Look - out towers
Peak locations of Orlické Mountais are rather scanty
as for out-look towers. Maybe for its roundness and absence of pronounced
peaks, maybe because touring was discovered there relatively late.
Czech Touring Club divisions started to operate here as lately as
beginning 1890s, German syndicates grew even much later and practically
did not intervene in touring activities. On the other hand, very
vigorous Kladsko Mountain Association operated in neighbouring Bystřické
Despite that, Orlické Mountains and its surroundings
possess remarkable structures offering lot of new and unexpected
sights to the familiar scene.
"Fancy of looking
round is prevalent among various folks. There are however a few
countries where - at least during some periods - this has been promoted
to something over that, a part of lifestyle. It became to a kind
of art, having its masters, patrons and fans. It gave rise to constructions,
both very simple and very costly and proud, without having any pragmatic
matter. Their only purpose was to grant a joy at looking round."
(Jan Nouza: Outlook-towers of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia)
as two years after its origination (1893) the Czech Touring Club
in Náchod opened a new chalet with an outlook-tower on Dobrošov.
It operated rather exiguous - at a price of 2300 florins it possessed
three ground floor rooms with walled octagonal tower of 6m height.
After its opening on November 24th 1895 it turned into an outpost
of local touring and family trip destination.
|Old appearance of chalet before
Photo from old turistic guide.
|New chalet, named after writer
was opened for public first time in 1923.
Undated postcard (Z).
Undying publicity and popularity lead to an idea
of enlarging the chalet or new building. The idea came true in 1921,
on the occasion of 70th birthday of Alois Jirásek a headstone to
the new chalet named after him
has been insert. On Saturday, July 9th, thousands
|Jirásek chalet with out-look
tower, in reconstruction now. Condition in 2001
people mounted on the top. Most of them carried
a brick in knapsack. Those who were not able or did not want to
drag such a load, could ransom by a small amount. In return one
gained a memorial viewcard with the lay-out of Jirásek chalet by
a famous architector Dušan Jurkovič. Profits (some 90 000
crowns) could have been used to immediate start of building operations.
After two years on September 30th 1923 the chalet has been opened
to a public.
After draggy law-suits the chalet has been now again
resituated to Czech Turing Club and is under reconstruction out
of order. However during weekends the tower is open and you may
have a pleasure of looking round to Bohemia and Poland.
on the web page of J. Nouza
(1 084 m)
|Today non existent Rübartsch's
hut with look-out tower on Vrchmezí hill. Undated postcard.
look-out tower ever been erected in Orlické Mts was that on
the Vrchmezí. A
wooden tower of 16m height was built during 1880s, adjoining a chalet
with an inn on the German (Prussian) ground. The chalet arose in
1882 in support of Kladsko Mountain Syndicate and the first innholder
became Heinrich Rübartsch, native of near-by Grunwald (now
the Polish Zielenec). As a descendent of the Czech refugee family
from the southern Bohemian region has never forget his origin and
favoured his one-time compatriots. At that time such favours in
these parts definitely were unprecedented as understood from contemporary
the ancient tower became so much creaky that Syndicate fathers intended
to replace it by a new stony construction. By reason of a financial
situation just wooden but a few meter higher tower finally was built.
the old Rübartsch householder has gone and the new one - his nephew
"...has changed his opinion and so
did the circumstances too..." (Dostál, Orlické hory
1939). In 1946 the chalet burned off both with a wooden
view-tower and has never been reset again.
tower on Polomský kopec (1 050 m)
1930s along German borders the nationality hassles intensified so
that Czech tourist were advised not to use by then very popular
Steinman border path with marvellous lookout to Prussia. The new
marked track has been set up across Polomský vrch (Windbreak Hill)
where in 1935 a simple outlook tower was erected. The three-bank
beam construction got the name "Dr.Valina View".
Unfortunately, like on the Landmark Range this tower as well perished
soon after 1945.
