Drábské světničky

The Central Bohemia region can boast the fact that the western part of the area of protected landscape known as Bohemian Paradise (Český ráj) is located on its land. And not just any old part, as you will see for yourself if you pay a visit to the Příhrazské Rocks and the former rock castle of Drábské světničky. This imposing fortified residence was created on a rocky promontory standing at more than 100-metres in height beneath the volcanic Mužský Hill (463 m). Together with the other rock castles in the area, it’s task was to guard the possessions of the Cistercian monastery in Mnichovo Hradiště and the trade route that ran alongside the River Jizera. It was a wooden fortress standing on seven sandstone blocks separated by high crevices. You can see for yourself the remnants of the corridors, carved foundations for wooden buildings, and bridge structures over several levels of the 15-40-metre high rocks, connected by ladders.

You can get a fairly accurate picture of what the castle looked like in the late Middle Ages at the Mnichovo Hradiště Town Museum, where they have a model. The museum is housed in a beautiful Renaissance chateau that was built by Václav Budovec of Budov, one of the Bohemian aristocrats executed on Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) in 1621.

From the railway station take the red trail, the famous Bohemian Paradise Golden Trail (Zlatá stezka Českého ráje), a trail that links up the most beautiful parts of the area over a distance of one hundred kilometres. This conquers wooded valleys, streams, rock towns, hills and castles and their remnants between Mladá Boleslav and Jičín, and this is precisely the sort of walk you are embarking on now. First of all, though, you have to cross the motorway and walk through the fields upstream along Veselka Stream. You bend to the right in Zásadka and after a while you will find yourself at the rock castle of Valečov. The romantic ruins of the great palace, various corridors and chambers remain of the castle, as well as rock dwellings and a deep store in the outer bailey. There are some marvellous views of the landscape from the castle. When you reach the Skalka crossing, leave the red trail for a short while and follow the blue markings. These will guide you along a paved path beside the sandstone rocks to Obora gorge, after that turning to the north towards the ruins of Hynšta. This was once a little castle set into a single block of rock, with wooden buildings in the outer bailey. Only the little rooms carved into the rock remain of this. These were converted into a house of prayer by the Bohemian Brethren in the 17th century.

The beauty of the Příhrazské Rocks is beginning to unfold around you. Walk beneath the elongated rocky ridge of Kobylí hlava (Mare’s Head Hill) and climb gently to the Na Krásné vyhlídce crossing. The name, meaning At the Beautiful Viewpoint, is no lie. There is also a restaurant here, and a mini zoo. You again meet up with the red markings of the Golden Trail, which will take you to Drábské světničky through Studený průchod (Cold Passage), a high, dark, narrow rock crevice. Once you have seen everything, go back to the crossing along the yellow trail, which you should follow all the way down through Olšina to the train station in Březina.

Mnichovo Hradiste


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