A shipping canal of around 10 km in length was built between Vraňany and Hořín between 1902 and 1905, diverted away from the River Vltava so that boats could easily avoid the confluence with the Elbe. There are eight bridges over the canal, but the most remarkable structure is the lock in Hořín. This technical monument, built in 1905, consists of two locks and overcomes a drop of 8.5 metres. It was designed by renowned architect František Sander, who designed plenty of structures on the Elbe and Vltava - hydroelectric power plants, locks, weirs, navigation, and bridges and footbridges. His works always bore the mark of the unconventional and their shapes were reminiscent of different boats, lighthouses, ports, and other watery motifs. He also used romantic stone structures, ornamental and colourful decor. You will see all of this in Hořín.

Take the yellow hiking trail from the railway station in Mělník. Wander through Na Podolí Park and turn to the left into Vodárenská Street, following the red markings. Enter the historic centre on the hillock high above the river through the late-Gothic Prague Gate. This is part of the medieval fortifications of the town, of which the main wall, the zwinger wall, and the watchtower still remain. The picturesque náměstí Míru (Peace Square), with its magnificent burgher houses, has welcomed many a film crew. One other attraction is the chance to visit a system of medieval underground corridors that were used as storage space and cellars. There is also a 54-metre deep well to be seen.

The red trail will take you to the Renaissance Lobkowicz chateau, where you can tour the interiors, the gallery, and the arched wine cellars. There you might like to sample the local wine from the vineyards right beneath the chateau. Right next to this is the monumental Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, in its Gothic appearance from the end of the 15th century, with the third largest ossuary in the Czech Republic. You can see Mělník and the wider River Elbe area from the gallery of the steeple, which stands at a height of 37 metres.

The yellow trail takes you beneath the neo-Gothic Villa Karola from 1876, through Na Aušperku Park and over Josef Straka Bridge to Hořínský Park. This is part of the Rococo chateau, but in contrast to the aristocratic residence is freely open to the public. It is filled with rare types of trees and beds of curative herbs. There is a Baroque chateau mill in front of the chateau in Hořín, although it is falling apart, with the little village also home to the Lobkowicz tomb, consisting of a chapel and adjacent burial ground. From there it is only a short distance to Sander’s lock. Continue along the unmarked trail along the left bank of the canal, along the road to the left to Vrbno, and along the nature trail to Zelčín. Here there is a mini zoo on the farm, with plenty of domestic animals and even some Fjord horses galloping in the outdoor pens. Admission is free, and you can pat and feed the animals. Once you are able to tear the children away from the place, walk the panel path to the Vltava and head upstream towards Lužec nad Vltavou.

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