III. Walking Route “Stronghold”

Stronghold The 5.5 km-long route exploring the former Baroque stronghold takes over 2.5 hours at a gentle walking pace. The first of the 11 stops can be found in front of the Museum of Eastern Bohemia on Eliška’s Embankment. Only a few structures have been preserved from the Baroque stronghold, which was demolished after the 1866 Battle near Hradec Králové, and our walking route will take you to 20 of them.

Stop 1 - Museum of Eastern Bohemia | Stop 2 - Tyl's Embankment | Stop 3 - Jirasek's Gardens | Stop 4 - Komenského Street | Stop 5 - U Přívozu Street | Stop 6 - Brněnská Street | Stop 7 - Jana Koziny Street | Stop 8 - Mýtská Street | Stop 9 - ČSA Avenue | Stop 10 - Šimek's Gardens | Stop 11 - Adalbertinum


map-stronghold

Stronghold - map for download.pdf


Stop 1 - Museum of Eastern Bohemia

Construction of the Hradec Králové military stronghold started in 1766 at the con­fluence of the Rivers Elbe and Orlice according to the design of Lt. Col. Václav Pavlovský of Rosenfeld and Gen. Jakub R. Spallart. From 1780, the former rammed earth walls were fortified step by step with brick and stone cladding according to the project of Lt. Col. Mikuláš Kleindorff.

The line of defence of the stronghold consisted of eight large pentagonal bastions connected by fortification walls - referred to as curtain walls (from the French courtine).

After the Prussia-Austrian Battle of Chlum on June 3, 1866, the loss of its military significance became apparent; and so in 1884 it was decided to do away with the stronghold. In 1893 the city of Hradec Králové bought its structures and subsequently began their demolition.

The Museum of Eastern Bohemia in Hradec Králové houses a model of the military stronghold depicting the situation in 1865, produced during the years 1908 to 1916 by František Žaloudek, museum curator.

Hradec Králové before the construction of the stronghold – 17th century

Hradec Králové before the construction of the stronghold – 17th century

Hradec Králové after the construction of the stronghold

Hradec Králové after the construction of the stronghold

Stop 2 - Tyl's Embankment

Upon the commencement of the stronghold construction, in 1766-1770 the original flow of the River Elbe was regulated; waterfront walls were lined with sandstone blocks. In the opposite wall it is possible to see a bricked up mouth of the former cunette of the main ditch.

On the opposite bank (in front of the museum building) the river flow was separated from the ditch by a masonry dam called batardeaux (from French), which allowed the ditches to be flooded in the case of the stronghold coming under attack. On the top of the dam stood the so-called "Dolly", a truncated stone cone which prevented the wall from being breached.

"Prague Bridge" was partially built on the foundations of the former stronghold bridge constructed in 1766-1768 over the newly regulated Elbe riverbed. In 1910 and 1911 the bridge was adapted according to the design of arch. Jan Kotera with illuminated arches and posts being installed as well as four pavilions built at the bridgeheads.

The Elbe above the Prague Bridge of the stronghold with the so-called “Dolly” on the left bank

The Elbe above the Prague Bridge of the stronghold with the so-called “Dolly” on the left bank

A view of the Prague Stronghold Gate and the stronghold bridge from the White Tower

A view of the Prague Stronghold Gate and the stronghold bridge from the White Tower

The new Prague Bridge erected on the spot of the stronghold bridge

The new Prague Bridge erected on the spot of the stronghold bridge

Stop 3 - Jirasek's Gardens

Today's Jirasek's Gardens was established on the grounds of the former entren­chment No. 37 (Fr. retranchement) between the confluence of the Rivers Elbe and Orlice in front of ravelin No. 14, i.e. an advance triangular shaped rampart in front of the main wall of the stronghold.

Preserved structures at the gardens park entrance gate include a part of the right side of the face of ravelin No. 14 and armoured casemates for infantrymen, built around 1784. The fortified brickwork up to 2 m wide with a quoin and ledge made of stone elements originally contained 14 loopholes. Smoke outlet openings are visible above the loopholes under the ledge to allow extraction of gun smoke from the inner area of the casemates. In the front part of the entrenchment in the direction of the confluence stands a preserved postern - a sally port used by infantry units for raids on the enemy. The 7.5 m long and 2 m high tunnel passage breaks through the connecting earth rampart of the entrenchment in front of the ravelin. The former portals can be seen on both sides of the tunnel.

Remnants of the stronghold in Jirásek’s Gardens

Remnants of the stronghold in Jirásek’s Gardens

Armoured casemates

Armoured casemates

Stop 4 - Komenského Street

Barracks for Infantry, also referred to as Water ("Vodičkova"), later Žižka's Ba­rracks, built in 1785-1788 are the largest structure of the stronghold. In view of the high level of the underground water (hence its unofficial name) the buildings were erected on piles and grids. The structure consists of four large buildings joined by narrow connecting links creating a 163x67 m rectangle.

