Špindlerův Mlýn has long been called the pearl of the Giant Mountains. Read about the history of this popular mountain resort.
In the heart of the giant mountains
The city center is in an exceptionally beautiful and convenient location. It lies at the confluence of the valleys through which the young Labe nd Dolský stream flows. Špindlerův Mlýn is protected on all sides by the mountain ranges of the Czech inland ridge: Kozí Hřebety, Pláň and Krkonoše, which end in Medvědín. Only the narrow gorge between the mountain ranges, on which the future European Labe flows south, connects the place with the rest of the world. Today's Špindlerův Mlýn, however, includes other settlement agglomerations that were previously independent municipalities, namely: Svatý Petr, Bedřichov, Labská - once Krausovy Boudy and Volský Důl.
Covering an area of 7,692 ha, which is mainly covered by forests, this hut includes mountain huts in meadow enclaves from Labská to Luční.
Many of them climbed over the upper edge of the forest.
The still beautiful, historically marked forest stands on an area of 6,872 ha have preserved the shape of a mixed mountain forest here until the 16th century. He was made by wild animals, which included a bear, a wolf, a lynx and a wild cat.
In the footsteps of the metal workers
Probably the oldest settlement in the territory of today's "big" Špindlerův Mlýn was an insignificant group of poor cottages, serving perhaps only seasonally as shelters for miners and various huts around smelters processing ore. The oldest reports of places on the slopes of Kozí hřbet, Železná hora and Stoh date back to the beginning of the 16th century
At that time, the Czech King Ludvík Jagelonský allowed the miners in Svatý Petr (1516 - 1521) deadlines for paying tithes and relief.
However, the historian Erhard Müller states that Svatý Petr was founded only after 1600. This is supported by the fact that it is not on the map of the Trutnov painter Šimon Huttel from 1580.
The mining of silver, copper and arsenic ores also caught the attention of Kryštof von Gendorf, who acquired the Vrchlabí estate and contributed to the mining of Vrchlabí in an upper town (1533). Krkonoše silber took part in the minting of the royal coin, where it was removed. In 1621 it traveled from Svatý Petr to Prague for 9,728 gold copper and silver. The work in the mines was very difficult and difficult due to the hardness of the rocks. It often had to be interrupted due to sudden natural disasters. The mines were often flooded with torrential water during downpours, and snow avalanches were threatened in winter. The lack of mining technology had to be replaced by the miners' trust in God's providence. This is often evidenced by the very poetic names of the excerpts, for example "With God's blessing" on the pile or "God's help" in the Klausengraben, ie in the long mine.
There wasn't a lot of silver. Nonetheless, according to local tradition, it was part of a noble bell tower from which a local "death knell" known for its high-pitched voice was cast. The sound first came from the old chapel in Svatý Petr and then he was moved to the present church in the center of Spindleruv Mlyn. In the 17th century mining was interrupted for a long time by the Thirty Years' War. The new owners of the Vrchlabí estate tried to resume mining, but with poor results. The last attempts go back to the early 20th century.
Attack on the forest
Ingeniously organized logging develops almost at the same time as the mining business. It is another important part of today's "great" Špindlerův Mlýn Labská or Krausova Boudy. The colonists who gave them their original name came here from the Upper Danube around 1550. Soon, the beautiful triangular enclave north of Honza's ditch became the focus of the use of the local forest wealth and the famous builders of Krausebudští.
With experience from the Alpine countries, they organize the logging (mining and fuel) for silver mines in Kutná Hora. Enclosures that hold back spring water grow on the mountain streams nearby, and with them processed wood flows along the Elbe to Starý Kolín and then overland to Kutná Hora. Extinct place names indicate this activity: Klausengraben (Dlouhý důl), the Klausenbach (Dřevařský potok), which flows into the Elbe from the left at Michlova mlýna.
The Krkonoše virgin forest disappears under the blows of axes and, with the whistling of saws, also on the slopes of Kozí hřbet. They are led by the hands of other lumberjacks-experts, who establish another site in the area from today's bridge over the Elbe to the church. It is said that they came from Virtenberg around 1785 and the vast majority of their surnames speak of their profession: Hollmann, originated from Holzmann (= lumberjack).
According to tradition, the new settlers wore a log (Spalte) in the evening for all-day work in the forest.
Thus, the group of five cottages, which later grew, was named Spaltenbauden. They were joined by Sachrovy Boudy. In 1835, Spalkové Boudy already had 18 and Sachrovy Boudy had 12 cottages, while in Svatý Petr there were 49 buildings in the same year.