Deštná (1 115 m)
highest peak of Orlické Mts and the lowest outlook tower
- these are two attributes of Velká
Deštná (Rainy Hill). Four rough-hewn beams shaped into a pyramid,
with a plain platform in a height of 5 m accessible by a ladder
- but even those 5 meter are enough to open up a fascinating all-round
view. The tower has been erected by boy-scout division of Náchod
town in 1992, donated to Štefan Matějíček, local gamekeeper and
former member of Mountain Guard in Deštné to his 60th birthday and
since it is called Štefan´s Tower.
Earlier, a triangular tower stood there whose peak for decades protruded
beyond tree-tops. Not any longer you will find a forest here...
a new dominant of Rainy Hill is intended to be built. A steel 27m
high broadcaster tower should carry an outlook platform in a height
of 12 m. There is a project to start building this May (2002)
vrch (991 m)
visited St. Anna Chapel standing there since 1766 was sometime before
1910 supplemented by a simple wooden construction - unconventional
style tower with narrow gazebo, hardly enough for four people. Emergency
refuge under the tower was appreciated during the winter time by
skiers, unfortunately the construction perished during the World
War I. Later probably another tower a few higher used to stand here
as deduced from following viewcard, unfortunately dateless. A forest
surrounding the chapel however foresee the earlier origin of the
previous viewcard. The chapel stood on the top till 1937 when demount
and transposed some to Hadinec village due to construction of the
fortification line (see Anenský vrch
(Anna Hill) and Hadinec).
near Žamberk (470 m)
A copy of
the outlook tower "Hýlačka" near Tábor (centre of Hussitism
during 15th century) was erected near the St. Rosalia chapel on
the Kapelský vrch (Chapel Hill) in 1932. The 20 m high Rozálka
in a form of ancient Hussite warning post is usually closed but
you may borrow the key at the address marked by entrance door.
vrch (995 m)
most monumental look-out tower of the Orlické Mts dominates
to Suchý vrch (Torrid Hill) near
Jablonné n. Orlicí. Some 32m high tower with two sightseeing galleries
erected during 1931-32 by a project of the architect Patermann served
at the same time as a water tank for adjacent chalet built before
(in 1926-28). History of the Suchý vrch is even elder, already in
1925 a wooden shelter hut for tourists was built here.
A new masonry
chalet arose by a design of Jaroslav Stejskal, demonstrating increasing
power of Czech tourism leaking into border - mostly German - regions.
That is why it got the name of the first Prime Minister, Karel Kramář.
After 1938 the chalet changed owners, names, shape. On March 16th
1 9 3 9 it was occupied by German army to serve as a hospital for
wounded pilots recovery. After the war it was opened to public again
and on February 16th 1946 the poet Petr Bezruč came here for a visit.
He wrote following verse into the visitors book:
my run for dear life to the chalet
Swearing to rain falling down
I wish the Torrid Hill be always dry
For those hastening to its asylum"
In 1953 the chalet was taken over by the army and
used to 1961 as a recreation centre. After return to the public
use the tower was set up by TV antenna and covered by a glass shelter.
During 1980s the upside part was overlaid by a conic iron body leaving
for observation the bottom glassed-in gallery only. The chalet is
now closed due to pending ownership issues, the tower in open during
the summer season.
Apprehending the Orlické Mts
region in a broader terms, there are other outlook towers to be
found here: An iron one, "Silver
beauty" on the Andrlův chlum near Ústí nad Orlicí, Lázek
by Lanškroun, tower in Libníkovice about 5 km far from Třebechovice,
just now built tower at Kozlovský kopec by Česká Třebová (in place
of an ancient one).
From those not preserved from the past, we may remind
Brandýs nad Orlicí, the Ann Tower erected in the ruin of Žampach
castle, Bučina built at own expense of the Bystré u Dobrušky municipality.
Information extracted from : Jan Nouza - Outlook
towers of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, Nakladatelství 555,
A webpage - Historic
scenes of outlook towers in Bohemia and Moravia (the same author)
from a documentary film of the Czech TV "Look round old
fellow" (Clicking on the link will open the Windows Media
Player). A site
dedicated to this document on a server of Czech TV.