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Czech versionEnglish Look - out towers

Peak locations of Orlické Mountais are rather scanty as for out-look towers. Maybe for its roundness and absence of pronounced peaks, maybe because touring was discovered there relatively late. Czech Touring Club divisions started to operate here as lately as beginning 1890s, German syndicates grew even much later and practically did not intervene in touring activities. On the other hand, very vigorous Kladsko Mountain Association operated in neighbouring Bystřické Mountains.

Despite that, Orlické Mountains and its surroundings possess remarkable structures offering lot of new and unexpected sights to the familiar scene.

"Fancy of looking round is prevalent among various folks. There are however a few countries where - at least during some periods - this has been promoted to something over that, a part of lifestyle. It became to a kind of art, having its masters, patrons and fans. It gave rise to constructions, both very simple and very costly and proud, without having any pragmatic matter. Their only purpose was to grant a joy at looking round." (Jan Nouza: Outlook-towers of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia)



Dobrošov (624 m)

As early as two years after its origination (1893) the Czech Touring Club in Náchod opened a new chalet with an outlook-tower on Dobrošov. It operated rather exiguous - at a price of 2300 florins it possessed three ground floor rooms with walled octagonal tower of 6m height. After its opening on November 24th 1895 it turned into an outpost of local touring and family trip destination.


Old appearance of chalet before 1921. Photo from old turistic guide New chalet, named after writer A. Jirásek, was opened for public first time in 1923. Undated postcard (Z)
Old appearance of chalet before 1921.
Photo from old turistic guide.
New chalet, named after writer A. Jirásek,
was opened for public first time in 1923.
Undated postcard (Z).


Undying publicity and popularity lead to an idea of enlarging the chalet or new building. The idea came true in 1921, on the occasion of 70th birthday of Alois Jirásek a headstone to the new chalet named after him

has been insert. On Saturday, July 9th, thousands of

Jirásek chalet with out-look tower, in reconstruction now. Condition in 2001.
Jirásek chalet with out-look tower, in reconstruction now. Condition in 2001

people mounted on the top. Most of them carried a brick in knapsack. Those who were not able or did not want to drag such a load, could ransom by a small amount. In return one gained a memorial viewcard with the lay-out of Jirásek chalet by a famous architector Dušan Jurkovič. Profits (some 90 000 crowns) could have been used to immediate start of building operations. After two years on September 30th 1923 the chalet has been opened to a public.

After draggy law-suits the chalet has been now again resituated to Czech Turing Club and is under reconstruction out of order. However during weekends the tower is open and you may have a pleasure of looking round to Bohemia and Poland.

Dobrošov on the web page of J. Nouza


Vrchmezí (1 084 m)


Today non existent Rübartsch's hut with look-out tower on Vrchmezí hill. Undated postcard.
Today non existent Rübartsch's hut with look-out tower on Vrchmezí hill. Undated postcard.

The first look-out tower ever been erected in Orlické Mts was that on the Vrchmezí. A wooden tower of 16m height was built during 1880s, adjoining a chalet with an inn on the German (Prussian) ground. The chalet arose in 1882 in support of Kladsko Mountain Syndicate and the first innholder became Heinrich Rübartsch, native of near-by Grunwald (now the Polish Zielenec). As a descendent of the Czech refugee family from the southern Bohemian region has never forget his origin and favoured his one-time compatriots. At that time such favours in these parts definitely were unprecedented as understood from contemporary guide-book appreciations.

In 1910 the ancient tower became so much creaky that Syndicate fathers intended to replace it by a new stony construction. By reason of a financial situation just wooden but a few meter higher tower finally was built.

In 1930 the old Rübartsch householder has gone and the new one - his nephew "...has changed his opinion and so did the circumstances too..." (Dostál, Orlické hory 1939). In 1946 the chalet burned off both with a wooden view-tower and has never been reset again.



Look-out tower on Polomský kopec (1 050 m)

Beginning 1930s along German borders the nationality hassles intensified so that Czech tourist were advised not to use by then very popular Steinman border path with marvellous lookout to Prussia. The new marked track has been set up across Polomský vrch (Windbreak Hill) where in 1935 a simple outlook tower was erected. The three-bank beam construction got the name "Dr.Valina View". Unfortunately, like on the Landmark Range this tower as well perished soon after 1945.



Velká Deštná (1 115 m)

Štefan´s TowerThe highest peak of Orlické Mts and the lowest outlook tower - these are two attributes of Velká Deštná (Rainy Hill). Four rough-hewn beams shaped into a pyramid, with a plain platform in a height of 5 m accessible by a ladder - but even those 5 meter are enough to open up a fascinating all-round view. The tower has been erected by boy-scout division of Náchod town in 1992, donated to Štefan Matějíček, local gamekeeper and former member of Mountain Guard in Deštné to his 60th birthday and since it is called Štefan´s Tower.
Earlier, a triangular tower stood there whose peak for decades protruded beyond tree-tops. Not any longer you will find a forest here...

