Starting in Passau, Germany, it crossed Šumava with three branch lines. Since the times of Czech princes and kings, goods from southern Europe, especially the very important alpine salt, have been brought through the border forests. The Golden Trail can still be seen today on the Czech-Bavarian border. Only tourists walk the import road instead of merchants.
The trail ruins are not only tourist attractions, but also important sources of reminders of medieval history. Now they are hit hard. His Kašperskohorská branch of the trail between Horská Kvilda and Zhůrí was heavily damaged by logging this August. At first glance, it is clear that heavy machinery was working here. Some footprints were completely blown away, leaving footprints carved deep into the soil in many places.
Archaeologists, historians and conservationists have described the devastation caused by miners here as a rare act of barbarism. “Horror, shock, disaster. This is an unprecedented example of recklessness against an important cultural and technological monument,” declares Vladimir Holpeniak, director of the Šumava Museum in Hori. .
Archaeologist Petr Zavr of the Museum of South Bohemia in České Budějovice says, “It is one of the oldest roads through the Šumava, connecting Bohemia with the Danube and of great historical value.” Her trail lives in neighboring Bavaria, says Goldener Steig, and hotels, restaurants, dairy farms and even military units are named after her.
The urban forest of Kasperskohora, where the plot is located, initially claimed that it was an ordinary forest road. But then they apologized for hiring a mining company and promised to do everything they could.
Šumava Trail for Business, Diplomats and Artists
For centuries, the Golden Pass was an important trade route. Its name, however, has nothing to do with gold, but represents the enormous profits made by transported goods. The trail started in Passau in Bavaria, where three rivers meet: the Danube, the Innes and the Ils. It passed through the Šumava border forest and split into three branches. Prachatice he moved already from 1010, and Vimperská and Kašperskohorská he added from 1366.
In the Middle Ages, in addition to salt, Bavarian linen, fine cloth, wine, spices and other luxury goods were imported from the Danube. Friuli, Istria and southern Greek wines were popular. Food was exported from Bohemia in the opposite direction. Cereals, malt, honey, lard, eggs, fish or poultry, especially goose. Cattle were also often driven south.
Medieval caravans traveled 25 to 30 kilometers per day. She spent the night on the way and also had to water and feed the draft animals. Therefore, inns, watering holes and smithies were built for horses that had lost their shoes. These are her one of the most common archaeological finds on the Golden Trail.
Archaeologist Petr Zavruel of the Museum of South Bohemia in České Budějovice and historian Frantisek Kubu of the Prechatik Museum have been studying the trail for 30 years. For example, they explored the section around Kasperske Hori in detail and found many historical buildings.
For example, the area around the Břemeno hill near Horská Kvilda is a site that shows the activity of medieval trails. The name of the mountain itself is related to the operation. The trail appears here in the form of several parallel deep ruts. Gold was also mined here in the Middle Ages. Gothic swords and pieces of Renaissance armor (helmets and elbow guards) were found at nearby Traxlerska Slat. The Vimper branch of the trail is again visible on the slopes of Boobin near Kuboba Hut.
In addition to merchants, other travelers, most often pilgrims, students, diplomats or artists, traveled the Golden Road. In modern times, reports of glass transportation are more frequent. At Kašperské Hory, rosary glass beads were concentrated in shipping barrels.
The road was devastated during the Thirty Years’ War in the early 17th century. In addition, salt from Linz reached Bohemia via České Budějovice. At the beginning of the 18th century, the road disappeared completely.
But the Golden Trail isn’t the only monument affected by recent deforestation. Others are less important than the Šumava trade ties, but are of great value to archaeologists.
Only a few months ago, from Kosice in the Perkhzhmovsk region, the forest stretched eastward. they are gone now. From the rutted dusty road around him, the visitor observes a vast glade with lone trees. The rare hills nearby are also bare. Originally there was a tree here, but a machine came and cut the tree. They left deep scars and irreparable damage.
A small castle stood here in the 13th and 14th centuries. Probably built of clay and wood, the fortress was reinforced with stone. Experts believe it has a two-storey tower and a gate with a moat and drawbridge. They believe the castle guarded nearby trade routes. There lived his two or his three guards armed with spears, swords and shields.
“Don’t imagine a big fight around. A Ranger could control a store, stop someone and make his way. Hmm,” Archaia organization archaeologist Petr Duffek explains on the spot.
The average visitor doesn’t know it’s in a medieval area. All he sees is a strangely deformed hill. However, the remains have been invaluable to archaeologists. Until a few months ago, mining his machines were smashing through the site. They demolished the ramparts left by the medieval inhabitants, demolished the remains of the moat, and destroyed the foundations.
“Some of the information has been irretrievably lost. The ruins of the castle have been here for 800 years, but in a matter of days they have taken a big hit. It’s like, even if all we have here is the remains of a field,” Duffek explains.
