10 – Bučina and the Kašperské Hory branch of the Golden Trail beyond the border

Bučina and the Kašperské Hory branch of the Golden Trail around Passau

Here, the age-old Golden Trail left the Bohemian lands and crossed the bridge over the border stream towards today’s village of Finsterau. Then the trail continued to Passau across the land of the Passau bishopric.

The Golden Trail used the be the very axis and arterial road of this region, the landscape of which gradually descended from the ridge of Šumava, through a charming hilly area, to the wide valley of the Donau. Since the early 13th century, the tiny state of the Passau bishops belonged into the varied patchwork of land units of the medieval Holy Roman Empire and bishops ruled it until 1803.

On the Passau land, the Kašperské Hory branch left Passau in the direction of Freyung and then led through Kreuzberg and expansive uninhabited border forests and wetlands all the way here, on the border of the Bohemian kingdom. During the Middle Ages, the land around the trail was gradually settled all the way to Kreuzberg with a noticeable church on a hill. The land closer to the border was only settled after the Thirty Years War. By 1704, it reached Finsterau, the last Passau village before the border.
The oldest map of the Golden Trail from 1520
Area, nature, personalities, events

The former highest located settlement (1162 m.a.s.l.) was founded in the second half of the 18th century. Currently, it is the rainiest place in Šumava – yearly, 1600 mm or rain falls down here.

The vegetation here stabilised about 3000 years ago. Mixed mountain forests are typical for Šumava, especially the mountainous acidic beechwoods. The canopy consists mainly of beech, fir, and spruce. In 1200 meters and higher, mountain spruce forests are most common.

Shrubby layer is dominated by honeysuckle and daphne. A rich herbaceous layer includes bittercress, sanicle, bedstraw, etc.

After the end of the Golden Trail and the Golden Road

The village was founded in the 18th century in deep beech forests of the Zdíkov estate belonging to the House of Malovec of Chýnov, after the Golden Trail stopped existing. Its people made their living mainly with the help of the forest and their lives were difficult.

After the year 1865, Bučina and Kvilda were connected by a new road, which brought new visitors as tourism began to grow. Apart from the deep forests and nearby springs of the Vltava, they were also attracted by the beautiful views. According to old tourist guides, Bučina offers the most stunning view of the Alps – during cold winter mornings, just before sunrise.
Bučina in the first half of the 20th century
In 1911 there were 37 houses with 347 inhabitants, 8 of which used Czech as their first language, others were German. There were hotels, a savings bank, a station of the financial guards, a German school, and since 1937 a Czech one as well.

The chapel from 1891 was renewed with the help of Bučina’s former inhabitants.