Krušné hory: The Ore Mountains
Domestic tourism is becoming more and more popular due to the current situation, and you might find people everywhere. That is why I have an extra tip for you. The Ore Mountains are still not a well-known destination, so it is the best time to discover it.
The Ore Mountains
As the name of the mountains may refer to its source, the Ore Mountains are primarily known for their mining of ores and silver. Today, I would say it is one of the less touristic mountains in the Czech Republic. The area has been affected by the mining industry since the 14th century. However, its specific nature was recognized by UNESCO, and several mining landscapes were put on the UNESCO list in 2019.
Today, tourists start to discover Ore mountains again, with its touristic trails in summer and cross country skiing trails in winter. There are many old castles and their ruins, but also villages that disappeared due to the expulsion of the German population. The Ore Mountains are hiding numerous gems that people only start to discover. Let’s discover together 15 places that I found particularly interesting, and I would love to share them with you.
- Krupka Mining Landscape
- Mědník Hill Mining Landscape
- Jáchymov Mining Landscape
- Disappeared village Königsmühle
- Disappeared village Jelení
- Former Rolava mine (Sauersack)
- Fláje water reservoir
- Edward’s rock
- Statue of angels in Boleboř
- Vavřincova bench in Horní Blatná
- Cistercian monastery in Osek
- The ruins of the castle Rýzmburk
- Horní hrad (Hauenštejn)
- Chateau Ostrov nad Ohří
- Church in Dubí
UNESCO Mining Landscape
Krupka Mining Landscape is one of the oldest ones in the region. The castle was established by the Czech king already in 1320 on the route between Bohemia and Saxonia. Later on, it was a popular destination for Goethe. Today, you can walk around the ruins and visit the mining tunnel St. Martin open to the public.
Close by Klínovec, the highest peak of the Ore Mountains, you can find the Mědník Hill Mining Landscape. Its mining history dates back to the 15th century already. The hill itself is full of mining tunnels, and some of them are possible to visit. If you prefer to stay on the ground, I would recommend you climb the small hill with the chapel and enjoy the view of the Ore Mountains.
Jáchymov Mining Landscape is specific thanks to its vivid history. Initially, the silver was mined and minted in Jaychymov into the coins called tollar, from which the word “dollar” is derived. In 1789, the chemical element uranium was discovered in Jáchymov, and later on the element radium, by Marie Curie in 1898. During WW2, Jáchymov became a part of Germany that needed uranium for the development of nuclear weapons. With the Communist turnover, the Soviet Union took control over the mines and introduced its gulag system here (another is in Příbram). Until today, you can visit the remnants of this gulag and walk the same path as prisoners did to their work via the Mauthausen stairs.
The border area of the Ore Mountains was heavily affected by the expulsion of the German population with the end of WW2. The number of villages became empty and never restored due to its location close by the borders. I found particularly interesting villages Königsmühle, Jelení and Rolava-Sauersack.
You can find Königsmühle at the edge of the meadows and forest, nearby village Háje u Loučné. Thanks to its location on the several streams of water, there was an old mill with five houses that are still standing there as ruins. Today, you may be surprised by the cultural activity of locals here and a number of landscape art monuments. Another village called Jelení is also empty since 1945. Only the memorial of the former church remains.
One of the most popular destinations in the Ore Mountains is the former mine Rolava-Sauersack. This area was popular for the mining of tin since the 16th century. Today, you can find here remnants of the old factory built by Germany during WW2. The workers mainly were the prisoners of war from France, Russia, Greece, Italy, Ukraine, and Poland. In June 1945, the Germans and the workers left the factory. Later on, in February 1946, the Czechoslovak state decided to close the factory and flood the mines. Today, you can freely walk in the remnants of the factory that are impressive. Just be careful because there are many holes and protruding wires.
Nature and Landscape of Ore Mountains
First of all, the Ore Mountains are beautiful in their virginity almost everywhere. It is instead a high plateau with meadows, peat-bogs, forests, and ponds. The dominant of this area is the Fláje water reservoir. Because of the security, there are not touristic trails around, but you can stop by with your car and admire nature and huge massive of water. You can even visit its underground, but you need a reservation beforehand.
My favorite spot that offers impressive views on the Ore Mountains’ Czech and German side is Edward’s rock (near Rudolice v Horách). On top of the plateau, there is a rock standing in the middle of nowhere. It is very easy to walk there, and you have amazing views, especially during the sunset time. In nearby village Boleboř, you can find this particular statue of fighting angels. They are standing in the middle of the field on the 11 meters high column, just at the beginning/end of the village. They represent good and evil while nobody knows which one is the good one. Another interesting monument is a giant Vavřincova bench in Horní Blatná. It’s almost 3 meters high with a bench of 1,5 meters. It is pretty challenging to get on the top, so you need help or a good physical condition.
Almost Forgotten Cultural Heritage of Ore Mountains
The Ore Mountains are like the Phoenix rising from the ashes. There are many old castles, chateaus, and castles under reconstruction or recently gained a new facade. I would particularly mention the Cistercian monastery in Osek that is still under reconstruction and should be open soon. I could not get inside, but you can check some pictures with its fantastic library on the website of Klášter Osek.
There are several castle ruins in the Ore Mountains. I personally visites ruins of Rýzmburk castle and Horní Hrad (Hauenštejn). There are also beautiful ruins of Hasištejn castle and Himlštejn. If you prefer to visit some beautifully renovated chateau, I recommend Chateau Ostrov nad Ohří with its park. Unfortunately, there are no guided tours in the interior, but you can visit the exposition of local porcelain or the history of mining in the region. In the end, I would like to show you a hidden gem of the Ore Mountains, and it is the church in Dubí village. It is inspired by Venetian architecture, and it’s only of this kind in the Czech Republic.
How to Get to the Ore Mountains
The Ore Mountains are about 170 kilometers long and about 10-20 km wide mountain range on the East-North side of the Czech Republic. The area was heavily influenced by mining. You might know the Most coal quarry and the case of Jezeří Chateau. You can reach them via Ústí nad Labem and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains on the North or via Karlovy Vary on the South. In this case, I would recommend having a car for your exploration. The hotel and restaurant sector is still not very developed here, but I found the best and the most interesting option for you, and these are the Urtica Apartments.