Tourism in the Ore Mountains
As a tourist group we focus on attractive regional aspects and describe the potential of the Ore mountains area from our point of view as well we pointed out few shortcomings.
In the beginning our wishes and recommendations can be found. The second part of our paper is devoted to present our perspective on history of the region, its environment and nature, local people, traditions, religion, cross-border relations, accommodation, infrastructure, entertainment and available activities, art, architecture, food and local curiosities. This part is largely supposed to provide background data for the group work and its quality can be varying.
What are our wishes
For tourists the area needs to be attractive. This includes diverse offers of activities for different tourists. A well visible history of area is essential for us, like e.g. archaeological sites, ancient architecture, museums, various sites. Even presented history of coal extraction can be enchanting to us. We need the overall good image of the region thanks to the beautiful landscape, villages, cities and architectural heritage.
A diverse nature linked with well preserved landscape are main points of interest. But a revitalised or re-cultivated area can be interesting for us as well. Various well marked tourist trails - also connected with German side attract the sportive tourists. But for others recreation sites in re-cultivated land can be attractive as well - for example near the lake Matylda.
Local people should be welcoming and friendly to us. We search for a culturally rich area. We wish local people to be rich in their cultural traditions, crafts, skills and knowledge and to present them and their history and architecture to us. Wood carving, wood art, production of toys and other beautiful wooden products greatly attract us. We are often focused to visit religious sites as well as religious festivals. Visitors coming to this region would be pleased to visit both sides of the border. Co-operative trans-border tourist projects, like the UNESCO Montanregion Ezgebirge, is very essential for us. Therefore we would be very pleased if people from the area have foreign language skills.
A border region should offer a diverse good quality accommodation with great travel options. These services need to be easily accessible for local as well as foreign tourists, this includes infrastructure as well as information and a reliable regional transport system.
Creation of regional tourist package for first time tourists coming to this area. The obstacles might be smaller by not needing to search for accommodation, activities and sightseeing. The next time modular system can be used to individualize the holiday. Therefore an functional over all tourism marketing is necessary. To make booking easier, an internet based booking-system in various languages is useful.
Establishment of intercultural/ cross-border projects for enhancing foreign language skills especially for the tourism branch.
Imrovement of cities and villages appearance.
We wish the improved quality of the environment as well.
- The mining activities have an health influence on workers as well as an on tourists.
- Functionalist architecture of new-build most an similar 70s skyscrapers. This region was “object” to important historic changes.
- The mountains have a changing history. They are rich of ores, minerals, water, wood and black coal by nature. But this is not obviously visible by tourists. A lot of explanation has to be made by guides or museums. Knowledge about history and environment would have to be transformed from scientific research into easily understandable tourist brochures.
Topics of interest
The ore mountains are secondary mountains between Germany and Czech republic in middle of Europe. The highest mountain is called Klínovec (Keilberg) with the amount of 1.244 m located on the Czech side of the mountains. These mountains have a changing history. They are rich of ores, minerals, water, wood and black coal by nature.
- first settlement in 12. century (discovery of silver ore)
- in 13. century glass works, loose meaning when
- start of mining in 14. century from Bohemia
- settling and mining goes on in 15. century an gets more as large economy part
- most important mining area in Europe in 16. century
- lot of immigration in 16. century
- re-catholisation in Bohemia in 1624-1626 -> immigration of protestants from Bohemia to Saxony
- ore mining gets less in 17. century after 30 years-war
- textile production (lace making), wooden products and wooden toy production as new economic sector
- digging of other material (cobalt, kaolin)
- in the end of 19. century silver lost meaning of currency
1913 last silver mine gets closed. Raw material for 1st and 2nd WW revived mining. The German population living in this area gets ex-pulsed and people from Czechoslovakia come to settle there. Lots of former German houses, where no one lives, get disturbed. In some areas 90 percent German population have gone. About over 1 million new inhabitants. No relationship to the villages and cities, somewhere the population increased, somewhere less, some not been revived after 2nd WW GDR and Czechoslovakia mined uranium ore and tin.
Displaced people and their descendants. People with interests in hiking, geology, mining, history, etc.
- diverse nature here in eastern Ore Mountains( in comparison with western Ore Mountains,(oral source: Petr Miksicek)
- some nature parks and natura 2000 areas under protection, seldom bird species and diverse biodiversity of trees (oral source, lecture by Pavel Sremer)
- revitalised/ re-cultivated areas can be interesting (and show how nature changed over the time)
- hiking trails, also connected with Germany (http://www.tschechische-gebirge.de/erzgebirge/wanderwege.html), but offerings for younger target group are missing. Geo-cashing would be great.
- cross-country skiing locations
- artificial “Matylda” lake, located in northern Most, is an example of a re-cultivated mining area; the lake offers occasions of water sports and relaxing on the east side and for fishing on the west side. (Most official tourims website)
- destroyed landscape and “moon landscape”
- destroyed forests due to acidified soil/ acid rain during 80s/ 90s. Forest died on large scale or were clear cut because so heavily affected. Clear cutting also led to a seperation of ecosystems.