Currently a new dominant of Rainy Hill is intended to be built. A steel 27m high broadcaster tower should carry an outlook platform in a height of 12 m. There is a project to start building this May (2002)


Anenský vrch (991 m)

St. Anna Chapel with wooden look-out towerOften visited St. Anna Chapel standing there since 1766 was sometime before 1910 supplemented by a simple wooden construction - unconventional style tower with narrow gazebo, hardly enough for four people. Emergency refuge under the tower was appreciated during the winter time by skiers, unfortunately the construction perished during the World War I. Later probably another tower a few higher used to stand here as deduced from following viewcard, unfortunately dateless. A forest surrounding the chapel however foresee the earlier origin of the previous viewcard. The chapel stood on the top till 1937 when demount and transposed some to Hadinec village due to construction of the fortification line (see Anenský vrch (Anna Hill) and Hadinec).



Rozálka near Žamberk (470 m)

A copy of the outlook tower "Hýlačka" near Tábor (centre of Hussitism during 15th century) was erected near the St. Rosalia chapel on the Kapelský vrch (Chapel Hill) in 1932. The 20 m high Rozálka in a form of ancient Hussite warning post is usually closed but you may borrow the key at the address marked by entrance door.


Suchý vrch (995 m)

Before 1939 (P)The most monumental look-out tower of the Orlické Mts dominates to Suchý vrch (Torrid Hill) near Jablonné n. Orlicí. Some 32m high tower with two sightseeing galleries erected during 1931-32 by a project of the architect Patermann served at the same time as a water tank for adjacent chalet built before (in 1926-28). History of the Suchý vrch is even elder, already in 1925 a wooden shelter hut for tourists was built here.

A new masonry chalet arose by a design of Jaroslav Stejskal, demonstrating increasing power of Czech tourism leaking into border - mostly German - regions. That is why it got the name of the first Prime Minister, Karel Kramář. After 1938 the chalet changed owners, names, shape. On March 16th 1 9 3 9 it was occupied by German army to serve as a hospital for wounded pilots recovery. After the war it was opened to public again and on February 16th 1946 the poet Petr Bezruč came here for a visit. He wrote following verse into the visitors book:

"On my run for dear life to the chalet
Swearing to rain falling down
I wish the Torrid Hill be always dry
For those hastening to its asylum"

In 1953 the chalet was taken over by the army and used to 1961 as a recreation centre. After return to the public use the tower was set up by TV antenna and covered by a glass shelter. During 1980s the upside part was overlaid by a conic iron body leaving for observation the bottom glassed-in gallery only. The chalet is now closed due to pending ownership issues, the tower in open during the summer season.

A viewcard of 1960s taking the highest situated swimming pool in Orlické Mts - that is why so many nudes are onstage (Z)
A viewcard of 1960s taking the highest situated swimming pool in Orlické Mts - that is why so many nudes are onstage (Z)

Condition at present
Condition at present

Between seventies and eighties (Z)

Between seventies and eighties (Z)

Apprehending the Orlické Mts region in a broader terms, there are other outlook towers to be found here: An iron one, "Silver beauty" on the Andrlův chlum near Ústí nad Orlicí, Lázek by Lanškroun, tower in Libníkovice about 5 km far from Třebechovice, just now built tower at Kozlovský kopec by Česká Třebová (in place of an ancient one).

From those not preserved from the past, we may remind Brandýs nad Orlicí, the Ann Tower erected in the ruin of Žampach castle, Bučina built at own expense of the Bystré u Dobrušky municipality.


Information extracted from : Jan Nouza - Outlook towers of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, Nakladatelství 555, Liberec 1999;
A webpage - Historic scenes of outlook towers in Bohemia and Moravia (the same author)


Video spot from a documentary film of the Czech TV "Look round old fellow" (Clicking on the link will open the Windows Media Player). A site dedicated to this document on a server of Czech TV.




Anenský vrch

Bartošovice v O.h.


Czarne bagno

Černý důl

Čertův důl






Komáří vrch

Kunštátská kaple


Luisino Údolí


Olešnice v O.h.

Orlice - Divoká, Tichá

Orlické Záhoří


Rokytnice v O.h.



Sedloňovský černý kříž

Suchý vrch


Šerlišský mlýn

Velká Deštná


Vrchní Orlice


Zemská brána

Orlické hory - © 2001 - 2002, Roman Zakopal        translation: V. Mátlová

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