Zemská cesta


Roads from Upper Austria to southern Bohemia have existed since ancient times. Since the time when the Roman fortress of Lentia (today's Linz) existed on the banks of the Danube, various routes were used to transport goods and troops to the interior of Bohemia and further north. During the reign of King Premysl Otakar II, Duke of Austria (1251-1276), a road (not just a trail) began to be built to enable the rapid movement of troops and materials to both countries, which ran along the castles on the River Malše. However, let us not imagine the land route as a road in today's sense. It always consisted of several paths side by side, which branched off, new ones were made according to the suitability of the terrain, and detours were cut through the royal forest. These roads have always had the right to levy tolls in places of high importance (bridges, fords, settlements and towns). The tolls were mostly collected by local feudal lords, mostly for taking care of maintenance and safety within their means. However, there are many documented cases of these feudal lords becoming robbers and marauders on the roads they were originally supposed to protect. The Middle Ages were no walk in the park...

Many such paths are known to date. One of the most important was the so-called Golden Trail, which started from Passau and had several branches. In the area of the Malše and Vltava rivers, there was a route that started from Linz and led through Leonfelden and Vyšší Brod into the interior of Bohemia. The road from Linz around the River Malše, where our castles stand, was originally less important, but its importance has steadily increased. It followed the royal and not the Rosenberg territory, which King Wenceslas I gave to the Premonstratensians of Milevsko before 1265, and which only later came into the hands of the Lords of Strakonice. The Lords of Strakonice had always been staunch supporters of the Czech Premyslid kings and hated the Habsburgs, who were always hot contenders for the Czech throne after the death of Wenceslas III.

The road from Bohemia branched into several streams in the first large Austrian town of Freistadt. The main one led to Linz, but there were also many important routes to other places on the banks of the Danube. One of these was the rock above the Danube with its fortifications and the market village below, later the town of Grein. This road was flanked by castles which acted as guards and watched over the safety of caravans and travellers. And this is our Earth Road.


It was only in 2007, after several visits and conversations between Radek Kocanda and representatives of associations in Austrian castles, that the idea of restoring and reviving this path was born. Despite the fact that there is still a language barrier, we found out quite soon that we are very close to each other because our interest is common. By a lucky coincidence, our steps led to the Regional Development Agency of South Bohemia to its director Jiří Vlach, who, with our help, was able to bring the idea of cooperation and joint action on the revitalization of the Zemská cesta to completion. At first, only a few castles were involved, but as time and the popularity of the project grew, so did the number of castles, so that today if you decide to walk the entire nearly 215 km long route you will pass by 17 castles and chateaus in Bohemia and Austria.

Have a good trip!

Pořešín Castle

Tichá Fort

Louzek Castle

Sokolčí Castle

Velešín Castle

Prandegg Castle

Klingenberg Castle

Saxenegg Castle

Dornach Castle


Greinburg Castle

Kreuzen Castle

Reichenstein Castle

Ruttenstein Castle

Tannbach Castle

Clam Castle

Windhaag Castle

Zellhof Castle

Weinberg Castle