People, Traditions, Religion, Cross-border relations
The region of the Ore Mountains was originally populated by versatile and culturally rich population due to “its profitable geographically border location”. Before the second world war there was a high density of human settlements. Ancient population of the region was largely comprised of German and Czech inhabitants. After the second world war Germans were ex-pulsed from the region and the area was resettled by Czechs from all over the Republic. These people have no traditional links with their area. Their current culture is a fraction of the original one at best.
- its re-creation is needed at most places, roots of local inhabitants go back predominantly not further than to the 40s’, socialistic planning deeply affected the society, large forced population transfers between 30s’ and 90s’
- versatile controlled destruction and decline of the region - good people were going away and bad people going in
- the German side of this border region is specific by the better situation and by the smaller number of far-reaching problems - people are friendlier, linked with their towns or villages and environment, than they are on the Czech side
Former inhabitants of the Czech side of the region were rich in their cultural traditions, crafts, skills and knowledge. Wood industry with associated fields such as wood carving, wood art, production of toys and other products. Traditional farming were great examples of local people’s skills. Various colourful cultural traditions and customs were characteristic for local dwellers. On the Czech side nearly everything of these previous crafts have not been preserved until today - few customs remains predominantly in villages Other side on the border, the German side can gather from the well preserved history -people knowledgeable of cultural traditions as well as wood products manufacturing skills, broadly sustainably developed in the area.
Lot of tourists are focused to visit religious sites, as well as religious festivals and traditions. Therefore, religion activities can be very significant for this region.But there is a presently better situation is on the German side of the border. However both churches, Catholic on Czech side and Protestant on German side, suffer members fading.
Visitors coming to this region would be pleased to come at both sides of the border. From this reason tourism is the large opportunity for future co-operation of these areas. Unfortunately there is still a lack of language skills of the other language on both sides of the boarder (cp. (http://cdu-erzgebirge.de/2011-04/boehmisch-saechsische-tourismusregion-neue-qualitaet/ http://www.tschechien-portal.info/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=4021&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0). Solving this is considered an important step to a cross-boarder tourism cooperation. Possible corporations are from the field of wood production and wood carving. But also development planning would be better to be done mutually, especially for tourism interests.
Accommodation and how to get there and around
Without doubt the local border region should offer a diverse good quality accommodation with great travel options. These services need to be easily accessible for local as well as foreign tourists. Large towns offer prevailing quite good quality of accommodation - there are entrance gates to the region and tourists suppose them to look nice.
The quality of accommodation in villages is not as good as in cities and local infrastructure is predominantly unsatisfactory. The regional transport needs to be at least at “attractive” level and similarly reliable.
Entertainment and available activities
In the Most Region offers a broad range of activities. Active and sports people will be glad to find hiking trails (also connected to Germany), skiing hills in the winter, cross country skiing and slopes for mountain biking. Many websites of tourism information provide good information on hiking trails.
Other entertainment include the Autodrome in Most, the Hippodrome, a horse race stadium in Most, and a Aquadrom in Most, the Most Replica of castle Hnevin is an interessting cultural sight as well. (http://www.mesto-most.cz/DE/vismo/dokumenty2.asp?id_org=101092&id=1048&p1=1102)
The German nearby city Seiffen can show you a lot of art and manufacturing traditions.
On the German site, tourism is now organised by an overall tourism association “Erlebnisheimat Erzgebirge” with focus on the topics
- adventure mining and cultural treasures
- traditional handcrafts and christmas wonderland
- sports and vitalty
The association is result of a project for connecting and coordinting all the different tourism activities in the region, to make the region more attractive to tourists and information easier accessible. The site can be considered as very appealing for tourists on the German side of the boarder but a connection to sights in the Czech region is not included. (www.erzgebirge-tourismus.de).
The bohemian silver street is a really interessting historic relic on both sites of the boarder. Tourismusverein Erzgebirge (located in Annaberg-Buchholz) is taking care of development and marketing.
When searching for Czech overall tourism associations and websites, there are some, like e.g. : http://www.ceskehory.cz/krusne-hory/; http://www.turistik.cz/cz/lokality/krusne-hory/; http://www.vyletnik.cz/; http://www.krusnehory.eu, but it is difficult to get orientation by these. Sometimes translations needed to be improved or even only a version in one language exsists and particularly need to be linked to each other.
Information about touristic destinations in the region can be found at
- http://www.kreis-bruex.de/bruex-s/start-bruexs.htm (on Most, in german language)
- http://www.mesto-most.cz/DE/vismo/dokumenty2.asp?id_org=101092&id=1048&p1=1102 (official homepage of Most, with cz, engl. and german version)
Art, architecture, food and local curiosities
The Czech Food is well known in middle Europe an connected to all the states around especially to Austria. Typical side dish are dumplings. These can be made of potatoes, yeast, bread or both. Next to it a huge range of meat and joints will be offered. Local dishes are part of our interests and create an impression of the country.
In the Most region, of course, Most is the biggest city. Besides, there are Litvínov and Jirkov. The old royal town Most with its ancient architecture is no longer visible, as the town was removed and rebuilt, due to mining activities. The changes of architecture within the time would be an interesting topic for architecture fans. This, as well as other chapters of history seem not be profoundly reappraised and information is not provided a lot. Little villages appear poorly maintained and predominantly their architecture is not very valuable.