Thanks to considerably ruthless deforestation not only for mines, but also for burning charcoal in miles, large meadow enclaves are created in the mountains, which are recklessly expanded above the forest border by burning conifers. The mountain meadows are then used for summer grazing and silage. On the initiative of the administration of the Harrachů estate, the Krausebudské dvorské boudy under Velký Šišák were established, such as Martinova bouda (1642) and Brádlerovy Boudy (1637), as old as possible. Manor cattle with service staff come here for the summer. Boudní management gradually from the second half of the 17th and in the 18th century became, in addition to forestry, the predominant form of economic use of the cadastre of today's Špindlerův Mlýn.
The administrations of two estates are divided between them: the Jilemnice-Branské counties of the Harrach family and the Czernin-Morzin family from Vrchlabí. The dividing line was the river Elbe.
During the heyday of building management, we also receive reports of the existence of another, once independent settlement of the Vrchlabí estate, today also part of Špindlerův Mlýn - Volský Důl. It is first mentioned in 1676. It was named after a pasture for manors from Vrchlabí. However, it is possible that the settlement got its name from the old miners, who marked the places where ore occurred.
Due to its foundation, today's most exhibitable part of Špindlerův Mlýn - Bedřichov deviates somewhat from this scheme.. It was originally part of the village of Krausovy Boudy. In 1740, Fabián Donth, a glassmaker from Rokytnice, built a small glassworks here with the permission of the Harrachov estate administration. She was supposed to process disastrous wood from the breaks after the storm that swept here. However, after a short existence, it disappeared relatively soon. However, the area remained inhabited and developed slowly. About forty years later, an ironworks was built here on the instructions of Count Jan Nepomuk von Harrach. It burned down in 1807 and has not been restored.
A sawmill was built in the incinerator in 1812. We would now look in vain for monuments to these objects. Only the name of Jan's predecessor Bedřich von Harrachů reminds of the diverse past of the place. Mill on the banks of the Elbe
Špindlerův Mlýn as an independent settlement enters history only on July 13, 1793.
On that day, they were crowned with the success of the efforts of neighbors who met in a mill on the banks of the Elbe, belonging to the miller Špindler. The inhabitants of the lumberjacks' cottages on the slopes of Kozí hřbet and kutiště in Dlouhý důl were allowed to build their own church by a patent of the monarch František I. It was to replace the crumbling chapel in St. Peter. It is strange why the enlightened monarch Joseph II, to whom the neighbors turned twice with the same request (in 1784 and 1787), did not comply. At the same time, he allowed the construction of churches in Velká and Malá Úpa without difficulty. There was an unpleasant mistake in compiling the application and then the patent in Vienna. Instead of the correct name of the owner of the Spindler mill, "Spindel", ie Spindel-Mühle, was mentioned. This was followed by translations into Czech. Břetenský Mlejn (1842) and after 1918 Vřetenný Mlýn, which the Ministry of the Interior had to convert to Špindlerův Mlýn in a special decree.
Sanctuary of Svatý Petr.
The makeshift church, built of wood soon after the patent was issued, became the spiritual center of the newly formed village. At first, it belonged as a non-independent local under the patronage of the religious fund. It was not until June 26, 1802 that the foundation stone for a new brick church was laid. It was completed at the end of 1807. The first solemn service was held here on November 1 of the same year. The economic center of the village remained the mill on the banks of the Elbe with the mayor Špindler, after which, unfortunately, there is no monument. It is said to have stood approximately on the site of the later hotel "Spindelmühle". Judge Lamb writes about them in the description of the Vrchlabí estate (year 1830) that they rarely have anything to grind, because grain can only be transported here by sleigh in winter.
The beginnings of tourism in Špindlerův Mlýn
While already at the beginning of the 19th century, groups of romantic lovers of mountain nature from the Silesian Warmbrunn (now Cieplice Šlaskie) with leaders and porters headed to the ridges of the Giant Mountains, around the church of St. Petra is still calm. Report in the book Dr. Hosera about a manorial hunter, who provides good accommodation and hospitality for guests in Špalkové Boudy, appears as the first swallow from the beginnings of local tourism. With his admiration for the place at the beginning of the 19th century (1804), the author foresaw his glorious future.
The transformation of several groups of lonely cottages into a mountain resort did not occur until the second half of the 19th century, completely inconspicuously.
The beauties of the place were "discovered" as the first four guests from Silesian Wrocław on their first visit in 1864. They stayed in two ground floor rooms and a "girls' chamber" of the already well-known Špindlerův Mlýn mill. Enchanted by the local environment, they began to come here every year in the summer and spread the fame of Špindlerův Mlýn in the world.
