Historical underground vaults, tunnels and cellars Castles, chateaus
Castles, chateaus, convents and monasteries
UndergroUnd sights of Plzeň
CryPts Under ChUrChes
historical underground tunnels
In the Middle Ages, considerable effort was given to the construction of underground facilites in the historical town centre. These have been mostly preserved
in good condition and include an ingenious network of tunnels, passages, water
adits, sewer tunnels and cellars, often on two or three underground storeys. There
are also over 50 medieval wells. While part of the historical underground has been
opened for visitors, there are locations that have not been fully explored yet.
Crypts and underground vaults are often found under churches or just small
burial chapels. The Plzeň region is rich in this type of sacral architecture. Among
the locations worth visiting are:
The origin of the catacombs in Klatovy dates to the period of construction
of the Jesuit church of Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary in 1656–1675.
The construction was carried out under the supervision of the Jesuit master
builder Jan Dominik Orsi. The catacombs were used as resting places for
more then 200 dead; the first burial took place in 1676, the last in 1783.
The dead bodies were eventually mummified due to incessant air flow through
channels with outlets on the church roof. Each of the remaining more than
30 bodies now weighs between 8 and 10kg.
sUBterranean sPaCes of Castles, ChateaUs,
ConVents and monasteries
Historical underground vaults, tunnels and cellars
Salka u Pasečnice
Contact: Veleslavínova 1, 301 00 Plzeň, : +420 377 235 574,
e-mail: [email protected], www.plzenskepodzemi.cz
open: Apr, May, Oct and Nov: Wed-Sun 9-17, June-Sept: Tue-Sun 9-17. The last tour starts on 16:20.
restaurants, wine rooms and clubs
Numerous restaurants, wine rooms and clubs the complete list of which would be
difficult to make, utilise the former cellars as their guest facilities. The students’ club
called ”Pivoňka” in Riegrova street uses the local cellars and passages on three
The ”Ve skále” restaurant in Chodová Planá
national park border
Břasy – Bašta
nature preserve border
All over the Plzeň region, both in towns and larger villages, scores of abandoned breweries testify to the popularity of the drink over the centuries. As a rule, under the brewery premises can be found brewery cellars used for the beer aging and storage.
Pilsner Urquell – the Beer world exhibition in Plzeň
Both the modern and historical manufacturing premises of the world-famous Pilsner
Urquell brewery in Plzeň are open for visitors who can taste the beer in the historical
brewery cellars. The much older history of beer-brewing in town can be studied at
”Pivovarské museum” found at an originally Gothic-style house with brewing rights
including beer cellars, well, malt-house, drying room and beer stores. Adjoining
the museum is the ”Na Parkánu” beerhouse and restaurant. All the above exhibitions
can be seen within the Beer World visitor package.
Contact: Visitor centre, U Prazdroje 7, 304 97 Plzeň,: +420 377 062 888,
e-mail: [email protected], www.beerworld.cz, GPS – 49°44‘47.825“N, 13°23‘9.865“E.
Issued by the Regional Authority. Layout: publishing house KLETR Plzeň. Photographs: Jan Kavale,
Jiří Berger, Miroslav Landsman, Jaroslav Jaroš, Martin Doležal and KPP Klatovy. Text: Luděk Krčmář.
Special thanks for valuable comments to: Karel Grotz, Jiří Pech, the historical mining societies in Stříbro and Planá, and to Klub přátel podzemí in Klatovy. Printed by: Typos, tiskařské závody, s.r.o. 2009
The town of Kralovice is dominated by the single-nave parish church of St
Peter and Paul, originally Gothic and rebuilt in the Renaissance style.
The crypt under the church accommodates glazed coffins with the remains
of the members of the Gryspek family. The crypt can be visited upon prior
arrangement with the parish office. The exceptionally well-preserved dead
bodies are a rarity popularly referred to as ”the Kralovice mummies”.
The main square in Klatovy with the Jesuit church
The Sgrafito gallery in Pilsen
Historic beer cellar at the Brewery Museum
The Klenová castle
Kout na Šumavě The special feature of the local brewery cellars built in 1870 is their
location outside the brewery under
the St George church. GPS – 49°24‘5.173“N, 12°59‘58.65“E
The Horšovský Týn chateau
Medieval vaults on two floors with portals from the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries
are found under the provost’s residence within the convent premises in Chotěšov.
