Here as everywhere else, water is the most essential element of life but in the Czech Republic it also became a theme for a famous piece of music, movies are made about it and it is of crucial importance for the summer holidays as well as leisure-time activities of many Czechs. Then they can stop complaining that the Czech Republic has no access to the sea and be happy with the Rivers Vltava, Elbe, Třeboň Pond Region and many other "aquatic" sites. On the occasion of World Water Day, which is to remind us that not everyone has enough of it, read on and learn something about the water resources of the Czech Republic and how the Czechs are proud of them.
Water-related Leisure-time ActivitiesGoing down rivers on various types of vessels is a major phenomenon of the Czech Republic and represents a typical summer pastime of young Czechs and families with children. They will hire a boat or a raft and a tent for a few days and head for one of the many rivers, such as the Sázava, Ohře, Otava, Berounka and Vltava. Sleeping in tents or under the starry skies give such trips a romantic touch spiced up with the historical scenery of various castles and chateaux.
If you choose the River Sázava, you will undoubtedly notice one of the oldest and most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic – Český Šternberk which stands on the rock above the Sázava and watches people in boats going by. If you decide on the River Ohře, you will probably float past another castle prided by the Czech Republic - Loket Castle. The way the Ohře runs round it gave the place its name – since loket actually means elbow. Being one of the most significant Czech castles, it is also a place connected with the popular monarch Charles IV, who as a child was kept prisoner here by his father. Another safe bet is a voyage down the River Vltava, which will take you through one of the UNESCO sites – the town of Český Krumlov. In addition to the beautiful castle, canoeists will encounter the notorious local weir which used to test their skills, however now after its adaptation it is much less demanding.
Water is associated with another popular leisure-time activity in the Czech Republic – fishing. Peace and quiet, morning mist and a rod ready for action are the basic attributes of pleasantly spent time for many Czechs. One of these is the world-famous fisherman Jakub Vágner, a holder of several freshwater world records, who became famous mainly due to the Fish Warrior series on the National Geographic Channel. And it is also thanks to him that this year Lake Novomlýnská near the popular Pálava will host the World Carp Classic fishing championship.
Drawing on its pond farming tradition stretching over several centuries, the Třeboň Region is quite unsurprisingly another important fishing area. Its history is closely connected with the House of Rožmberks (Rosenbergs), who built the first ponds here in the 14th century, and a great boom came one hundred years later. The largest pond in the Czech Republic – Rožmberk Pond was named after this famous aristocratic family and the dimensions of its dam surpasses many other large ponds in Europe. The Třeboň Region is a protected landscape area, sought after by increasing numbers of tourists in search of peaceful surroundings.
Inspired by WaterThe Vltava, the longest river in the Czech Republic, provided inspiration for the world-renowned composer Bedřich Smetana, who devoted to it the second part of his series of symphonic poems titled My Homeland. So you will be able to listen to the whole tale of the River Vltava – from its spring in Šumava and then through small villages of South Bohemia as far as Prague and the majestic motif of the equally majestic Vyšehrad.
Artists – this time filmmakers - often use another water gem as a location. And that is a wastewater treatment plant in Bubeneč, Prague. We do realize it is not usual to include such plants among major sights of interest, but the one in Bubeneč is truly unique. It is an important witness to the history of architecture, technology and water management of the early 20th century. The wastewater treatment plant has “acted” in many movies, such as the American action film Mission Impossible and during that time it was explored with great interest by the film’s leading man Tom Cruise.
Water Specifics of the Czech RepublicBeing one of the biggest rivers and waterways in Europe, the River Elbe rises in the Krkonoše Mountains in the north of the Czech Republic, makes its way to Germany and then finishes in the North Sea. But before it gets there it flows through interesting places of the Czech Republic, such as Špindlerův Mlýn, Pardubice and the historical town of Mělník. Quite close to the German border it passes the Bohemian Switzerland protected landscape area.
Situated in the Jeseníky Mountains, the unique Dlouhé stráně power station is undoubtedly a remarkable gem of engineering. Its task is to balance the instability between the current electricity consumption and its production. Therefore several times a day it is able to switch over from pumping to turbine mode and back. In view of its location in the Jeseníky protected landscape area, the whole plant is hidden below ground. For this reason the Dlouhé stráně power station is regularly ranked among the most visited sites in the Czech Republic – alongside Karlštejn Castle and Hluboká Chateau. In addition, it was also voted one of the seven wonders of the Czech Republic.
Another water-connected feature the Czech Republic prides itself in is the Spa Triangle , situated in the west of the country. The hot springs in this area are unmatched on a world-wide scale and thanks to them the spa industry can boast a long tradition, actually started by Charles IV during his reign more than 600 years ago.
Finally, it is North Bohemia that also contributes to the list of rare water phenomena. In Chomutov there is the only alum lake in the whole world. In the past there used to be two lakes like this on our planet, but the one in Canada dried up.