Humpolec was established in the 12th century o an old provincial route joining the nearby Želiv Monastery with Prague and Moravia. The entire region used to belong to Hussites and Jan Želivský, a local native, became the leader of the Prague Radicals. In the 19th century, the town was even called ‘Czech Manchester’ because of its drapery production, which had been developing for more than 500 years. In the 13th-15th century, silver was mined here and flax production, machine building, and repairing were also important. Nowdays, Humpolec is famous particularly for Bernard brewery.
The town is strategically situated in the middle of the D1 motorway joining Prague and Brno and in the picturesque woods of the Vysočina region. On average, Humpolec is 520m above sea level, some hills reaching 620m above sea level. The population of Humpolec is more than 10.000 inhabitants.
The flag of Humpolec consists of two horizontal stripes—a blue one and a white one. Beside the flagpole there is a red square with a golden symbol of Lords of Leskovec.
Many world-famous persons come from Humpolec and its surroundings. First is Dr. Aleš Hrdlička, a world known anthropologist and an assignee of the National Museum in the USA, and Gustav Mahler, an excellent musician, conductor, and composer. Among other Humpolec famous personalities we cannot forget Jindřich Honzl, a theatre director of Osvobozené divadlo (‘the Liberated Theatre’ which later became the National Theatre), Jan Zábrana, a writer and a translator, Ivan Martin Jirous, a writer and a poet, Dr. František Hamza, a writer and a founder of the chest-trouble medical institutions and Jan Želivský, a preacher.
The town symbol consists of three parts. Each part represents the coat of arms of one of the lord families that used to rule in Humpolec. At the bottom of the symbol there is an arrow of Lords from Dubá, above the arrow there are crossed horns of Lords of Leskovec and at the top there is the coat of arms of Trček Lords divided into three stripes. A coiled dart was used as an original symbol till the second half of 14th century.
A 4km long walking trail called ‘Following the History Track’ passes through the historical parts of the town. It starts on the Upper Square (Horni namesti) because the historical buildings, the guide sign, the town plan, the tourist information and the hiking and cycling maps can be found there. The individual markers of the walking trail are situated close to the historical buildings. The history information, the significance of a building, or an interesting related story is always written in three languages. There are also pictures of some interesting interior parts of the building. To find the way easily, your present position is highlighted in a trail plan on each board.
1) Museum of Dr. Aleš Hrdlička,
2) St. Nicola’s Church,
3) Savings Bank,
4) Municipal Library,
5) Evangelic Church,
6) Gočár’s House,
7) Jewish Synagogue,
8) Tolerant Church,
9) Church of St. Jan Nepomucky,
10) Town hall
Mo: ---, Tue, Thu, Fri: 8a.m. – 12a.m., 1p.m. – 4p.m.,
Whe: 8a.m. – 12p.m., 1a.m. – 5p.m.
Sat, Sun: 10a.m. – 4p.m.
The museum was founded on the 28th July 1895 as a local museum by the Museum Association. Its main task was to gather spiritual and material artifacts of the region. All the collections describe the Czech highland region. Come to see 4 permanent expositions, some regularly changed art expositions, and a permanent exposition of minerals.
Hrdlička "indian" exposition
informs about the hypothesis of the origins of the Universe and gives a modern point of view for the beginning of life on the Earth. The exposition is also about human biology, the cycle of human life, and the importance of anthropology according to Dr. Aleš Hrdlička, a world-known anthropologist and an initiator of a theory on human origin. His life credo was: “All mankind is of one origin.”
is the newest one in the museum. It was founded in 2007 and supported by Vysočina Funds. In the first part of the exposition we can have a look at the anthropologist’s study with his handwritings, letters to friends and teachers, research documents, and other little things from his personal life. Dr. Aleš Hrdlička used to live in the USA and he focused most of his life on research of American-Indian tribes. This is the reason why the second part of the exposition is devoted to the Indian tribes. We can see a life-sized Apache, a Sioux, and a Cherokee; as well as a typical Indian ‘Tee-pee’ that you can enter and watch and touch everything on your own. Indian toys, musical instruments, and guns are awaiting curious visitors!