VaUlts as interesting toUrist sights
the Chodovar brewery at Chodová Planá
Spacious brewery cellars in a granite massif next to the brewery premises can be
reached via the original access tunnel. One stage of the cellar making is dated
1831. Now the cellar complex houses a stylish brewery restaurant and a small
collection of exhibits from the local history of beer brewing.
The Chotěšov convent
The Kašperk castle
Contact: Hrad a zámek, nám. Republiky 1, 346 01 Horšovský Týn, : +420 379 423 111,
www.horsovsky-tyn.cz, GPS – 49°31‘46.869“N, 12°56‘33.321“E. open: Apr, Oct: Sat, Sun 9-16, May,
Sept: Tue-Sun 9-16, June-Aug: Tue-Sun 9-17, 26 Dec – 31 Dec 10-15 hours
The original Gothic cemetery church of St Vaclav was rebuilt in 1827 into
the burial vault of the Metternich family. Among the dead resting there is
the famous Austrian chancellor Klemens Wenzel von Metternich († 1859).
Visible from afar in the village of Hrad Nečtiny is the vault of St Teresia
in the Pseudo-Romanesque style, built by the last feudal lords of the Mensdorf-Pouilly family. They belonged to a group of cosmopolitan nobility of Belgian, Austrian and French origin. A stone crucifix found in the vault chapel
was made by the sculptor E Max.
Stará Hůrka was the name of a small settlement located between Železná Ruda
and Prášily in the Šumava mountains, noted for its large glassworks and production of world-famous Venetian-style mirrors. Stará Hůrka used to have a big church
and a cemetery chapel with a crypt where the members of the leading glassmaker families of Hafenbrädel and Abel were buried. The mummified bodies lay
in glass coffins with the names of the dead engraved in marble slabs. The chapel
has been renovated but the crypt now stands empty.
Contact: Muzeum Chodska – Chodský hrad, Chodské nám. 96, 344 01 Domažlice
: +420 379 776 009, www.muzeum-chodska.com, GPS – 49°26‘20.801“N, 12°55‘39.136“E
open: XI-III: Mon-Fri 10-15, IV-X: Mo-Sun 9-17 hours
The existing chateau incorporates a bishop’s castle from the turn of the 13th and
14th centuries, with well-preserved Gothic-style chapel and rooms on the ground
and one underground floors.
GPS – 49°58‘45.809“N, 13°28‘59.063“E
Contact: Chodovar, spol. s r. o., Pivovarská 107, 348 13 Chodová Planá
: +420 374 794 181-2, www.chodovar.cz, GPS – 49°53‘40.45“N, 12°43‘45.32“
You are welcome to the Pilsen Region and its underground sights. In Pilsen
and several other cities, you may visit ingenious mazes
of subterranean corridors, complex cellars and halls, some
of which have been converted to galleries, wine rooms and stylish restaurants.
Equally interesting are the subterranean structures under castles, monasteries
and churches, such as the catacombs under the Jesuit church in Klatovy.
The rich history of ore and coal winning in the region has left traces
in the form of abandoned mines. Some of these have been made into tourist
sights or museums; visiting other places may involve significant risks due
to landslide, fall into pits or high concentration of poisonous gases. We have
included information on the historical mining sights to make you aware
of the interesting exploits in the medieval and early-industrial periods when
the Pilsen region was considered important source of various metal ores,
limestone, feldspar, graphite, kaolin and, particularly
in the last two centuries, of high-quality bituminous coal.
Subterranean parts of castles and similar historical constructions have always
attracted romantic visitors and are associated with mysterious legends. Throughout
the Plzeň region, such underground spaces have been preserved in more or less
good condition under numerous castles, castle ruins, remains of medieval fortified
settlements and other historical constructions. While visiting the ruins of medieval
castles such as Rabí, Klenová or Švihov, you may see parts of their subterranean
spaces. The freely accessible remains of the Krašov castle include vaults under the
ruins of the main castle hall with a well-preserved Gothic portal.
