1 – Kašperské Hory from the Golden Trail and the Golden Road

The town of Kašperské Hory used to belong among the most important Bohemian mining towns in the Middle Ages. In the first half of the 14th century, there was a shift from panning to mining gold. The salt trade coming from the transhipment point in Passau was growing at the time, as was the demand for more luxurious goods from the Danube region and southern Europe. Bohemian king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV thus decided in 1356 to expand the connections between Bohemia and those regions and initiated the founding of two new trade routes from upper Otava region towards Passau and the new town of Grafenau in the Bavarian duchy.

They both began in Passau. The Golden Trail, or rather its third branch, led towards Freyung, Mauth, Bučina, Kvilda, H. Kvilda do K. Hory. Its competitor, the Golden Road, also began in Passau, but led towards the border across the Bavarian duchy, that is Tittling, Grafenau, border crossing Modrý sloup, Březník, Filipova Huť and Horská Kvilda, where it joined the Golden Trail.

Charles IV had the castle Kašperk built 3 km north of the town. It was supposed to protect southwest Bohemia, the gold mines, and ensure safe passage on both mentioned trade routes. The castle also became a residence for the highest court officials in the region.
St. Nicholas church, 1st half of the 14th century
Area, nature, personalities, events

The landscape around Kašperské Hory belongs without a doubt among the most beautiful in our country. Its beauty has long attracted not only artists, but more and more tourists, who like returning here. From a geological standpoint, Kašperské Hory and its surroundings belong to a Šumava branch of the Moldanubian Zone. The dominating rocks are crystalline slates, that in time transformed into gneiss or mica-schist.

The Celts probably already panned the local gold, as suggested by golden Celtic coins found in 1891. Gold was panned until early 14th century, then it was mined. At that point, the town of Kašperské Hory has existed for decades. In 1345, 600 miners from Kašperské Hory helped John the Blind in capturing the town of Landshut (today’s Kamenna Gora) by mining below the towns defences. In return, king John the Blind granted Kašperské Hory town privileges and the right to use a town seal.
Archaeological search of the square in Kašperské Hory, 2010
After the end of the Golden Trail and the Golden Road

When the recovery rate of gold in the local mines began to drop in the 17th century, and the trade on the Golden Road and Trail began to dwindle as well, the town began to focus on glass production, forestry and pastoral farming. In the 19th century, factories producing so-called wooden wire; they would make matches, strollers, carts, scooters. Since the second half of the 19th century, the town supported the development of educational facilities. A specialised lumbering high school was founded here (the famous car designer Josef Sodomka studied there). The educational emancipation of the town peaked when the German grammar school opened in 1911 (today’s primary school).

Apart from economic prosperity, the prestige of the town was elevated by the establishment of the judiciary district Kašperské Hory.

The town and its surrounding later became a setting of several novels by a famous Šumava writer Karel Klostermann.

In 1910 there were 2228 inhabitants living in 214 homes, 2127 of which were German nationals. After WWII the Germans were forcibly displaced. New settlers from Czechoslovakia and some Romanian Slovaks took their place.