THE CITY OF ROCKS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
The City of Rocks is situated in northeastern Bohemia, not far from the Polish border in the Adršpach region. The area of the City of Rocks is situated in the Broumovsko Protected Landscape Area. It is one of the most famous places for climbing in Europe. The whole City of Rocks is naturally built of sandstone.
HOW THE CITY OF ROCKS CAME TO BE
The strongly stratified plateau that is so characteristic for the City of Rocks originated in the Mesozoic era. At that time, the whole area was a sea bed, on which a layer of sandstone was formed in the process of sedimentation. The rocks are made of a softer variety of sandstone, which is why the City of Rocks has a particularly stark character (making it popular with rock climbers) and has many aesthetic shapes and fissures. When the sea disappeared from this region, the rocks were affected by water in the form of rain and wind for millions of years. This resulted in beautiful rock formations resembling towers and columns.
At the beginning, this place was known only among the local community. They would venture there only in the face of danger or to escape from invaders. The first climbers and foreign visitors appeared only at the beginning of the 18th century. Many famous people visited the place then, such as: Queen Louise of Prussia, King Frederick Augustus of Poland, and Emperor Joseph II.
However, for most of the ordinary inhabitants, the place was still unknown. Only after a great fire in 1824, which lasted several weeks, did the rocks begin to emerge from among the bushy forest. In the 19th century, the Adršpach Rocks became more accessible when paths were built and the first visitors arrived.
One story says that in 1772, two Englishmen visited the Adršpach Rocks. They wanted to view thunderstorms from an overlook (it is not known from which one specifically). They waited a total of eight days to see this beautiful but dangerous phenomenon. When it finally came, the storm was so powerful that the English quickly began to search shelter. They were hiding under a rock overhang when lightning struck near them. The lightning struck the precipice opposite them, knocking loose a piece of rock that fell directly in front of the frightened Englishmen. Apparently none of them were injured, and they described the whole dangerous adventure in their “chronicles.”
The first mountaineers came to Adršpach from Saxony. A group led by Willi Adam made the first ascent of the rock called “King” on 20 May 1923. However, they did not stop there, deciding also to climb The Battlements, The Saxon Head, Martin’s Crown, and The Eagle. The German mountaineers enamored with the Adršpach Rocks and returned to them many times.
WHERE IT’S WORTH STOPPING
In Adršpach you’ll find many beautiful views. From one of the many lookout points within the City of Rocks you can admire such rock formations as The Lovers, Mr and Mrs Mayor, Štěpánek’s Crown, and the Small and Large Aldermen. Set out on the natural trial “Under Cross Hill”, you will be rewarded a magnificent panorama of the rocks. The trail starts at the main parking lot. A panorama of the entire City of Rock can be enjoyed on Starozámecký Hill, where the ruins of Adršpach Castle are located.
The Gothic Gate
The Gothic Gate appeared in the City of Rock for the first time in 1839. It was built by Ludvík Karol Nádherný with a network of paths, bridges, footbridges and stairs. At present, the Gothic Gate guards the former entrance to the park.
A boat trip
In the past, the local lake was used to transport lumber. But more than 150 years ago, tourists were taken to the lake, thus beginning the first boat cruises. The Great Waterfall flows out of the lake, which is especially spectacular in winter because it freezes over every year.
The Crystal Sand Quarry
Anyone looking for romance will not want to miss Crystal Sand Quarry. This small lake with crystal clear water was created after a former sand mine was flooded. A scenic path leads around the reservoir.
The 16-meter-high Great Waterfall
A beautiful view is found at The Great Waterfall, which flows into a rocky gorge from a height of 16 meters. The waterfall’s flow rate is regulated, as a lake is situated directly above it, where the boat rides take place. In winter, The Great Waterfall turns into a lovely icefall.
One of the most peculiar formations in the City of Rocks is the so-called ‘The Sugarloaf’. Its curiosity is that it stands on the tip. The upper part is 13 meters wide, and the lower part is 3 meters wide, thus creating the form of an inverted bowling pin. For fear of it toppling over, tourists stick small sticks under it.
The Mouse Hole
While hiking on the rocks, you can try to squeeze through a 50 cm wide crack. It is called The Mouse Hole and is the narrowest alley in the City of Rocks.
One of the most impressive rocks in the City of Rocks is certainly the “Jug”. This massive “tower” was first ascended in May 1935 by Josef Janeba, Miroslav Jedlička and Rudolf Otto Bauš, a climbing pioneer of the time. The initial ascent was along a crack on the left side of the wall, leading to a large window and then to the summit. The unique six-meter window forms the “handle” of the Jug, thanks to which gave the tower its name. It’s also often said that the formation has the likeness of a dolphin.
The tallest rock: The Lovers
One of the most interesting rock formations in the Adršpach Rocks is also the highest. Again, the first people to climb its summit were Germans. Otto Rülke, Otto Dietrich and Wilhelm Fiehl made the first ascent of the highest Adršpach Rocks, which is 81.4 meters high, on June 18, 1923.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE CITY OF ROCKS?
The best time to visit Adršpach Rocks is of course summer because then the weather is the most reliable (no rain). However, we must remember that this is one of the most popular places in the Czech Republic and there are always a lot of tourists at this time.
If we want to avoid crowds, it is the best to go in winter. Then there are not many people on the trail, and the winter scenery adds to the magic of this place.
PRICE LIST AND OPENING HOURS
Current price list can be found here on the official website.
Current opening hours can be found here on the official website.
- The City of Rocks of Adršpach has been enchanting filmmakers for decades with its unique atmosphere. Besides shooting shots for several Czech feature cartoons, scenes for “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” were shot here.
The rock about named “The Sugar-Making Chimney”, which resembles fingers reaching up to the sky, was first climbed using a special technique. It was wrapping a rope around the stone again and again. Today, this way of climbing is not used.
In the area of the City of Rocks near Adršpach, the Metuje River has its source. It has a beautiful, unusual orange color.
With a bit of luck and patience, the Peregrine Falcon can be spotted in the Adršpach Rocks.
The City of Rocks or the Adršpašské Skály are part of the Stołowe Mountains.
Adršpach Rocks is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the Czech Republic that is worth seeing. Maps are available on site and are described in detail. We will find in them information about the attractions that await us and descriptions and names of individual rock formations. Rock Town is fully adapted for tourists, so it’s the perfect place for a trip with children.
Viktor Hanacek, source picjumbo.