Chodský hrad is found in the southwest end of the town. The castle vaults are
the only underground structures in Domažlice. One underground wall dates back to
the Gothic period, the other brick walls were built in the 18th century. The vaults including an interesting exhibition of historic artefacts in two rooms are freely accessible.
information: www.katakomby.cz, : +420 376 370 911. The catacombs are open: April: Sat, Sun
9-17, May-Sept: daily 9-17 hours. GPS – 49°23‘40.998“N, 13°17‘34“E
Contact: Klášter Chotěšov, Plzeňská 1, 332 14 Chotěšov, : +420 377 900 421,
www.klasterchotesov.eu, GPS – 49°39‘20.171“N, 13°12‘2.829“E. open: May-Sept: Sun, visitor tours
at 13.30, 15, 16.30 hours, or at other times upon previous arrangement by the telephone.
Kralovice, the church of St Peter and Paul
Plasy, the church of St Václav
Plasy, burial vault
of the Metternich family
The Cistercian monastery in Plasy was founded as early as 1144. Built on boggy
terrain, the huge monastery buildings rest on 5,100 oak piles where the ground
water level is maintained by an ingenious system of water tanks and tunnels.
The Plasy monastery
Contact: Klášter Plasy, Plzeňská 2, 331 01 Plasy, : +420 373 322 174, www.klaster-plasy.cz,
GPS – 49°36‘5.505“N, 13°23‘26.168“E. open: Apr, Oct: Sat, Sun 9-15, May, Sept: Tue-Sun 9-16,
June-Aug: Tue-Sun 9-17 hours
Gothic cellars with brick vaulted ceilings are found under the central part of the
water castle. The cellars are accessible within castle tours. One of the cellar
rooms had been converted into a medieval prison for a film made there a few
years ago. Another part of the castle underground is used as exhibition room
showing various methods of food preservation.
Contact: Hrad Švihov, 340 12 Švihov, /fax: +420 376 393 378, www.hradsvihov.cz
GPS – 49°28‘43.579“N, 13°17‘5.64“E open: Apr, Oct: Sat,
Sun 9-15, May, Sept: Tue-Sun 9-16 hours,
June-Aug: Tue-Sun 9-17 hours
Cellars in the Pilsner Urquell brewery
Sights of the underground tour in Pilsen
Sights of the underground tour in Pilsen
Sights of the underground tour in Pilsen
The catacombs in Klatovy
Hrad Nečtiny – vault of the Mensdorf-Pouilly family
Vault at Hůrka
Underground vault at the Švihov castle
Cellars at the Švihov castle
Castle well at Klenová
Plasy – entry to a ventilation shaft at the monastery cellars
Medieval ore mines in the Šumava and surroundings
Medieval ore mines in the Tachov district
the mining distriCt of KaŠPersKé hory
the mining distriCt of Planá
and the mining mUseUm at Planá
The Pilsen region is noted for numerous remnants of old mining activities. Regarding
these, the best known is the mining district of Kašperské Hory. The history of local
gold mining is the subject of the gold-diggers theme path (length: 7.5 km, green
marking, at places on macadam roads, otherwise wood ways and footpaths).
The path will take you to Amálino valley through a major gold-digging district with
numerous traces of mining activities from the 14th to the 20th centuries. The theme
path between Kašperské Hory and Zlatý potok (Golden brook) was part of the
original medieval Golden Way connecting Passau in Bavaria and Kašperské Hory.
Information boards along the path help the visitor understand its sights. You will
see traces of both underground and surface mining – pits, galleries, surface cuts,
millstones from gold-ore mines and the remains of the unique medieval ore-treatment shop from the 13th and 13th centuries at the south-east end of Kašperské
Hory, which is among the oldest facilities of its kind in the world.
The Kristina gallery at the Golden brook valley is used as a national seismic station
of Czech Republic. The sensitive measuring equipment makes is possible to register near and far earthquakes as well as atomic explosions anywhere in the world.
Near the Kristina gallery you will find the Naděje (Hope) gallery, the witness of
a recent attempt to renew the gold mining activity. However, the low gold content
in ore and environmentally-risky processing methods render this attempt uneconomic, to say nothing of the risks to the surrounding countryside.
Gold mining at Kašperské Hory and the neighbouring districts (Rejštejn and Ždánov)
is subject of an interesting exposition at the Šumava Museum at Kašperské Hory.
The Mining Museum at Planá
The mining activities around Planá were concerned with ores containing silver,
lead, copper, antimony, nickel, iron and other metals. Different ores were won
as the demand dictated. After World War I, feldspar pegmatite was at the centre of attention due to the high spar and mica content. At the time, mica was
considered strategic raw material for military purposes. Several mine galleries
dating to the 16th and 17th centuries are found in the vicinity of the town centre. Since 1998, the Ondřej Šlik gallery from the 16th century has been open for
the public as a museum showing a rare collection of historic mining equipment.
