For views on both sides of the Czech-Polish border
We can start at Horní náměstí (the Upper Square) in Hrádek nad Nisou, located in the centre of the town’s conservation area. The Baroque Church of St. Bartholomew, the Neo-Gothic Temple of Peace, the column with the sculpture of St. Anne the Third, examples of historical pavements, a centuries-old well, a sundial where the shadow is cast by oneself – these are just a few tips of what you can see in this square. You can also visit the tourist information centre and the museum.
Follow Liberecká Street to the eastern edge of Hrádek nad Nisou, from where you can see Grabštejn Castle and Chateau. The biggest attraction is the Renaissance chapel of St. Barbora but if you are travelling for views, you should not miss the one from the castle tower.
Below the castle we will go along the castle pond to Václavice. There you can see several typical half-timbered houses that has been preserved in the village. After the turn to the settlement of Pekařka, turn left to the cemetery. The foundations of the Church of St. James, demolished in 1976, have recently been uncovered there. From the cemetery we continue upwards to the School Cross: here our journey will continue straight along the route of cycle path No. 3039. Nevertheless, it would be a pity not to mention that a small detour from the cross to the left leads to the village of Uhelná. On the way you will pass a windmill, the chapel of Our Lady of Help, saved in the village square of Uhelná, and close to it one of the most interesting half-timbered houses in the area.
The cycle path No. 3039 is sometimes also called Pašerácká (Smuggling Route); smugglers have used the area extensively in the past. Today the route can be found on the map as Nová hřebenovka (the New Ridge Route). The road climbs slowly and offers views mainly to Bohemia, but also to Poland in places. The Lusatian Mountains and the Ještěd Ridge lie open right in front of you. After about 12 km from Hrádek we reach the top of Výhledy. Nowadays, the view from the hill is blocked by the trees. However, there is a bird observatory on the top and the remains of a former popular restaurant, so anyone with enough strength should not miss this place.
The early medieval Curia Vítkov manor house on the opposite hill above the village of Vítkov is definitely worth a visit. The collection of buildings is the project of a group of enthusiasts whose main criterion in building the court is credibility. They live in the yard for a part of the year, demonstrate old crafts and organize show battles.
The last major climb to Lysý vrch awaits us. It is easily recognized by the windmill posts, among which the ruins of a former windmill – which used to serve as a lookout tower – crouch. Below Lysý vrch there used to be a settlement called Vysoká, of which only two houses have survived to this day. We will continue to Heřmanice – hikers can use the blue marked trail, cyclists can go to Albrechtice, from where they will take a long downhill on the cycle path No. 3039.
Before heading from Heřmanice to Poland, a short detour will take us to the Kodešova skála natural monument with its fan-shaped arrangement of basalt columns. Opposite, in the remains of a former house, there is Heřmanické peklo (the Heřmanice Hell) and just 800 m away a lookout tower called Vokurka (Cucumber) for its shape. The remains of Heřmanička, a narrow-gauge railway from Frýdlant to Heřmanice and further to Bogatynia and Žitava, abolished in 1976, are worth to see as an interesting technical monument. The former railway station stands right at the state border, where we enter the territory of the municipality of Markocice. Beware – cars cannot pass through here!
Just about 200 metres beyond the state border there is another abandoned quarry. If you climb up, you will get an interesting view from there. Then we continue through Markocice and Bogatynia towards Jasná Gora. But it is worth taking some time to wander through the streets of Bogatynia. There are dozens of log and stone houses with half-timbered floors – architecture typical of the Tri-Border region. Some of them are beautifully restored.
Jasna Góra is located on the northern slopes of Výhledy. From here you can see Poland as well as Saxony. The deep mine with the Turów power plant is sure to capture the attention. In the village square in Jasná Góra there is a small geopark. One exhibit stands out – a part of a petrified tree found in the present mine; the redwood remnant is about 20 million years old.
We continue along the marked cycle path to the village of Opolno Zdrój and from there to Kopaczów. Between the two villages, you need to be careful – there is quite a lot of traffic on the road and there is no alternative for regular tourists. More experienced moutain bikers can ride through Jasna Góra to the state border and follow the path along its line.
Kopaczów together with Oldřichov na Hranicích used to form one village, which is still apparent when viewed from Hrádek. At St. Joseph’s Church in Kopaczów, we continue along a dead-end street to the bridge over Oldřichovský potok, which forms the state border between the Czech Republic and Poland. The very last climb will return us to Hrádek nad Nisou.
Points of interest along the route:
Hrádek nad Nisou: Horní náměstí (the Upper Square), Church of St. Bartholomew, Plague Column of St. Anne the Third, Museum with the remains of the vampire Tobias, Schubert's Villa, Chateau Azyl
National Cultural Monument Grabštejn
Václavice: half-timbered houses, in the cemetery the ground plan of the Church of St. James
Uhelná: Chapel of Our Lady of Help
Crossroads “Pod Výhledy”
Early medieval manor Curia Vítkov
Lysý vrch with the remains of a windmill, Vysoká settlement
Heřmanice: Vokurka lookout tower, Kodešova skála, remains of the Heřmanička railway
Markocice: quarry, half-timbered houses
Bogatynia: half-timbered houses
Jasna Góra: geopark, views of the countryside
Oldřichov na Hranicích/Kopaczów