The most mysterious place in the Czech Republic is Trosky Castle
What place is the most enigmatic, is woven with legends, and hides great mystery or the occult within? In a vote, readers selected several places that are sure to send shivers down your spine. Among them, for example, are the luminous passageway and phantoms of the Jihlava underground, the Býčí skála (“Bull Rock Cave”) for its connection with ritual sacrifices, and Houska Castle with its gateway to hell. Vampire lovers also are sure to be rewarded. Through its website www.tipsfortrips.cz, CzechTourism announced an opinion poll in which readers could vote between 3 and 19 July on the top nine most mysterious places in the Czech Republic. First place went to Trosky Castle with 28% of votes, while in second place was the Jihlava underground with 15%. The Rabštejn underground factory takes bronze as it is regarded as the most mysterious place by 14% of the 904 voters.
Trosky is one of the dominant features of Bohemian Paradise. The castle is comprised of two towers, Baba (“The Crone”; 47 m) and Panna (“The Virgin”; 57 m). A legend tells of architect Čeňek of Wartenberg, who had underground passageways and caverns constructed for the purpose of secret supply to the castle and the possibility of escape. Many warning signs, some written even in Gothic script, can be seen in the passageways. According to the testimony of the occupant prior to the Second World War, the passageway leads to an underground lake. Beyond the lake are said to be low, ironclad doors leading to undiscovered treasures. To this day, the castle’s underground is believed to conceal valuable items of the robber barons Šof and Švejkar as well as Otta of Bergov, who in 1415 was involved in the looting of the Opatovice Monastery. Access to the underground from the castle, however, is concealed very well and to this day has not been discovered.
Luminous passageways, eerie shadows, dreadful cold and phantoms all can be found in the Jihlava underground. The passageway luminesces most during autumn rains and the spring thaw. The question remains whether the luminescence stems from phosphorus seeping from the skeletons of monks buried above the passageway or from radioactive minerals. The catacombs are 25 km long and 13 metres across at the widest point. It is thus clear that after the Znojmo underground this network of underground passageways is the second largest in the country. The passageways are the result of the connection of cellars that had been carved out of the rock since the end of the 14th century. 3. Rabštejn underground factoryA collection of underground premises can be found in the surrounding area of Česká Kamenice and Jánská. The factory was formed through an excavation of sandstone and was used together with the surrounding surface structures during the Second World War by Nazi Germany for military aircraft production. From August 1944 to April 1945, prisoners excavated around 17.5 km3 of underground spaces. According to Nazi figures, 80 people lost their lives working on the excavation. The actual number of labourers who died here, however, will probably never be uncovered. 4. Bull Rock Cave in the Moravian KarstIf you are intrigued by places with negative energy where ritual sacrifices have been performed, then visit the Bull Rock Cave. The cave is distinguished for the so-called Hallstatt burial ground discovered by Dr. Jindřich Wankel in the 19th century. It is a burial ground dating from the 5th century BCE for a nobleman accompanied into the afterlife by 40 young women, servants and horses. The body of the deceased was burned on a funeral pyre; the others were put to torture. The cut-off hands of some of the maids were found on a stone altar, while others were beheaded. The dead bodies were left where they fell. Today, some two thousand bats hibernate in the cave. 5. Potštejn castle ruinsThe castle was built around 1287 at the order of Půta of Potštejn. Potštejn consists of the inner residential buildings, the actual castle and three horseshoe-shaped ramparts. The Baroque Chapel of the Holy Stairs, which was later consecrated by St. John of Nepomuk, and a chapel devoted to the final station of the cross also can be found here. According to legend, the robber baron Mikuláš is supposed to have hidden his spoils here in the 14th century. For 35 years, Count Chamaré later searched for the treasure in the derelict castle so strenuously that the castle collapsed. The search for the castle treasure, which has still not been found, inspired the writer Alois Jirásek to write the novel “Poklad” (“The Treasure”). 6. Kounov standing stonesThis sight, located between Rakovník and Louny, features two and a half thousand large stones piled into parallel rows. Fourteen nearly full rows of stones, the longest measuring 350 metres, cover an area of approximately 11 hectares. The stones, which in their arrangement remind one of the celebrated menhirs in Carnac, Brittany, were discovered on Rovina Hill north of Kounov in 1934 by the teacher Antonín Patejdl. His interest was captured when he felt a shiver down his spine while counting them. The origin of these structures is dated roughly to the 7th century BCE. But what was their purpose? Did the Kounov stones serve as a temple for worshipping the Sun, a pagan calendar, a system of field demarcations or a UFO navigational system? Experts have yet to agree on the answer. What is clear is that they must have been transported to the site as they are of a much older origin than the hill. 7. Rosa Coeli ConventOne of the most important ecclesiastic high Gothic constructions in Central Europe, Rosa Coeli is located in the valley of the Jihlava River. The convent was founded in 1181 by Vilém of Pulín of the Kounic
noble family as a penitence for ruined church property in Austria. The “Rose of Heaven” is exceptional for its magic energy which is beneficial for the human body. It is no wonder, then, that after staying in Rosa Coeli novelist Jan Skácel wrote a poem of the same name. Today, the premises are used by the Brno bishopric and the town Dolní Kounice for holding cultural events. 8. Dolní hřbitov in Žďár nad SázavouDolní hřbitov (“the lower cemetery”) is a Baroque structure built by Jan Santini in 1709 due to the impending pestilent epidemic. In the 19th century, Alois Ulrich, who serfs feared for his cruelty, took over the trusteeship in the large estate of the Žďár chateaux. They did not achieve peace even after his death, however, as the dead caretaker stalked the surrounding area as a vampire. The people thus called on an executioner who ordered that the grave be dug up. Ulrich came to life and began to rise. The executioner knocked him back down into the coffin and cut off his head. He then filled the mouth with poppy and ordered that they cover him with unslaked quicklime. Ulrich’s ghost has not appeared since. 9. Krudum Mountain in Slavkov ForestThe Church of St. Nicholas on Krudum Mountain in Slavkov Forest was for many years hidden under the earth’s surface. In 2002, a detailed archaeological survey was conducted during which archaeology students discovered the remains of a late Romanesque structure. The church was visited primarily by miners who were mining for amethyst there, and thus it earned the reputation as a church for miners. As interest in amethyst declined, the church gradually became overgrown until it eventually disappeared into the heart of the mountain. According to legends, the lost village hides a great fortune and the spirits of miners still meet for mass at St. Nicholas to this day. Voters themselves also recommended other mysterious locations. Houska Castle, which is woven with legends of a gateway to hell and a convict who was lowered into it, appeared most often in readers’ tips. It is still not known where this gateway is located. According to legend, it is guarded by a gruesome, faceless monk. Another interesting location is the Znojmo underground, one of the most extensive underground labyrinths in Europe. On the newly created sightseeing route, you will find fairy-tale characters, an alchemist’s workshop, rocks brought to life as well as prison dungeons. The Macocha Abyss bears a sad but true history. It is named for a stepmother who threw her husband’s son into the gorge. By whose hand she was made to pay for her horrible deed, however, we can only guess. Some say that when the stepmother later realised what she had done she returned to the abyss and jumped herself. The son, who managed to catch hold of a tree branch, was hoisted out of the gorge by his father, who had gone in search of him. In other tales, we learn that after getting Martínek out of the gorge the people of Vilémovice threw the stepmother down.