shows the life, work, culture and traditions of the Humpolec region. A village room simply equipped with a weaving loom and a spinning wheel, a typical source of living for poor people, is completed by furniture and other complements from those times. As a contrast, there is a burgess room of Biedermeier style, an example of the way of living of rich people in 19th century. The exposition also contains collections of items representing old crafts like wax-making, gingerbread-making, blue-printing, smithery, flax-making, drapery, and tape-making. You should not pass by without having a look at collections of tobaco pipes, scales, musical instruments, guns and beautiful models of folklore costumes and ceremonial clothings. To have a good laugh and to learn more about a progress in biking since the 19th century, you can see a historical bicycle, so called ‘kostitřas’ (a boneshaker).
describing the life and work of this world-famous composer and conductor was oficially opened in 1986. The exposed documents, letters, and pictures illustrate the whole of Mahler’s life. In the music corner you can plunge deep into his music interpreted by the world-famous orchestras. To have a complete insight into Gustav Mahler’s life, you should visit Kaliště village and his native house. The house used to be a pub and nowdays it is used as an exhibition and a concert hall. The back part of the building serves as a guest house. Mahler’s relatives and his great love from Želiv are buried at the local Jewish cemetery.
Humpolec is also famous for its marionette theatre tradition. Since 1906, when the first show was given, the marionette shows have been put on up to the presesnt day. The exposition includes the texts and pictures documenting the entire marionette history in the Humpolec region. The most attractive part of the exposition contains almost 100 marionettes and scenes grouped together into different settings. You will see a royal family, many robbers and pirates, Honza - a typical fairy-tale character and his chalet, a witch´s cave and the hell!
offers more than 200 mineralogy samples from local private collections. The minerals were mostly found in the close surroundings of Humpolec, but there also are some samples from the entire Vysočina region or other parts of the Czech Republic. The collection was setup in 2004 and it is being regularly updated. Either professionals or ordinary visitors can enjoy a comfortable atmosphere, a wide variety of stones, an educational taxonomy and an eye-appealing lighting.
Climbing 111 stairs to the top of the 26m high tower you can stop along the way to have a look at an exposition of the church history or at an ancient and a renovated clock mechanism. You will also pass two bells and bobs of the tower clock. The total height of the tower is 53m. In July and August the tower is open daily from 10a.m. to 4p.m, in September it is open on weekends only from 10a.m. to 4p.m. On other days it is possible to visit the tower after a request to the Humpolec Tourist Center or to 565 532 479.
Contact: Mgr. V. Staněk, tel: +420 723 723 562
The Jewish cemetery is situated in a forest park near the Orlík Castle outside the town centre. It is also situated on Březina nature trail. The cemetery was founded at the beginning of 18th century and since that time was twice expanded. Upon entering, we can see a ‘bejtstube’, a ceremonial room where the deceased was ritually cleaned before being buried. In the cemetery, there are over 1000 tombstones, many of which are noteworthy and valuable, mainly of baroque and classical style. The cemetery was used for Jews from the entire region and many relatives of Gustav Mahler and Franz Kafka are buried there. There are no opening hours at the cemetery, but it is possible to make an appointment by telephone.
Contact: o.p.s. Castrum, Humpolec, tel: +420 723 735 062, + 420 777 347 511.
Open: May, June, September: Sat, Sun: 10a.m. - 4p.m.,
July, August: Tue – Sun: 9a.m. – 12p.m., 1:30p.m. - 5p.m.
The castle is situated approximately 2km from Humpolec. It was founded at the end of 14th century and one of the original owners was Lord Jindřich from Dubá. In the castle yard we can see a well-preserved entrance gateway, a prism-shaped tower, building and wall ruins and even a renovated baking oven. During the medieval festival, which is traditionally held in July, visitors can try to bake a loaf of bread themselves. Since 1992, the castle has been repaired and nowdays it is getting its original features back. A medieval well near the castle was also repaired and tidied up. The castle was oficially opened in 1997 and these days it is possible to come and see it from June to October. During the summer season many social events, country-music evenings and historical markets are held. The summer season is traditionally ended with an open-air festival of historical films.
