Koněprusy Caves

The Czechs love caves and visit them in numbers from childhood. Being only around 20 km from Prague, the limestone Koněprusy Caves are particularly popular. And rightfully so, being as they are the longest cave system in Bohemia, over three levels and more than two kilometres in length. They are found in the Bohemian Karst area, an area full of pretty little corners, jagged rocks, and caves that begins right on the edge of the capital. The caves were discovered in 1950 when extracting limestone from Houbová Quarry on the southern slope of Zlatý kůň Hill, the public being allowed inside for the first time some nine years later. The caves were created by water seeping through the limestone mass and creating a system of domes and connecting corridors. In many places the water also attended to the remarkable decoration of these underground areas.

Leave the train station in Srbsko, perhaps stopping off at the brewery on the campsite on the other bank of the River Berounka to build up your strength. The yellow hiking trail will guide you along the road, through the little village of Koda, around the well of the same name, and a fraction above the Koda Cascades. Another climb along the forest path takes you to a plateau and a road, which leads you on to Tobolka. Turn on to the forest path on the other side of the village and make for Koněprusy Caves. When you get to the road, you can shorten the bend by going straight over the unmarked field to reach the car park by the caves. The tour covers 620 m and at a temperature of just under 11°C you can look forward to diverse types of decoration, from individual stalactites and stalagmites to whole formations, teats, “curtains” and complete falls. Among the oldest and most interesting is the “Koněprusy rosette”, with opal content, which you will see up close in the Proškův Dome. There are also skeletal finds to be seen and a reconstruction of the secret money counterfeiting workshop run here in the 15th century.

Other interesting places in the nearby surroundings are joined by the Zlatý kůň (Golden Horse) nature trail, which runs from the exit from the caves over the summit of Zlatý kůň and through the abandoned quarries back to the car park at the caves. It also runs past a deposit of fossils in the quarry in the area beneath the caves, where you might even find a fossil in the rubble yourself.

The yellow trail continues through the forest, above the large Čertovy schody (Devil’s Steps) quarry to the rock mass known as Jelínek’s Bridge and Axamit Gate, the mighty remains of the entranceway to a former cave. The trail then descends to Havlíčkův Mlýn, follows the road for a while, and then rises sharply to the pass beneath Koukolova Mountain (471 m) and descends just as sharply to Popovice, birthplace of the famous painter Jan Preisler.

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