The Podyjí National Park area is located in the Czech Republic, in the South Moravian Region, near the border with Austria, roughly between the towns of Znojmo and Vranov nad Dyjí. Podyjí has an exceptionally well-preserved example of the original landscape around the Dyje River, which is the imaginary axis of the entire park. Its path across this area measures almost 40 km, and at a length of 25 km it is understood here as a common border between Austria and the Czech Republic. This area was not affected by the construction of roads or recreational facilities, which certainly contributed to the uniqueness of this landscape. The entire area stands out for its great diversity of plants and animals. In 1991, Podyjí was included in the worldwide network of national parks together with the Giant Mountains (National Park since 1963), Šumava (since 1991) and Bohemian Switzerland (since 2000). Podyjí is part of the southeastern edge of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. As the Podyjí National Park is spread over the territory of two states, the Czech Republic and Austria, nature protection in this area cannot be a matter of only one of the states. Thayatal National Park was therefore created on the territory of Lower Austria. However, the majority of the territory lies on the Czech side, 6,283 ha, and another 2,841 ha form the so-called protective zone that surrounds the territory of the park. Its task is to protect the entire area of the national park from environmental influences. Currently, there are around 212 kilometers of cycle paths in the park. The most common types of tourism here are hiking and cycling.
Cycling tourism has undergone great development in recent years. Asphalt roads built earlier in the border zone are used today for the movement of border guard troops.
Water tourism is prohibited between Znojmo and Vranov nad Dyjí. Water sports are reserved for the section of the river between Znojmo and Krhovicky splav, where Dyje is unlocked and locked every year in spring and autumn.
Even for physically disabled visitors to the national park, there are 3 interesting tourist spots that are accessible by car on an asphalt road. It concerns the Nine Mills area, and the Příčky location as a starting point for the journey to Nový Hrádek and the Hardegg lookout. These routes, including destinations with parking lots, are marked with a wheelchair symbol.
The ice sluices near Vranov nad Dyjí are located in one of the deep meanders of the Dyje river.
In the northern slope of the meander, under a significant tectonic disturbance manifesting as a separation zone, the rock massif loosened and moved, creating deep rock fissures, extensive block debris and stone flows. Many pseudokarst caves were created in the loosened slope. The geomorphological situation and the favorable microclimate of the locality create conditions for the occurrence of ice filling caves and cavities in the rubble, which persists until late summer and also affects the local occurrence of cold-loving species of plants and animals. Underground spaces belong to the most important habitats of bats in Moravia.
Felicita's well near the Vranov castle
We will get there if we descend to the right in front of the entrance to the Vranovské Castle and on the way to Felicitina údolí, where there is a classicist building that hides a spring.
Around 1806, Countess Felicita Mniszková had it built in her favorite valley. A classicist building with a spring "for the refreshment of weary pilgrims and for the decoration of your lovely valley", as the inscription on the shield says. The Viennese sculptor Franz Zauner von Feldpaten is considered to be the author of the frieze with dancing nymphs.
The spring is located in Gránické údolí, about a hundred meters behind the road to Hradiště, under the railway embankment. The original well is located considerably higher on the slope behind the railway embankment. When the Prague-Vienna line was completed, the outlet of the spring was moved under the foot of the embankment. In 1923, the place was modified and named after the well-deserved member of the Okrašlováních spolka, Mr. Piwetz.
Samaritan in Hradiště st. Hippolyta
The Samaritanka was already considered an ancient cult place due to its location above a rocky gorge open to the valley of the Granický brook. Today's chapel above the spring was built around the end of the 19th century. However, the spring was worshiped long before that. According to a well-known legend, a good noble Samaritan fairy lived near him.
Cendelín's well below Znojmo
It lies on the right bank of the river Dyje below Kraví hora in front of the mouth of the footbridge.
The well was already known in the Middle Ages, and its importance probably came from the fact that the water in Dyja was already polluted to the extent that it could not be used for drinking in the 16th century. The name says that the spring was covered by some structure (the cendl was a woman's cap made of silk fabric). Until the first quarter of the 20th century, the old custom of cleaning the well was maintained. The quality of the water was evidenced by the fact that it was also taken from the Znojmo soda factory Stella. The habit of opening the well was restored in 2000 thanks to the beautification association.
There is an observation crag at the top of the rock wall above the Dyje valley. From the lookout there is a beautiful view of the Dyje valley, Býčí skála and the Králův stolec lookout on the opposite bank of the Dyje. The viewpoint is named after the writer Charles Sealsfield from nearby Popice.
A lookout tower with a view of the charming Dyje valley, according to legend, the Polish king Jan III watched from there. Sobieski in 1683 crossing his troops over the Dyji, when he went to help the Turks besieged Vienna. In 1892, a wooden pavilion was built on this site by the Znojmo section of the Austrian Tourist Club, which served until the end of the First World War. In 1922, the Association of German Tourists, in cooperation with the Club of Czech Tourists, established a new gazebo in its present form near the site of the original pavilion.
It offers an extraordinary view of the Dyje Valley and the town of Hardegg, which lies at the confluence of the Dyje River and the Fugnitz Stream. The original lookout gazebo from 1885 was called Luitgardina lookout. He later launched and was completely destroyed. The gazebo was reconstructed by the Austrian Tourist Club and in 1990 it was given as a gift to the then Administration of the PLA Podyjí. Beneath the viewpoint are distinctive rock amphitheatres with protected species of plants and animals.
The former Renaissance mill in the valley of the Masowické stream, the last surviving mill in the Podyjí National Park. A historical monument, remnants of sgraffito decoration were found on the walls, original building elements (ceilings, plaster) inside. The building is currently being repaired. It has survived only thanks to the fact that it is located in Mločí údolí and not directly by the river Dyje, where all buildings were forcibly evicted and destroyed after 1949 because of the border zone.