Žitava (Zittau) – Český Dub – Mladá Boleslav – Stará Boleslav – Praha – 135 km
The Zittau route copies the old pilgrimage and trade route, along which the Czech Bishop Vojtěch brought Christianity to Poland around 995 or was followed by divisions of the Crusaders in the Holy War. It leads from Zittau to Prague, where it is followed by the Všerubská route.
This variant of the Way of St. James enters our country near Zittau at the so-called Trojmezí (Tripoint), where the borders of three states: Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic meet.
The route continues through Hrádek nad Nisou towards Grabštejn Castle. We briefly touch the corner of the Lusatian Mountains and enter the protected zone of folk architecture in Kryštofovo Údolí. Here, a charming wooden Church of St. Christoph awaits us, as well as one technical monument – a railway viaduct with fourteen arches. Then the pilgrim hikes up to Křižanské pass on the Ještěd ridge. From here, it is possible to go off the route and climb the Mount Ještěd (1,012 m above sea level) with a highly regarded modern building of the transmitter with a restaurant and stunning views.
After conquering the Ještěd ridge, descend to the countryside of Podještědí and the town of Český Dub. The Order of Saint John Commandery, linked to the legend of Zdislava of Lemberk, was discovered here. The way continues to the Church of St. James in the village of Letařovice with a beautiful coffered painted wooden ceiling depicting the legend of St. James. A stone Romanesque Church of the Assumption awaits the pilgim in Mohelnice nad Jizerou. After that comes Mnichovo Hradiště with the Church of St. James and a Baroque chateau comprising also the Capuchin Monastery complex with the St. Anna chapel.
The route runs from Bakov nad Jizerou to the ruins of Zvířetice and Michalovice castles towering over the Jizera river. The next town, Mladá Boleslav is renowned for making Škoda automobiles and also for a unique 16th century pseudobasilica of the Church of Czech Brethren. The way gently undulates along the Jizera river to the village of Vinec, where we can find a rare Romanesque Church of St. Nicholas. Once we pass through Benátky nad Jizerou past the chateau with a park, the route starts descending towards Předměřice to the Church of St. James. The woods will lead us to Stará Boleslav, the most important pilgrimage site on this route with a Baroque Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary protecting the precious Palladium of the Czech Land. Other treasures include the Church of St. Wenceslas, where St. Wenceslas was murdered, the Romanesque basilica of St. Clement or the 17th century pilgrim route from Prague called Via Sancta lined with remains of niche chapels.
When crossing the river Elbe, a grand chateau with Imperial past in Brandýs and Labem can be seen towering over us. Walking through the fields, the pilgrim is getting closer to Prague. From the ruin of the black tower in Jenštejn, through the pleasant riparian woodland, we are approaching Vinoř and a sidewalk will take us to the stone Romanesque Church of St. Wenceslas in Prosek, Prague. From here, join the Prague route along the Rokytka stream and the Vltava river, which has not been marked yet.
Fotografie z trasy
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