatsoever.
The left bank region of the Slapy Dam
The Slapy Dam is one of the most frequented locations in Central Bohemia.
The hydroelectric dam in Slapy was completed in 1955 and forms one of the steps of the Vltava waterfalls. The 91,610 mark of the river in a section of the former Svatojánský Streams was selected as the most suitable profile for construction of the dam. Prior to filling the reservoir, elaborate surveying of the territory was carried out, during the course of which several small historic buildings were moved to locations above the flood line. The dam’s lake is 44 km long, covers a surface area of 1162.6 ha and is a popular recreation area among the residents of Prague and its surrounding districts.
The left bank of the dam is not as lively as the right, where an abundance of recreation facilities and private cottages have been built. It is ideal for long walks and mushroom picking. With the exception of driving motorboats, the Slapy Dam offers opportunities to enjoy the widest variety of water sports and activities.
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