Mladečské jeskyně

Mladec Caves - Lautscher Höhle - Boček-Loch - Fürst Johanns Höhle

Useful Information

The Entrance, Mladečské jeskyně, Czech Republic.
Reconstruction of prehistoric man, Mladečské jeskyně, Czech Republic.
Location: Mladeč, near Litovel.
From Hradec Králové follow road to Olomouc. Turn right near Litovel.
(49.7064841, 17.0157566)
Open: JAN to MAR Mon-Fri 10, 13.
APR Tue-Sun 9-15:30.
MAY to AUG Tue-Sun 9-16:30.
SEP Tue-Sun 9-16.
OCT Tue-Sun 9-15.
NOV Mon-Fri 10, 13.
Fee: Adults CZK 160, Children (6-15) CZK 199, Children (0-5) free, Students CZK 130, Disabled CZK 130, Seniors CZK 130.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=1,250 m, T=8,5 °C, H=99 %.
Guided tours: D=40 min, L=400 m, St=92.
V=20,000/a [2000] V=19,000/a [2019]
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Maria Teschler-Nicola ed. (2006): Early Modern Humans at the Moravian Gate: The Mladeč Caves and their Remains Springer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-211-23588-1. online DOI pdf
Chapter 4 Chapter 9 Chapter 16
Josef Szombathy (1925): Die diluvialen Menschenreste aus der Fürst-Johanns-Höhle bei Lautsch in Mähren Die Eiszeit 2, 1–34, 73–95.
Address: Správa Mladeèských jeskynì, Drahomíra Coufalová, 783 21 Mladeč 84, Tel: +420-585-347148. E-mail: contact
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.


1826 Mladečské caves discovered.
1881-1882 cave excavated by Josef Szombathy, who recorded his visits and excavations at the cave in his diary.
1903-1922 cave excavated by Jan Knies and A. Nevrlý.
22-MAR-1904 Mladečské Cave II (Quarry Cave) discovered by quarry workers and subsequently destroyed.
1911 cave owned by the Krajinska musejni spolecnost v Litovli (Museum Society in Litovel).
1921 developed and opened to the public by the Krajinskou musejní společností (Landscape Museum Society) in Litovla.
1933 Mladečské caves declared a state nature reserve.
1951 reopened as a show cave after World War II with significant developments.
2001 new parking lot and street to the caves opened.
2003 trails, railings and light system renovated.


Dóm mrtvých (Dome of the Dead), Mladečské jeskyně, Czech Republic.
Mladečské jeskyně, Czech Republic.
Mladečské jeskyně, Czech Republic.
Stalagmite called the mummy, Mladečské jeskyně, Czech Republic.

Mladečské jeskyně (Mladec Cave) is a famous archaeological site. Here the remains of Cro Magnon from the Aurignacien were excavated. Most discoveries were made in the Dóm mrtvých (Dome of the Dead). The cave also contains some of the oldest prehistorical paintings in the Czech Republic. They are made of red colour, but their age can not be determined exactly without carbon for a C14 analysis. There is a museum with findings from the cave, replicas of other finds, and the reconstruction of a prehistoric man at the cave entrance. Inside the cave there are also a sort of dioramas. Dummies and reconstructed tools and bones were used to create real life scenes of the prehistoric people staying at the cave. They were installed after the place was prepared during a massive renovation of trails, railings and light system in 2003. The pictures are from a visit in 2004 where the trails are already new, but the dioramas are not yet installed.