Březina nature trail (named after Otokar Březina, a director of the Agriculture School in Humpolec) was founded at the insistance of the Czech Assoiation of Nature Savers in the 1980s. Following this trail, you will see the most interesting nature places around the Orlík Castle. In 2000 the trail was renovated and extended thanks to Castrum o.p.s., the Association of Owl Protection and Humpolec Municipality.
The trail starts at the new part of the forest park and its total lenght is 10km. During a beautiful walk, visitors can stop at 16 trail points with notice boards, pictures, and texts. You will pass the Jewish Cemetery, the Orlík Castle, the legendary Devil’s and Angel’s rocks, three little lakes, a stone sea under the Orlík Castle and some ruins of a former underground tunnel. The first notice board is situated in the forest park near Podhrad basic school (Hradská Street). To get to this point you should follow the blue tourist sign (direction to Lipnice na Sázavou). The nature trail uses its own signs, but at some points it is overlapped by the blue tourist sign going to Lipnice nad Sázavou.
Hašek’s native house
open: July - September: Tue - Sun: 9a.m. - 12p.m., 1p.m. – 4p.m.
Besides the opening hours: Municipal office Lipnice nad Sázavou, tel: +420 569 486 139.
Lipnice nad Sázavou has always been connected with Jaroslav Hašek, a famous writer and the author of a book ‘Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka’ (‘Stories of Švejk, a Good Soldier’). Most of this famous book was written in a small house near the castle and in a nearby pub called ‘U České koruny”(At the Czech Crown’s). Hašek stayed in Lipnice until 3rd January 1923. He died in his house and was burried at a local cemetery. Jaroslav Hašek´s memorial commemorates the life and work of this famous writer.
open: April, September, October: Sat - Sun: 10a.m. - 12p.m., 1p.m. - 4p.m.
May, July: Tue - Sun: 10a.m. - 12p.m., 1p.m. – 4p.m.
July, August: Tue - Sun: 9a.m. - 12p.m., 1p.m. – 6p.m.
Contact: Státní hrad Lipnice, 582 32 Lipnice nad Sázavou, tel: + 420 569 486 189.
Founded at the beginning of 16th century, is one of the largest Czech castles. At the beginning of 16th century, it was rebuilt in a late Gothic style and afterwards it was made up in a Renaisance style. The great tower looks out over 70 km. Besides the tower the visitation involves an armory room, a gothic-stove-tiles exposition, St. Laurence´s Chapel, and a large cellar with an original medieval well. During the summer season, many events, stage plays, concerts, and fencing performances are held in the courtyard. Close to the castle we can see an amphitheatre where concerts, social events, and festivals are organised every summer.
Flooded quarry of stone near Lipnice
A few flooded quarries attractive for swimming or romantic walks are hidden in the woods around Lipnice nad Sázavou.
A trio of statues situated near Lipnice nad Sázavou in the woods with flooded quaries symbolise a time of political domination. Three symbols (a mouth, an ear, and eyes) are carved in rocks and joined together by a tourist sign beginning at Lipnice main square. The over-sized stone reliefs represent also an ability to listen and to communicate.
Mahler’s native house in Kaliště.
Open: visits negotiable only by telephone and at the Municipal office in Kaliště,
tel: +420 565 546 522, house custodian: tel: +420 607 541 633.
Gustav Mahler’s native house used to be a pub, but these days it is being changed into a music and culture centre. Musicians from all over the world have come to know Vysočina as a source of Mahler´s fantastic music. A memorial plaque designed by Milan Knobloch was dedicated to Mahler on the 100th anniversary of his birth. The entire house has been rebuilt as the original pub and a former ballroom is now used as a concert hall with a permanent exposition of paintings. Together with Mahler’s exposition in the Humpolec museum, visitors can learn everything about the master’s life and work.
contact, visits: Želiv Abbey s.r.o., 394 44 Želiv 122, tel: +420 720 225 673, +420 731 598 88.
