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International educational path across the Lužické and Žitavské mountains

The path crosses the rocks of Bílé kameny (White Stones), Krkavčí skály rocks and the German border crossing at Hrádek nad Nisou – Loučná/Hartava, and continues via Töpfer back across the border crossing at Lückendorf/Petrovice. It will then take you to the Lemberk Chateau and back to Jítrava via Polesí. The main path may be shortened by two marked connections – Polesí – Horní sedlo saddle and Petrovice – Krásný důl glen.

The educational path crosses the eastern part of the Lužické and Žitavské mountains, partly copying the line of the significant geological fracture, the Lužice edge.  The 27 stations describe the natural and cultural sights, the history of settlements, tourism and mountaineering on both sides of the mountain range.

Bílé Kameny (White Stones)

The natural monument ofBílé kameny, also popularly called Sloní kameny (Elephant Stones), really reminds us of the backs of a standing herd of elephants. The rocks are distinguished by the unusually light, nearly white colour of the sandstone.  The rocks are formed of oblique layers of light sandstone. In the past the sandstone was exposed to intense erosion, which continuously widened the fissures and ground the rock surface into their present shape.  The rocks hide several hollows and caves. The biggest cave is about 6 m long. One of the rocks also features a miniature, over 4 m long rock tunnel.

Kozí hřbety (Goat Backs)

Sandstone rocks with relatively smooth oblique walls on the south-west and up to 20 m high steep rock scarps on the north-east. This is the site of a significant geological fracture called the Lužice edge. The hilltops offer a beautiful vista of the western part of the Lužické mountains and the Českolipsko region, or towards the north across the Lužická Nisa valley far into Germany.  Below the range top there are a number of abandoned quarries, where top-quality sandstone was quarried as a building material.

Töpfer

Stolová hora mountain, with its peak 582 m above sea level, is mainly known for a number of bizarre sandstone rock shapes on its flat top, and further for the picturesque Töpferbaude mountain inn and a beautiful vista of the Upper Lužice landscape, the Krkonoše (Giant Mountains), the Jizerské hory mountains and the Žitavská pánev basin. Töpfer is dominated by a Rock Gate, called the Crown in the past due to its shape, made accessible some time around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries by a spiral staircase as an observation point.

 

 

Popova skála rock

Popova skála rock (565 m above sea level) is a mighty sandstone rock. A small rock gate and a couple of smaller caves were formed between the boulders piled on the northern side of the rock. On the top there is an accessible observation point with a panoramic vista of the wider surroundings.

 

Scharfenstein

Scharfenstein is a dominant rock shape near Oybin and Lückendorf.On the northern side of the rock massif there are still visible remains of cut steps, which are assumed to come from the Middle Ages when Scharfenstein was probably used as an observation platform.  The adapted observation point on the top offers a beautiful panoramic vista of the Žitavské hory mountains with Oybin, Hvozd and Luž, with the Ještěd range in the south-east and the Jizerské hory mountains and the Krkonoše when the weather permits.

Lemberk

Lemberk Chateau was originally a border watch tower on the trade route to Žitava (Germany). Of the original building, inhabited by St. Zdislava, only the cylindrical tower is visible, with the other parts hidden under Renaissance and Baroque reconstructions.  The points of greatest interest inside the chateau include the chapel, the dining hall with its rare cassette ceiling and painted scenes from Aesop fables, a governor's office with a safe from the early 19th century, a black kitchen, an armoury and the Liebig rooms, showing the lifestyle of this major textile industrialist and his family at the now inaccessible chateau of New Falkenburg at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Around the chateau there is a Baroque garden with the so called Zdislava fountain.

 

Horní Sedlo (Upper Saddle)

Horní Sedlo is a small recreational settlement in a saddle where the Ještěd range and the Lužické mountains meet.  The date the settlement started is not known; the first written mention only coming from 1628, when the settlement belonged to the Grabstein estate and was mainly inhabited by wood cutters. Today the village is mainly used for recreation and is often visited by mountaineers who climb the neighbouring Horní and Vraní skály (Upper and Crow Rocks), accessible via the romantic Mountaineers' path. By the road above the village there is a mighty linden tree and a chapel, where you can also see one of the many light fortified objects of the defensive line built in 1937-38.

Loupežnický vrch (Highwaymen's Hill)

Loupežnický vrch hill (539 m above sea level) is a flat basalt hill with two tops and a limited vista.  Winterstein Castle used to stand here, probably used for guarding the trade path connecting Bohemia and Lusatia.  The name Větrov, which is what the ruin is called today, is modern and has no historic connections.  The castle was virtually taken to pieces in the past (probably in 1442 after it was pulled down) without any traces whatsoever left today. The reports on the castle's existence are contradictory and it is not one-hundred percent certain whether it actually existed. 

By Tobias' pine

Tobias' pine stands on a forest path crossing by the red tourist path.  More than 100 years ago its used to be a major orientation point in the middle of large forests, where not only tourists but also smugglers stopped and rested on their way.  When around 1,800 trees were logged here, the merchant Tobias Kunze of Dolní Sedlo left this pine in place and suspended a picture of St. Tobias, his patron saint, on it. The picture also gave the pine its name.  The path once marked the boundary of the Grabstein and the Jablonné estates, today remembered by the stone landmarks with the year 1723 chiselled in them together with the letters G (Gabel = Jablonné) and GS (Grafenstein = Grabstein). 


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