Connection with the world
The availability of the emerging mountain resort was initially very difficult. The poorly navigable trade route through Jelení Bouda to Slezské sedlo and to Hain (today Przesieka) under the control of the customs office in Bedřichov was important in contact with the then Prussia. Bad roads connected with the Czech hinterland. One from Jilemnice via Rovinka to Krausovy Boudy and Bedřichov, the other from Vrchlabí via Strážné along the route of the so-called Věřina path to Svatý Petr. The change came when a poor sidewalk through the valley along the Elbe was replaced by a firmer road in the 1970s. The Krkonoše Association (Oesterreichischer Riesengebirgsverein - OeRGV), whose founder and chief functionary was a teacher in Krausovy Boudy and in Maršov, Eduard Rudolf Petrák, a native Bohemian from Horní Branná, made a major contribution to the popularity of Spindler's Mill. The association has set up a network of marked trails in the mountains.
In Špindlerův Mlýn several guest houses with accommodation have grown up. The ridge huts have also been realigned to provide services to tourists. Poor miners became wealthy businessmen and hoteliers. The Giant Mountains are becoming the most accessible mountains in Bohemia.
Fascinated by the white poisoning
Initially, the expensively built accommodation facilities came to an honor in the summer. Špindlerův Mlýn went to a group of resorts (German Luftkurort). However, inventive miners discovered an attraction that attracted guests considerably even in winter. Originally used only for the transport of wood or hay, the sledges used were adapted for merry rides with winter guests. This created a "rohaček sport". One of the famous routes of the rohačka rides led from the Silesian side of the mountains to Špindlerův Mlýn. The "athletes" rode on horse-drawn stags to Petrovka, where after a hearty snack they started a romantic-adventurous ride with an experienced mountaineer between the corners of the sleigh to Dívčí Lávky and on to Špindlerův Mlýn.
Before the end of the 19th century, however, Roháček's sport pushed skis into the background. In the end, their enthusiastic lovers took full control of Špindlerův Mlýn and the entire Krkonoše Mountains, and the winter season finally became the main, economically decisive period.
Krakonoš defends himself
At the end of the 19th century, Špindlerův Mlýn and the entire mountains were hit by catastrophic natural disasters. Torrential clouds annoyed mountain streams and rivers that became an uncontrollable element. On July 17, 1882, and especially on July 29 and 30, 1897, floods caused great material damage to buildings near the Elbe and claimed human lives.
This was the impetus for the start of reinsurance work, to which the state also contributed financially. For many years, specialists from the southern parts of the monarchy - Italians - worked as stonemasons on the regulation of watercourses. During this work near the bridge, the bed of the Elbe was moved a little to the west, so that several Bedřichov buildings were on the left bank behind the water.
The most important intervention in the landscape in the area of the Krausknospen, however, was the construction of a dam on the Elbe in the years 1910-14. Before that, a retention water reservoir with a length of about one kilometer and an area of 40 ha was created. Its very useful function of retaining rainwater, for example, has often proven itself in the 1970s or 1997.
The development of the town of Špindlerův Mlýn after the First World War is inextricably linked to the personality of its mayor in the years 1919-1936. MUDr. Wilhelm Piek came here as a young doctor and got to know the area so well that it became his beloved home. Not only because he comfortably married one of the richest local brides, Antonia Adolfová, the heiress of a hotel in the center - Spindelmühle. While performing his function, which he supplemented with other extensive public activities, in 1934 Špindlerův Mlýn acquired toboggan runs, ice rinks, a hockey field, an electric toboggan run, a summer swimming pool and, in particular, a ski jumping hill ... The death of 1936 saved him more closely from sad fate Relative. He was of Jewish descent.
Pick's period is characterized by the fact that the Czech element in Špindl is used more and more frequently. Bedřich Hloušek works as a tenant in Labská bouda, Ferdinand Nejedlý in Martinovka and the Lhotov family in Špindlerův Mlýn. In the center the Hotel Slavie is run by Josef Košťál.
Špindlerův Mlýn today
After the time of the Second World War, when Špindlerův Mlýn and most of the buildings became a refuge for evacuees from various bombed parts of Germany at that time or was overcrowded with medical wards for Wehrmacht members, its further rapid development took place.
In the area of Špindlerův Mlýn there are 640 buildings with an area of 7,692 hectares (6,872 hectares of which are forests). There are 43 hotels, 134 pensions and 23 mountain huts. 1,300 permanent residents and a number of other temporary workers in tourism live here. Housing construction in Špindlerův Mlýn has mainly focused on Bedřichov, where there are now 310 new apartments. Many private guest houses have been built and some older buildings have been modernized.
New hotels have been built in Špindlerův Mlýn, the Špindlerův Mlýn ski area has changed beyond recognition and the town of Špindlerův Mlýn is constantly being developed. The town of Špindlerův Mlýn retains its priority among the mountain areas in the Giant Mountains.
Used photographs - extensive historical archive with photographs by Špindlerův Mlýn - Martin Jandura
The texts are used with the kind permission of the text from František Jirásek's book "Špindlerův Mlýn" - Gentiana Verlag, Krkonošská 812, 514 01 Jilemnice. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org