Noticeable in the 200m-long maze of galleries is precise manual work of the old
miners. The gallery has been named after the Count Šlik family who, to make use
of the high yield of the local silver mines, established a mint in the town.
open: June-Aug: daily except Mon; Apr, May and Sept: Sat and Sun, 10-12 and 13-16.
Tours start at 10, 11, 13, 14 and 15, in July and Aug also 16 hours, or at other times on previous
arrangement by telephone. Contact: Hornicko-historický spolek, Sadová 816, 348 15 Planá
www.muplana.cz/kultura, : +420 738 658 320, Teplík, GPS – 49°53‘31.508“N, 12°44‘0.804“E
Kašperské Hory, the foot of Suchý hill – the Josef gallery
Hartmanice and its surroundings were also places of extensive medieval ore mining activities. References to mining works can be found on the Hamižná theme
path. Interesting sights are the so-called snow pits at Křemelná near Babylon, now
part of Zone I of the Šumava National Park. These are deep pits at abandoned gold
mines with snow at the bottom throughout the year.
nalžoVsKé hory, VelhartiCe, hory matKy Boží
This district including two mining centres once used to be most productive
in the country. The barred entry to the Dědičná (Ancestral) gallery in Velhartice can
be found near the blue-marked tourist path. One of the expositions of the local museum at Hory Matky Boží concerns mining of rare metals in the surrounding district.
zlatá jáma near PoCinoViCe
Zlatá jáma (Golden Pit) is the name given to a cave-like short gallery found
in the abandoned quarry from the 17th century found on the yellow-marked
path near the top of Orlovická by the village of Orlovice (the Kdyně district).
Other mines and caves
the mining distriCt of stříBro
The oldest references to silver ore mining at Stříbro date back to 1183 and 1187.
Lead- and zinc-ore mining predominated in the later years when Stříbro ranked
among the most important mining districts in Europe. Work was finally discontinued in the 1960s when Siemens built its assembly operation (now Alcoa Fujikura) on
the site of the last mine called Jáma I. The historic mining works can be accessed
from many locations at the Mže river valley. Particularly interesting are the St Michael and Unterlangenzug galleries outside the town on the red-marked tourist path.
The mining history at stříbro theme path focused on mining, geology, mineralogy
and general history leads through the heart of the mining area at the south-west
end of the town. It start and finishes at the Branka hotel and is soon to be extended
towards the village of Vranov. Mining ”Skansen” at Stříbro
A museum of mining heritage was open near the footbridge across the Mže in
2005. To be later accompanied by the Royal ancestral Prokop gallery, considered the most important mining work of the district. This gallery was originally
conceived and built as a central drain tunnel for all main ore veins. At the moment, stage 2 of the mining mechanism reconstruction work is in progress. So
far, a workshop including mining tower has been reconstructed, while work on
the engine room and 300m-long railway siding continues.
When new parts of the museum are open in 2007, the total length of the mining
shaft accessible to the public will be 700m.
The opening ceremony at the Mining
Skansen at Stříbro
Museum at Hory Matky Boží
The Mining Museum at Planá
Entry to the museum at Planá
wells and Cisterns
Old mines can be visited near the village of Michalovy Hory, or on theme paths
in the valleys of the Úterský, Nezdický or Kosí brooks, or in Kladruby. The visitors
to this mining district may look forward to the planned Geopark and the ”silver
paths” connecting former ore mines in Bohemia and Germany.
salka near Pasečnice is noted for old alum mines, now flooded and forming a subterranean lake. You can reach Salka either following the green path from Domažlice
(10 km), red path from Česká Kubice (4 km) or yellow path from Babylon (4 km).
The Pilsen region has numerous limestone quarries and mines, mostly
from the 19th century. There are also traces of deep-pit kaolin mining. Near
Rokycany, you can see old dumps left after iron-ore mining. With the iron
content ever lower, the Krupp-Renn process was used for a few years, to be
abandoned altogether in the early 1970s. The charming Ejpovice lake with
romantic cliffs is all that now reminds the visitor of the one-time extensive
open-pit mining activities. Another fine lake (now private property) originated
from the former open-pit coal mine in Ovčín near Přívětice. For over two centuries, the large Carboniferous formations at the centre of the Pilsen region and its more than 800 mines supplied high-quality bituminous coal for
the developing industries. The outcrops of coal deposits can be found near
Břasy (Bašta and Kateřina).