The large castle ruins are clearly monuments of ancient history, but the smaller sites are indistinguishable. Like Kosice Castle, it looks like an indistinct ridge strewn with stones, or like Zlata Stezhka in Šumava, like a dense forest. However, they are all recorded in the National Archaeological Site, and landowners are often unaware of this.
Like the owner of the land with Kosice Castle Ruins. “We haven’t settled anything. It’s not even time to approve an economic plan that all stakeholders can comment on. Monuments and archaeologists have not contacted us. Just now. Castles and archeology. I didn’t see anything that looked like an academic site,” says Milan Mareček, CEO of Gerimo, which has owned the site for 20 years.
Bark beetles are great enemies of forests and monuments
The aforementioned ignorance is mainly a problem in recent years when trees have been cut down extensively due to bark beetle overgrowth. Archaeologists and conservationists don’t have enough people to survey every site. Hundreds of rare sites have been destroyed by mining, according to Jizzy Dregel of the Archaeological Institute of the Brno Academy of Sciences.
The Agency for Cultural Affairs also recognizes this. Despite the legal requirement to report activity that could put valuable sites at risk, the damage is happening. Cultural heritage should not be destroyed. “The actual situation proves that logging forest owners and companies are not very aware of their obligations,” said ministry spokeswoman Petra Hrushova.
An example is given by Doležel. They are talking about the ruins of Piszoret Castle near Bystřice nad Pernsteinem. Perhaps he dates back to the 13th century. “Although it is a cultural property, people took the harvesters and bulldozed to the first castle moat,” he explains.
“Not being registered as a monument does not prevent owners from treating the place like a mother-in-law,” said an archaeologist from Brno, who said that small areas are usually not even cultural monuments. added.
As is the case with the smaller forts scattered throughout the Czech Republic, even the callous intervention in the Kasperska Hora branch of the Golden Trail is not the only incident in Šumava. Archaeologist Zavruel of the Museum of South Bohemia recalls dozens of such cases. According to him, the forest He races as well, Kubova under Bubin He Zlata near the Hut He Vimpar in Stezka He destroyed the most beautiful part of the branch.
At Suché vrch near the Kašperské mountains, miners dug holes after mining for gold at the surface since the 15th century. “Even in this case, it is an important cultural monument, such as the ruins of the Kasperskohora mine and the Kasperk Castle itself,” says historian Holpeniak.
how to punish sinners
Kašperskohorské municipal forest manager Hana Nausová has apologized for the damage at Zlatá stezca near Zhůří and acknowledged the mining company’s fault. “Personally, I would not allow such a thing. Not even my staff would approve. Or we push the peat back, and we bill the mining companies,” he said.
It is impossible to say with certainty what Kočić Hradek near Košice (Koçi Hradek near Košice), as it is nicknamed by the locals, looked like in the Perkhzimov region. Archaeologists Jakub Vazač and Petr Duffek have attempted at least a gradual reconstruction of the assumed shape. The building was an irregular rectangle, 20 meters long and 16-21 meters wide. Archaeologists estimate that two or three of his armed garrisons lived there. Their task was to guard the nearby roads. There were more similar buildings nearby, the closest being about 1.5 kilometers away.
Archaeologist Duffek works on the site of a former castle in Kossetice. He dug as he heard the saws of workers processing tree trunks nearby. An archaeologist will show you the find – a piece of pottery that a local crew member once held a pot on.
Zavruel of the Museum of South Bohemia says the culprits should be punished through administrative procedures. For Golden Pass, this has not happened yet. However, Šumava National Park, not far from Juzy, has escaped other effects of deforestation due to deep rutting. But what he is investigating is not the destruction of archaeological monuments, but the erosion and damage to water bodies, explained park spokesman Jan Dvorak.
he prefers horses to heavy machinery
Archaeologists are not calling for an outright ban on mining near valuable sites. They are a reminder that it is about how workers treat landscapes. His Doležel from the Academy of Sciences says that in some places companies are acting cautiously after notice. However, there are times when risks are ignored. Zavrel, on the other hand, has mostly had bad experiences. “We tried many times to reach an agreement with the forestry company and let them know the valuable location, but it was all in vain,” he says disappointedly.
It is also useful when miners use horses or light old tractors instead of heavy equipment. “However, as soon as mining is started in an industrial way by a group of people interested in nothing but profit, it is wrong,” he adds Doležel.
The Ministry of Culture is also not planning any major changes to the rules. “We have long sought to ensure that information on protected areas is included in the documents governing forest management, as well as the obligation to report mining in areas with archaeological finds to the Academy of Sciences.” spokeswoman Khrushova said.
However, archaeologists fear other areas will be destroyed as well in the future. This would result in a loss of information that would allow historians to more accurately describe the past and understand how people lived on Czech soil centuries ago.