The Czech Republic is famous not only for its charming and diverse countryside, but also for its original technical solutions and constructions. We have prepared a list of 7 technical monuments that you simply must see.
1. Dlouhé stráně Hydro Power PlantWhere: Jeseníky
If you want to see one of the most beautiful hydro power plants in the Czech Republic, you need to go to North Moravia. The Dlouhé stráně Hydro Power Plant is located in the Jeseníky Mountains; it was built inside a protected landscape area and therefore it is located under the ground for ecological reasons. The top reservoir of the power plant is placed on the top of Dlouhé stráně, a peak that is 1,350 metres above sea level. The reservoir covers an area of 15.4 hectares, which is the equivalent of 15 football pitches! Dlouhé stráně is the most efficient hydro power plant in the Czech Republic and one of the most popular places in Jeseníky. It is accessible by a road from the bottom reservoir of the pumped-storage plant, or along the red trail from Kouty nad Desnou, which can be significantly cut short using the chair lift to the peak of Medvědí hora, from which it is about 3 kilometres away.
2. Water Mill in SlupWhere: Znojmo
The extraordinary Renaissance large-capacity flour mill with four functional water wheels and a millrace – that is the Water Mill in Slup, about 15 kilometres southeast from Znojmo in South Moravia. Its extent and architectural design makes it a truly unique and interesting technical monument that is hard to find. The miller of Slup is first mentioned in writing in 1512 and the millrace, used by the Water Mill, was first mentioned in a document from 1302! Today, there is a permanent exposition of flour-milling technology and all the devices are still functional.
3. Schwarzenberg Shipping CanalWhere: Šumava
The water canal in Šumava in South Bohemia connecting one of the tributaries of Studená Vltava and the Austrian river Große Mühl is now called the Schwarzenberg Shipping Canal. The first shipping took place in 1791. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Canal was extended to an impressive 52 kilometres and it connected the sea drainage area of the North and Black Seas. For almost 170 years, the Canal was used for shipping wood. Today, there are several hiking and cycling trails along the Schwarzenberg Canal.
4. Petřín FunicularWhere: Prague
When walking through Prague, make sure you visit Malá Strana (Lesser Town) where you can get to the funicular from Újezd, going to the top of Petřín with a famous lookout tower. The construction of the funicular started in 1891 and it was the longest railway of this type in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire at that time. The drive of the funicular was a specialty. Two carriages moved on the rails using the system of water balance. At that time, one trip took 6 minutes. Today, it takes 3 minutes to ride the 510.4-metres-long railway. The funicular is open daily from 9 a.m. to about 11.30 p.m.
5. Příbram Mining MuseumWhere: Příbram
Not even an hour by car from Prague to the southwest takes you to the underground in Příbram. The local Příbram Mining Museum established in 1886 is the largest mining museum in the Czech Republic. There are more than 40 permanent expositions in historical and protected buildings of the Ševčinský, Vojtěšský, Anenský and Drkolnovský mines and they are true technical specialties. You can enjoy a great ride in the mining train, descent into the pit in a mine hoist, historical hauling steam engines or an extensive tour of the underground, offering 1,560 metres of interesting wandering through the historical mining works.
6. Cog Railway Tanvald - HarrachovWhere: Tanvald
If you love the railway and want to ride the steepest railway in the Czech Republic, go to Tanvald in North Bohemia, near Liberec. This is where the Cog Railway Tanvald – Harrachov starts. It was built in 1902 and it runs from Tanvald through Desná and Kořenov to Harrachov. It is one of the last standard gauge cog railways in Europe. During the journey, the train will go through five tunnels, and even though the original cog engines are now only used during special events, riding on the railway with the Czech record-breaking 58-percent slope is worth it.
7. Handmade-paper Mill in Velké LosinyWhere: Velké Losiny
Velké Losiny is in North Moravia near Šumperk and the handmade-paper mill has been standing here since the 16th century. It is not only the oldest paper manufactory in Central Europe, but paper is still made there manually, delivered to most countries in Europe as well as the U.S. You can visit the Paper Museum on the premises of the mill where you can learn something interesting about handmade paper production and its history. The handmade-paper mill in Velké Losiny bears the title of a Czech Cultural Monument and efforts are currently being made to register it on the UNESCO World Heritage List.