Lay visitors are strictly warned not to enter galleries, caves or other unknown
and unprotected underground spaces. If you are interested in safe explorations
of such kind, do not hesitate and contact our ”Klub přátel podzemí” in Klatovy,
M Kozák, +420 724 774 211.
Among the underground structures necessary for the daily life in the residences of the medieval nobility were wells and water cisterns, also found at practically all major castles.
zbiroh – at the site of the local medieval castle, there is a 163m deep well of
oblong shape, hewn in solid rock. It ranks among the deepest wells both in Bohemia and the whole of Europe.
lacembok – a cistern found at the remains of a medieval castle includes
a narrow side tunnel presumably used for draining bad water. The castle ruins
lie on the yellow-marked path near Staňkov. GPS – 49°33‘5.08“N, 13°5‘57.91“E
Kašperk – the highest-located royal castle in Bohemia includes a water cistern hewn in rock. GPS – 49°10‘2.145“N, 13°33‘56.768 “E
minor CaVes and CraCKs
CaVes in the ŠUmaVa
The only larger known karst cave in the limestone massif in the Sušice and Strakonice districts is strašínská cave. It was formed by underground waters passing
through crystallic limestones. There are also traces of iron-ore and ochre mining.
Several smaller caves, such as ”Fík”, are found nearby. The caves are not accessible for the general public, although Strašická may soon be open for visitors.
Peklo i and ii caves are small karst caves found in the Pekelský brook valley,
on the green path 2km from Hartmanice, direction Těšov. The Peklo (Hell) caves
are protected natural sights.
The Mining Museum at Planá
Limestone galleries near Bolfánek
Špičák – the second longest (1,748m) railway tunnel in Bohemia under the Špičák mountain. This demanding technical project was executed in 1874–1877
by mainly Italian workers, many of which perished in the task.
Construction of the ”Pilsen line fortifications” started in 1936. Scores of small
and larger reinforced-concrete pill-boxes and fortresses were erected at strategic positions, often on hills from where they could control nearby road traffic.
A few of them have survived to these days; a pill-box converted to a museum
can be found opposite the main gate of the Kladruby monastery.
The Mining Museum at Planá
Railway tunnel at Špičák
Contact: Zámek Zbiroh. Zámek č. p. 1, 338 08 Zbiroh, : +420 371 784 598, +420 606 790 833,
www.zbiroh.com, GPS – 49°51‘30.539“N, 13°45‘42.719“E. open: Mo-Sun 10-18 hours.
The so-called ”Red lake” found approx. 500m north of Hromnice on a green
path, originated from a deep pyrite-shale mine; pyrite shale was used as a raw
material for the production of fuming sulphuric acid. Now the lake and its surroundings is a protected area valued for its scenic beauty.
open: V-X: Wed 15-16 hours., Sat: 9-13 hours.
Contact: Hornicko-historický spolek Stříbro, : +420 602 264 077 (K. Neuberger),
: +420 606 634 220 (Mgr. R. Strankmüller), www.hornickyspolekstribro.cz.
GPS – 49°45‘34.306“N, 13°1‘4.135“E
Kašperské Hory – the Golden Way
Other interesting underground sights
Salka near Pasečnice
Kašperské Hory – the Ancestral Gallery
Petrovská díra – a freely-accessible cave found in the nature preserve Petrovka on the yellow-marked Sigmund path originated by water erosion. It was
later extended and served the purpose of people’s dwelling, allegedly also for
highwaymen. More recently it was used as aircraft shelter.
Chudenice – in a park above the Lázeň chateau, next to the 45m-high Bolfánek viewing tower, there is an underground cave with a cracked rock wall. Both
the cave and Bolfánek are associated with numerous myths and folk tales.
sedlo – a natural grotto formed by huge boulders outside the ancient fortified
settlement at the Sedlo hill near Sušice.
The Lacembok cistern
The construction of motorway tunnels under Valík
Castle well at Zbiroh
Water cistern at the Kašperk castle
Sedlo near Sušice