Its discovery was in the early 19th century, though there are different opinions on the exact year. Generally the years 1815, 1826, and 1828 are given, the most likely year seems to be 1826. The first excavation in the cave was made by Josef Szombathy (*1853-✝1943) in 1881, who recorded his visits and excavations at the cave in his diary. During his excavations in 1881-1882 and Jan Knies and A. Nevrlý's excavations in 1903, skeletal remains of several adults and a child were found together with stone and bone tools of the Aurignacien, recently dated to be 31,000 years old. Some skulls showed similarities to Neanderthals, but they are unmistakably from early modern humans and not from Neanderthals - this is now generally accepted. In 1925, he published a full, and for its time relatively complete account of the excavations, including geology, paleontology, archaeology, and anthropology of the Mladeč Caves Many findings from these early excavations were destroyed in 1945 during a fire. They were stored at the Mikulov Castle during the war for safekeeping purposes, but it was set on fire by the Germans at the end of World War II. But the skulls Mladeč 1, 2, 3 and other fragments survived and are now kept in the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Mladeč 5 in the Moravian Museum in Brno.

The cave is called Mladečské jeskyně today, after the nearby village, but over the years the cave actually had four names. It was discovered in a quarry, but it is unclear how it was called at that time. Later the locals called it Bočkova díra (Boček's Hole), after a legendary highwayman who once lived somewhere in the Třesín forests. Josef Szombathy named the cave after the owner of the land, Johann II. Fürst von Liechtenstein Fürst Johann’s Höhle (Prince Johann's Cave). He used the name in his publications and so it was commonly used. He also gave the village Mladeč, which is pronounced Mladitch, the German name Lautsch, which is somewhat similar, but definitely not a transliteration. Nevertheless, people started to call the cave Lautscher Höhle (Cave of Lautsch). All four names can be found in publications, depending on the language and the age of the text.

One of those weird gold rush stories happened at the cave in 1902. While most of the land was owned by Johann II., a small part was owned by a local villager named A. Nevrlý. In 1902, he built a wall to separate the Liechtenstein part of the cave from his part. He also started to excavate his own entrance. Jan Knies, a local schoolteacher and amateur archaeologist, and Nevrlý began to excavate the cave.

On 22-MAR-1904 Mladečské Cave II (Quarry Cave) was discovered by quarry workers some 50 m west of the 1902 entrance. Jan Knies visited the site on 01-APR-1904. On 20-APR-1904 Dr. Jan Smyčka, a physician and the mayor of the nearby town Litau, visited the site. Masˇka came on 12-AUG-1905, and Szombathy arrived 25-AUG-1905. In other words, the interest in the discovery of new humans fossils was quite high. The cave was excavated and subsequently destroyed.

The Mladeč Caves became the property of the Krajinska musejni spolecnost v Litovli (Litovel Museum Association) in 1911. In 1912, they started to clear the caves to make them accessible to visitors. In other words, the sediments were removed and destroyed without excavations to built trails for the future show cave. In 1921 the cave was opened as a show cave.

The cave is a complex labyrinth of fissure corridors, there are some bigger parts but no big chambers. The cave walls are devoid of speleothems except for some places, but the few formations are quite impressive. The most spectacular stalagmite is located in the middle of the passage and the trail was built around. It is about 2 m high and due to its form it is called The Mummy. The cave walls show various solutional forms and scallops.

The Mladeč Karst is not a unit, it is actually a number of isolated limestone deposits surrounded by insoluble rocks. The Devonian limestones were formed as isolated reefs and are now surrounded by the deepwater sediments which were deposited between the islands. Today they form hills like the Třesín Hill (345 m asl), the Skalka Hill (335 m asl) and others, in the Bouzovská Highlands. All those limestones are karstified. Mladečské jeskyně is the largest cave of this karst area.

Mladec is 6 km west of Litvel which is known as the Hankain Venice. This in turn is 20 km north-west of Olomouc. Mladec Cave comprises of an intricate maze of fissure passages, domes, chimneys and large boulder ruckles, heavily eroded by running water. There is also a rich array of speleothems.

The cave is an important archaeological site and has yielded a rich Pleistocene fauna including Ursus spelaeus, Felis spelaea and Hyena spelaea amongst others.

There is evidence of human occupation from the Palaeolithic to recent times which includes skulls and bones of cave man, Aurignacian stone and bone artefacts, finds of Neolithic, Early Bronze and Slavonic cultures, and finds of war and plunder from the Middle Ages etc.

Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.