Kamenice Hřensko

Edmundovu soutěsku - Edmundsklamm - Silent Gorge - Wilden Klamm - Wild Gorge


Useful Information

Location: Kamenice gorge, Hřensko.
(50.873706, 14.251920)
Open: Edmundovu soutěsku:
30-MAR to 07-OCT daily 9-18.
08-OCT to 04-NOV daily 9-17.
Divokou soutěsku:
30-MAR to 07-OCT daily 9-17.
08-OCT to 04-NOV daily 9-16.
[2021]
Fee: Edmundovu soutěsku:
Adults CZK 80, Children (3-15) CZK 40, Children (0-4) free, Seniors CZK 40, Disabled free, Dogs (with muzzle) CZK 40.
Adults EUR 3.50, Children (3-15) EUR 1.50, Seniors EUR 1.50, Dogs (with muzzle) EUR 1.50.
Divokou soutěsku:
Adults CZK 60, Children (3-15) CZK 30, Children (0-4) free, Seniors CZK 30, Disabled free, Dogs (with muzzle) free.
Adults EUR 2.50, Children (3-15) EUR 1.50, Seniors EUR 1.50.
Strollers are transported for free, bicycles are not transoported-
[2021]
Classification: GorgeGorge
Light: n/a
Dimension:  
Guided tours: Edmundovu soutěsku: L=960m, H=150m,
Divokou soutěsku: L=450m
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Kamenice Hřensko, Hřensko Information Center, 407 17 Hřensko 71, Tel: +420-412-528-344. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

04-MAY-1890 Edmund Gorge opened to the public.
1898 Wild Gorge opened to the public.
1930s closed due to World War II.
1964 reopened to the public.

Description

The Kamenice Hřensko are two gorges along the river Kamenice, located in one of the many weird Bohemian sandstone formations known as Bohemian Switzerland. The first is Edmundovu soutěsku (Edmund Gorge) is also known as Tichou soutěsku (Silent Gorge) and the second is Divokou soutěsku (Wild Gorge). It is located at the right side of the Elbe River, only a few hundred meters from the German border. The Kamenice is a tributary of the Elbe river which flows from the east to the west and flows into the Elbe near the hamlet Hřensko. The valley forms three narrow gorge sections, which, like many gorges in the area, were adopted for tourism in the 19th century.

Starting from Hřensko, from the parking lot at the road 25861, there is a 900m long footpath along the river. It crosses the river once and the trail was built under rock overhangs and through three tunnels to a suice, The Edmundovu soutěsku (Edmund Gorge), formerly known as Tichou soutěsku (Quiet or Lower Gorge) is reached. The walls are steep and green with moss and fern, and between 50m 1nd 150m high. At this section the walking trail ends and visitors must take the wooden boats for the gorge. The sluice dams the water for a silent boat tours floating through the green tunnel. The huge boats are big enough for 25 passengers and are steered by a human guide, who also gives some historic background and tells the names of the most spectacular rock formations, like the Skalní rodina (The Rock Family) or Strážce (The Guardian). At the end of the almost 1 kilometer long boat ride you can continue to Wild Gorge or to climb up the staircase to Mezná and leave the gorge.

Walking upstream along the river through the gorge, the river is crossed on the Mezní můstek Bridge. Then the lower boat landing of the Divokou soutěsku (Wild Gorge) is reached. Again the trail ends and the only possibility to go on is a wooden boat.

The local reddish sandstone were formed during the Mesozoic era, about a hundred million years ago as sea sediments. They were fractured by Tertiary volcanic activity and eroded by wind and water. The cracks are widened and the blocks are rounded, the results are parallel gorges in two or probably three main directions which form labyrints. Unlike other gorges the gorges here are not formed by the action of the river, actually there are similar gorges without a river. Obviously the gorges form as a rersult of the weathering of the sandstone, and the river just chose the most convenient one.

Those rocky places were almost inaccessible in ancient times. The end of the trail at the gorge was once called The End of the World by the locals, and attempts to explore the area further were considered insane. But they used the river for fishing trout and salmon, and to float timber. In 1877 a bold bet was placed in the local pub U Zeleného stromu (At the Green Tree): five adventurers declared to conquer the Kamenice River and its gorge on a raft. They actually did so, but they used three rafts and crossed the whole gorge from Dolanský mlýn to Hřensko for the first time. It was not as spectacular as the first visit of the Grand Canyon, but there were five guys who were canyoning newbies with extremely poor equipment which crossed an unknown gorge of 10 kilometer length. The resulting stories were an important reason for the development for tourism soon after. Subsequently the exploration and the development for early tourism were often the same.

The development of the gorge was supported by Prince Edmund Clary-Aldringen, who invested considerable amounts in the development of the gorge. He was the owner of the local estate and invited experts from Italy who supervised two hundred laborers building walkways, bridges, tunnels, footbridges and weirs. The workers were called Barabas, after the biblical thief Barabbas, and were nomadic workers who were known for doing dangerous work like building roads and tunnels in the Alps. They also built the pedestrian tunnels in the gorge by heating the sandstone with fires and then cooling it with cold water. This technique was used for centuries in mining. The stone cracked by the abrupt changes in temperature and could be broken more easily. The Mountain Association for Bohemian Switzerland also took part in making the gorges accessible.

At the inauguration of the Edmund Gorge five boats were driven through the waters of the gorge by ferrymen with perches, dressed in navy uniforms. In 1920 the number of boats had risen to total of 21 and 160,000 visitors came here every year. There were strict regulations in place, commercial photographs, door-to-door sales, begging, and political leaflets or posters were banned in the gorges. This all ended with World War II and the gorges were closed until the 1960s. In 1964 the gorges were reopened with the help of the Czechoslovak army. The border was not open as today with Schengen, but both the GDR and Czechoslovakia were Warsaw Pact countries and it was possible for East Germans to visit the gorge.

Hřensko is located in the lower end of the valley and the space, especially parking space is limited. Especially during the summer season and on weekends alternative means of transportation are recommended. The town may be reached by Hřenský express, a tourist train, by public busses, by train, by the Elbe sightseeing boat Poseidon, and by ferry from Schöna on the German side of the Elbe river.