This cycle trail, one of a number of well-planned and mapped tours in the Czech Republic, runs from Jihlava in the heart of the Bohemian-Moravian highlands northwards to Kutna Hora in Central Bohemia, west of Prague. The trail covers about 83 km (52 mi) of track, with short country road sections, through wooded, rolling hills, river valleys, villages, and two charming towns with Mahler connections. In medieval times this was a wealthy and important silver-mining region. Jihlava was founded by King Wenceslas in the 13th century and prospered. However, it never recovered from the ravages of the Thirty Years' War, though it still has many fine medieval and renaissance buildings. In 1865 the Mahler family moved here.
Gustav attended the grammar school and learnt music; his love of Czech folk tunes was life-long. His parents are buried in the Jewish cemetery. Humpolec is another old town with a history of silver mining, though it became better known as a centre for the cloth trade. The art nouveau Town Hall houses a museum with a Gustav Mahler gallery. The hilltop village of Kaliste, with its lovely views over the countryside, was Mahler's birthplace. The tiny cottage has been reconstructed and is visited by music lovers from all over the world.
For a change from Mahler, a restored castle above the Sazava River bridge at Ledec nad Sazavou offers a collection of handicrafts, weapons and coins. Beautiful Kutná Hora became the favourite residence of several Bohemian kings and rivalled Prague economically, culturally and politically, though after years of warfare and the flooding of the silver mines it fell into decline. Now, with its wealth of Gothic and Baroque buildings, this delightful town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
WHEN TO GO
May, June, September and October
TIME IT TAKES
2 or 3 days
Kutna Hora holds a splendid Gothic pageant every June.
The Gothic Cathedral of St Barbara is spectacular with a 5-aisled nave and a roof of 3 tent-like towers.
In the ossuary at Sed lee is a chandelier constructed from bones.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
This scenic, rural touring cycle route should pose no problems.