Tuši's blog

Friday, July 31, 2020


Czech Republic: From Plzeň to Prague

Last cycling stage in Czech Republic was on today. We had to ride from Plzeň to Prague and since we had some extra time for tourism, Nada and me visited Koněprusy Caves and Karlštejn Castle.

Previous days of our Czech cycling trip: Day 10Day 9Day 8Day 7Day 6Day 5Day 4Day 3Day 2Day 1.

Leaving Plzeň.

Strange main roads. Well, we deliberately took them, so we avoided the traffic and we could go peeing in peace.

Head down and just push the pedals.

Through Rokycany.

Švédský most - Swedish bridge with statues of St. Barbara and St. Jan Nepomucký in the village of Dobřív over Klabava  river.

New Hořovice Castle in Hořovice.

Escaping the forest occupied with million of flies.

The temperatures weren't that friendly anymore.

Ticket for Koněpruské jeskyně - Koněprusy Caves, the largest cave system in Bohemia.

Entering the cave.

The caves are of natural karst origin and were formed by water dissolution of the Devonian limestone approximately 410 million years ago.

The caves have three levels, interconnected by vertical chimneys.

Temperature inside the caves is around 10.5 °C.

The altitude difference between the lowest and the highest cave points is 70 m.

In the center of the Prosek's Dome you can see the largest stalagmite in the Bohemian Karst. One theory says that it broke and split by its own increasing weight while growing, another advocates water freezing during glacial periods and another theory is that appearance is the result of recrystallisation.

The Prošek Dome is the farthest point of the tour.

Replicas of some of the ancient bones found in the caves are displayed in The ""Barren" dome.The originals are deposited in the National Museum in Prague. Here we can see deer (lower jawbone), horse (leg bones and the lower jawbone), rhinoceros (part of the skull), man (Homo sapiens sapiens type - vertebrae, ribs, part of skull, lower jawbone), Maccaca ape (part of the lower jawbone). The age of these bones varies from 600 000 years (ape) up to 12 000 years (human remains and rhinoceros skull).

The upper level of the cave is the shortest, but from the historical point of view, the most interesting one. A secret counterfeiting workshop operated here between about 1469 and 1472.

Genuine coins in those times were made of real silver. The counterfeiters however used the cheaper copper sheets, which were then thinly coated by silver dissolved in mercury (amalgam). In the next production step the silver coated copper coins were annealed in earthenware and then heated red-hot to evaporate mercury. In this way a nice silver coated coin was produced.

Getting out of the caves, that were rediscovered in the late 1950s.

Above the caves on the hill called Zlatý kůň (Golden Horse).

Another nice local story relating to Zlatý kůň hill is about the shepherd who, some 500 years ago, tended to the Koneprusy villager's sheep. He noticed a smoke escaping from the hole in the rock on the top of the hill. An adventurous guy, he descended down the hole and found a bearded robber checking the piles of money. Both got scared a bit, but after the robber gave the shepherd a handful of coins in exchange of his promise not to tell anybody, he let the boy go. However, as soon as the boy got back home, he revealed everything. The villagers, looking for easy income, took their pitchforks, scathes, rakes and picks and returned with the boy to the hill. But what a surprise! No hole, nowhere, whatsoever.! So the villagers have beaten the poor shepherd badly and took away all his money.

Towards hrad Karlštejn, a large Gothic castle founded in 1348.

With over forty industrial breweries and seventy small and medium-sized family breweries in the Czech Republic, beer is one of the most important and well known exports in the Czech Republic.

Karlštejn Castle was founded by the Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor as his private residence and a place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia as well as the Bohemian crown jewels, holy relics, and other royal treasures.

In 1355 Charles IV stayed here for the first time, overseeing the construction and decoration work, especially in chapels. The construction was completed in 1365 when the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the Great Tower was consecrated.

Over the centuries the castle has always been in hands of the king or a state institution, never in private hands. Nowadays it is owned by the state.

Exploring the castle and its views.

After 1480 the castle was rebuilt in the late Gothic style, in the last quarter of the 16th century in the Renaissance style. During the last reconstruction that took place at the end of the 19th century (by architect Josef Mocker) in the spirit of purism, the castle gained its present appearance.

Nada and Tuši.

According to one legend, Karlštejn Castle was intended only for the secular and spiritual needs of King Charles IV, so women were forbidden from entering. Another legend tells of a blind musician who used to play the lute accompanied by his faithful dog. The Prince of Brunswick was visiting once with a treacherous butler who wanted to poison the nobleman. He passed him a goblet with poison, but the prince offered this to the blind lute player to slake his thirst as he had been playing so beautifully all day. The faithful dog did not let his master drink from the goblet, jumped onto his lap and drank it himself.

A well, 80 metres deep, where raising and lowering of the well buckets was accomplished by a wheel which used to be trodden by people.

Selfie time.

Continuing towards Prague.

After the beer, everything was much easier.

Finishing the day with a lot of good food.

Heavy legs, red skin and full stomachs were soon a recipe for good night.

Geocaches found (all received a visit by trackable items "remotesearchers GLOBALBUG", TB2R0H6 and "OceantagZ", TB5NYN3):
- PM #01 Zaciname na Karlove, Mystery, GC7DK6H
- The caves of Koneprusy / Konepruské jeskyne, EarthCache, GC1H7AN
- Konepruske jeskyne - penezokazecka II, GC64ZF9
- Strasidlo na Karlstejne, Virtual Cache, GC7B9VZ