Adalbert Stifter´s Monument above Lake Plešný

Adalbert Stifter, historical picturepostcard
A short story The Deep Forest ranks among the earliest work of literature by Adalbert Stifter. It was first published 160 years ago, in the year 1842. Readers were mostly interested in charming descriptions of the Šumava countryside loveliness. The author was closely acquainted with the countryside beauty. He spent his childhood in Horní Planá, met his first beloved girl, experienced his first disappointment and had a very close attitude towards the rough Šumava countryside and people who lived there.

After his death in 1868, people had an idea to erect a monument in "The Šumava Poet" honour in the area described in his literary declaration of love to his native home: "I have been wandering through the forests and climbing down the hollows for many days and weeks. Memory of the lake, which I was shown by Řehoř, flashed across my mind, and I said to myself : The forest heart beats in this clearing, at that lake. I can hear the heartbeat. It is sweet and true, and stronger than the royal castle."

The lake he mentioned is called Lake Plešný, and its surroundings should have become the place of Stifter´s Monument in the future. Particularly it was the sheer rocky Lake Wall towering above the surface towards the top of Plechý.

There was an idea to pay homage to Adalbert Stifter by engraving a large plaque in the Lake Wall. Two metres high letters should have made the inscription from The Deep Forest by Adalbert Stifter. The design was not realized due to the high expenses and technical problems.

Jordan Kajetan Markus from Vienna, a founder of the Association of the Germans coming from South Bohemia, came to Horní Planá and the settlement of Hiršperky (today Jelení) in the spring 1876. He joined natives from Frymburk, Vyšší Brod, Horní Planá, Český Krumlov, Chvalšiny and other Šumava locations in Vienna. The association led by Markus tried hard to remind famous natives´ deserves, and he also became an initiator of Stifter´s Monument built above Lake Plešný.

Jordan Kajetan Markus arranged everything needed for such a work of construction. He co-operated with a Vienna architect Heinrich v. Ferstel, and started to organize the whole work of construction according to his project. He made an agreement with Duke of Schwarzenberg and a princely forester Josef Paleček on the supervision. Four skilful workmen were chosen from local inhabitants: Johan Saumer, Josef Schröder, Franz Saumer and Franz Stinyh.

The work of construction started in May 1876. The rocky promontory was chosen in order to build the monument. The work was very hard. The workers had to take a three-hour walk to reach the place. They set out from Jelení at 4 a.m. Every Monday they had the food stuff brought on the two-weeled barrow pulled by oxen to Lake Plešný. They built a typical shelter of the Šumava wood workers and hunters there.

A. Stifter Memorial at Lake Plešné, historical photo, collections of District Museum of National History in Český Krumlov Lake Plešné, historical photo, collections of District Museum of National History in Český Krumlov

It took three days to carry all needed tools to the work of construction place. Then they searched for suitable pieces of rock in the surroundings. An obelisk (14.5m high) is the basic stone of the monument. It grows from the granite massif and it was rough-worked on the place of its origin. The second largest rock was found on the two hunting-grounds of Jelení and Nové Údolí (New Valley) and transported by means of wooden board to the work of construction place. It took 16 days. Other pieces of stone were smaller and originated from the close surroundings. Every single stone was hewn off according to the hand-made wooden pattern. They worked until Saturday, then they walked down the sheer trail through the deep forest to Jelení. They accumulated some food stuff for another week and had their tools sharpened, etc.

The monument was built coarse in the summer 1876. One year later the workers made joints in the monument and engraved the inscription. They built up an observation platform in front of the monument and engraved their initials on its basic stone.

The monument in Stifter´s honour was unveiled 125 years ago, on 26 August 1877. Jordan Kajetan Markus gave a speech and reminded the ties of relation between Adalbert Stifter and the lovely native countryside, which influenced his philosophy, work of literature and work of art. Two inscriptions on the plaque are closely connected with Stifter´s work of literature. The quotation from the short story The Deep Forest and the passage from the poem In the Mountains.

Since then many Stifter´s admirers or just "ordinary" tourists have climbed onto the top of Plechý in order to be delighted in a view of Lake Plešný - Countryside Eye, as it was called by Stifter. After many years of prohibition and border-land wire fence, people from Austria, Bayer and Bohemia are allowed to come again. They admire the beautiful countryside and many of them bow to the memory of Adalbert Stifter and put down a small bunch of flowers. Many of them may feel peace and quiet in their soul. If only some of them felt the echo of the forest heartbeat in their heart of hearts.


Further information :
Mt. Plechý and Lake Plešné
Adalbert Stifter´s Route
Click-sensitive map of The Educational Footpath Called The Gate Into The Nove Hrady Mountains Range

© Sdružení Oficiálního informačního systému Český Krumlov, 2002
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