Slovanka, the oldest iron observation tower in Bohemia, is situated at the top of the hill Slovanka in the Jizera Mountains, at an altitude of 820 metres, not far from the town Janov nad Nisou. The tower is 11 metres high, 14 metres including the base. It is permanently accessible and the access is free of charge.
We spent our family holiday in the vicinity and visited the observation tower twice. I would say that there is nothing spectacular about the tower, yet it looks good, there is a nice view from its top and also, it represents an interesting piece of history.
The tower was constructed according to a project of a Viennese firm Wagner, which had exhibited the tower at a World exhibition of ironworks in Vienna, and it was built on a piece of land donated by the owner of the hill. About 5,000 visitors participated in an opening ceremony that took place on August 14, 1887. They say that more money was collected from voluntary admission fees than was the price of the building including transport.
Not far from the tower, there used to be a tourist lodge. The lodge burned up in 1895 after having been struck by lightning and a new lodge was built after as much as 33 years in 1928. The new lodge was named Slovanka and the same name was assigned to both the observation tower and the hill, which was originally named after its owner.
The observation tower was maintained properly up to WWII but then its condition started to deteriorate and its visitors could enter just at their own risk. In 1997, the entrance was banned altogether. The owner of the premises even applied for demolition of the tower but fortunately, the application was not granted.
The situation got better when the tower was bought in 1999 by the town Lučany and was declared by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic to be a national technical monument. A civic association was established, which prepared a restoration project and started a collection to finance the restoration. Thanks to the effort, the tower was successfully restored and on July 5, 2000 it was opened to the public again.
I did not count the stairs but read that there are 56 and here is part of the view you can see after climbing them up:
I was not sure about visiting this observation tower when I read about it on the Internet but I’m happy we went there. In both cases it was a nice walk (we came from different directions) but above all, I loved the stairs and their details. You know that, what you read about is not the same what you see, feel and smell at the place itself…