Želiv Monastery is one of the most valuable art complexes in the Czech Republic. The Monastery was founded in 1139 by Soběslav I, a prince from the Přemyslid family, for St. Benedict´s monestary. Ten years later the Benedictines were replaced by Premonstrates who are still active today. The Virgin Mary’s temple, which was originally built in the Roman style, and the two towers are situated on the upper courtyard and date back to the 12th century. Whatever road you take to come to Želiv, the first thing you see is two 44-m-high temple towers. The temple has some typical and favourite features of Santini, a famous architect. The interior facilities of the monastary date back to the beginning of the 18th century. After the great fire in 1712, some facilities were provided by the abbots Jeroným Hlína, Daniel Schindler, and Arnošt Morávek.
A dam on the Želivka River
is one of the oldest water constructions in the Czech Republic. The Great Dam close to the village Sedlice retains water from two headsprings of the Želivka River. The water continues through a rock in a 800m long tunnel to a hydraulic power plant. The Small Dam near the village of Želiv retains water of the irregularly working power plant. There are many tourist signs in the Želivka valley to follow. You can set out in Želiv; continue upstream through the woods towards the Small Dam and the hydraulic power plant and up the hill to the village Sedlice and the huge barrage of the Great Dam. The Hejlovka and The Hejnický streams meet here and give birth to the Želivka River. The Great Dam was built in 1927; it is 24m high and 123m long and includes ten archs. A new dam called Trnávka is situated near the village Želiv. It was setup on the Trnávka stream and it is a popular summer holiday area. In a river channel, which was specially built-up for slalom races, kayak racing and rafting, competitions and races are held every year.
For this trip you can either set out on foot or follow the red tourist markers by bicycle.
The village of Proseč is 10km from Humpolec and there you can see the well-preserved ruins of a fortress, an example of rural feudalism from the fall of the 14th century. It only served as a feudal seat up to 1550. After being joined to Lipnice manor, it was used as a plough yard building. When the building lost this use, it was permanently abandoned and the exterior fortifications and superior parts were destroyed. In 2001, reconstruction of the fortress was started.
Lime tree in Jiřice
The Lime tree in Jiřice, one of the most valuable local showplaces, is about 800 years old. The tree trunk is hollow. In fact, there are only some remains of bark and wood fibre sufficient to nourish the tree top. The trunk perimetre is more than 5,5m and up to ten people can be hidden in the tree hollow. This legendary and storied lime tree was also often pictured and mentioned in poems. According to a tradition, Jan Želivský used to give his sermons under this tree.
Walker’s memorial in Orlovy woods
The Orlovy woods and the Orlovy forester’s lodge are often associated with the beginings of Czech scouting. Prof. A. B. Svojsík used to spend holidays at her sister’s there. In 1912, he published books ‘One Day in a Scout Camp’and ‘A Czech Scout’. The books were written at the Orlovy lodge and they became basic principals of Czech Scouting. Nowdays, the lodge is the property of the Humpolec Scouts, who commemorated those days in 1996 by dedicating a memorial plaque to Prof. Svojsík.
Jiří Wolker’s memorial, standing not far from the lodge, is also associated with scouting. In 1916, Jiří Wolker spent holidays here and wrote a camp diary for his mother. You can come and see the Orlovy woods with the lodge and the memorial following a blue tourist sign joining Humpolec and Lipnice nad Sázavou.
Stonetown in Kamenice
One of the nice side trips could be a visit to a little wild-west town in Kamenice (cca 10km from Humpolec, direction to Havlíčkův Brod). You will enjoy country music and meet many cowboys, trappers, gangsters, and beautiful women. The little town is really attractive especially in summer.
In 1972, construction of the first 1300m of the D1 motorway was started in the Pelhřimov region. This part of the motorway is unique for its two-storied bridge over the Želivka River. It is about 15km from Humpolec and it joins the villages Vojslavice and Píšť. As early as the beginning of the World War II the first story was built because the motorway had already been planned. Unfortunately, the bridge could not satisfy the up-to-date transport conditions so another bridge was built 12m above the old one. It is 230m long, 29m wide and it weights 2400 tons. Its construction was finished in 1976. The upper story is used as a motorway (joining Prague and Brno), the lower story serves as a local road connecting the villages on the banks of the Želivka River. We can see the original bridge in the Czech movie ‘Romeo and Juliet at the end of November’ shown in 1972.