Travel Local – Romance of the Bohemian Paradise

If you’re looking for a serene escape to your every day 9 to 5 job, consider exploring the hidden treasure of the Bohemian Paradise in the Czech Republic. This historic yet alluring haven has been visited since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Visitors and tourists from Prague often take a day or a weekend trip, for a hike or to just take in some of its vast beauty. We had the pleasure of talking to Vladimír Čížek, a recent visitor of the Bohemian Paradise and this was his advice on how to best explore the area and to find the ideal spots for romantic moments with a loved one.

Čížek recommends visitors to start the hike from the village of Střehom. One of the most romantic places in Bohemian Paradise is in the valley of Plakánek near the medieval castle Kost which has been protected since the 1990s. This is the perfect spot to take in the scenery and begin your journey. Once you reach the forest and enter the canyon, the air is noticeably cooler. The valley originated from sandstone blocks and from the sediments of the Mesozoic sea. A little further there is a spring called “Roubenka” meaning “timber structure.” Here, most Czechs remember the romantic poet Fráňa Šrámek, who was born in the nearby town Sobotka in 1877.
Continuing along the red marked trail for about 2 kilometers, along the side the left bank of the river will take you to the castle Kost, the most impressive and well-photographed castle in the region. In the past, the castle was so well protected by it’s surrounding ponds that the Hussites gave up their conquest and left with the words “Kost patří psům“” meaning “Bone belongs to dogs.” This is how the beautiful castle acquired its name. Next, Čížek suggests travelers to explore the right bank of the Pilský pond. The little path is almost unnoticeable with many obstacles in its way but well worth the trek. Toward the further end of the pond, within the rocks, lays a cave entry.

Photo by Vladimír Čížek

The cave is only a few meters large and archeologists think that it was a Celtic sanctuary from around five thousand years ago. During this time, there was no pond and possibly no forest and the raised entrance provided a good place for druids to hold ceremonies. These ceremonies most likely took place around the spring and autumn equinoxes, when a special phenomenon occurs, just for a short moment before the sunset narrows a sunbeam strikes the stone inside the cave.
Vladimír Čížek recalled a beam of sunlight appeared on the round stone near the cave entrance. This unique phenomenon happens only twice a year on the equinox on the 20th of March and on the 23rd of September when day and night are of equal length.
With these unique tips for a romantic and stunning trip through the “Bohemian Paradis” visitors are sure to have an experience to which no camera will do justice. While this article mentioned the romantic appeal of the location, the beautiful sights and benefits of a trip into nature can, of course, be fully enjoyed by oneself or with the family.
Čížek leaves shared with us a poem by Fráňa Šrámek inspired by The Bohemian Paradise. It reads as follows:

Roubenka, who has this oblique name,
There at home, in Plakánek,
we have a wonderful spring
Roubenka is its name

You must come early in the morning
and quietly, quietly as a ghost.
It has good ears, this girl
and she does not like it,

immediately there are shadows on the forehead,
when you’re rolling, rolling
like a bear in the raspberries.

Original article in Czech written by Vladimír Čížek.