6 – The Horská Kvilda system

The Horská Kvilda system of the Golden Trail

With its size it belongs among the smaller systems with a simpler pattern of sunken lanes and, as most preserved systems on the Kašperské Hory branch, it exemplifies the course of a medieval route in a mountainous terrain over 1000 meters above sea level.

It hides in a forest north of the village of Horská Kvilda, on a gradual southern slope of the Břemeno mountain (1156 meters), where it is cut across by a road from Rejštejn and Zhůří to Horská Kvilda and Kvilda. The main route of the system spreads across its entire length from the road to the edge of the forest and is about 2 meters wide and up to 2 meters deep. About halfway, the Horská Kvilda system has up to five parallel routes (Including the main one). Pieces of old paving, which probably come from its later usage, can still be found on the main route.

On the edge of the forest north of Horská Kvilda, all the routes connect into one large sunken lane, which ends on the edge of a large grassy plain and becomes a narrow ground lane. The Golden Trail then clearly continued further south alongside the route of today´s unpaved road across the partly waterlogged meadow into a place, where the Golden Road separated from it to continue to Bavaria and where later the village of Horská Kvilda would be founded.

Area, nature, personalities, events

The Horská Kvilda system was measured and subjected to detailed research. The result is a collection of 16 iron findings, mostly horseshoes, but also various other ironwork, hook nails, nails, cotters, keys, and knives, proving the presence of horses as well as armed escorts of caravans in this part of the Golden Trail. The findings are mostly from the late Middle Ages or early modern history, examples being a medieval sword or a piece of renaissance armor.

One important discovery are the remains of a smithy, found in 2001 and located right by one of the shafts very close to the Horská Kvilda system. It was used not only for sharpening mining tools, but also for shoeing the travelling beasts of burden pulling the caravans. Apart other things, two horseshoes were found here, which were subjected to metallographic analysis. Those have shown that one of the horseshoes did not have any adjustments made to the bottom side, while the other one had a steel plate on it, which was supposed to raise the horseshoe´s endurance against overuse. They are the first verifiably medieval horseshoes from Bohemain and Moravian lands.

Even before the Golden Trail´s existence, people came here in search of gold. The medieval history of gold panning is still reminded to us by small hills of gangue alongside the Hamry stream. These hills were created by panning of the gold bearing bed of the stream.
Findings of medieval horseshoes and a dagger in the area of former gold mines by Horská Kvilda
After the end of the Golden Trail and the Golden Road

Horská Kvilda got its name after its affiliation to Kašperské Hory. For example, in 1910 there were already 52 houses with 432 inhabitants, all of German nationality. An important historical site is the reconstructed Polauf´s Inn, today Hotel Rankl. It was here that Karel Klostermann situated his novel “In the Paradise of Šumava”.