Cavalry Barracks were built in 1786-1787. The grounds are formed by four one-storey wings with a transverse wing and two internal courtyards. Vaulted cellars are located under some parts of the buildings, the ground floor vaulted premises were used as horse stables, and the first floor served for the accommodation of men, and as offices as well as storage rooms.

Barracks for Infantry viewed from the White Tower

Barracks for Infantry viewed from the White Tower

A view of the Cavalry Barracks behind the River Orlice

A view of the Cavalry Barracks behind the River Orlice

Demolition of the Moravian Stronghold Gate in the vicinity of the barracks

Demolition of the Moravian Stronghold Gate in the vicinity of the barracks

Stop 5 - U Přívozu Street

The Waterfront walls were lined with sandstone blocks after regulating the flow of the River Orlice in 1766-1771.

The opposite wall contained an opening for the mouth of the former cunette of the main ditch, through which the river water was fed into the ditches of the stronghold or drained back.

On the Orlice Embankment against the opening of Rautenkrancova Street stands the so-called "dolly", a truncated stone cone which was originally located on top of a small dam wall, called batardeaux separating the main ditch from the river flow. The diameter of the base of the Dolly was equal to the width of the wall, thus preventing it from being breached.

An earth rampart of the former retaining wall in front of lunette No. 22 is located behind Moravský Bridge at the end of U Přívozu - embankment street as well as the so-called Corridor - two gates connected with a retaining wall of 46 m in length and 2.5 m in height. Originally the gates had two-wing doors installed. From the gates, sloping in the direction of the river there are fortified walls each with seven loopholes.

On the left side of the road leading to New Hradec Králové there are several road marker posts preserved. To the left of the road are the remnants of the earth ramparts leading through the River Orlice overflow land.

Near today's open air cinema it is possible to see a preserved part of the earth ramparts from the point of ravelin No. 12 to the opening of the main ditch into the River Orlice in front of bastion No. 4.

The Orlice under the Moravian Bridge with the then military swimming area in the background

The Orlice under the Moravian Bridge with the then military swimming area in the background

Moravian Stronghold Bridge

Moravian Stronghold Bridge

A gate through a loopholed wall next to the Orlice under the Moravian Bridge

A gate through a loopholed wall next to the Orlice under the Moravian Bridge

Stop 6 - Brněnská Street

The so-called Pivovarská flošna (Advance Bastion) No. 39 (from Fr. fléche - arrow) and Pajkr's flošna No. 40 were advance artillery blockhouses, in the distance of approx. 650 and 500 metres respectively from the stronghold. These structures of the ex­ternal stronghold perimeter built in 1774 protected the fortification system near Orlice from the south and south-east side. They were surrounded with a ditch; the roofs were made of approx. 2 m high earthwork. The original appearance of both of the casemate structures was significantly distorted by filling in the ditches and tearing down and re-bricking the artillery embrasures.

The third (today non-existing) so-called Prague flošna used to be located at the spot between Gočár Avenue and Ulrich Square - hence the local name "Na Baště (At the Bastion)".

In the vicinity of the former stronghold a few boundary stones demarcating the stronghold area have been preserved. The stones bear the sign of KKF on their facing side (kaiserlich
und königlich Fortifikation - meaning imperial and royal fortification).

The so-called Pajkr’s Flošna

The so-called Pajkr’s Flošna

A view of the city from Pivovarská Flošna around the year 1900

A view of the city from Pivovarská Flošna around the year 1900

Stop 7 - Jana Koziny Street

Armoury - an army barrack building of the dimensions of 84x13 m, originally made up the front of former cavalier No. 36. It was built around 1780, shortly before the completion of the stronghold construction.

It is a two-storey building of lower-height levels and small windows. All rooms, which for safety reasons and in view of their use have vaulted ceilings, face the streets, the wide connecting service corridor leads along the courtyard side. The street frontage contains 19 window axes and in the centre of the ground floor there is an entrance portal made of bossed sandstone blocks. The courtyard frontage has nine arcade arches of the same sandstone reveal.

Before the abolishment of the stronghold the building of the Higher Secondary School was constructed in front of the armoury, and today it houses the Higher Secondary Vocational Nursing School and Secondary Nursing School.

A view of the building of the former “reálka” secondary school with the armoury in the background behind the trees

A view of the building of the former “reálka” secondary school with the armoury in the background behind the trees

A part of the armoury structure

A part of the armoury structure

Demolition of the stronghold walls near Jana Koziny Street

Demolition of the stronghold walls near Jana Koziny Street

Stop 8 - Mýtská Street

The building of the Engineer Corps Headquarters was erected in 1787-1797. The ground floor with vaulted premises can be entered from today's street level, the first floor could have been reached via a side portal and through the yard.

Commanders of the Hradec Králové garrison used to reside here in the times of the stronghold. Between 1768 and 1859 it was home to a total of 25 of them. In the area opposite the Engineer Corps Headquarters there used to stand cavalier No. 35. Today there is a court building located on this spot.

Former cavalier No. 35 opposite the Engineer Corps Headquarters (the area of today’s Regional Court)

Former cavalier No. 35 opposite the Engineer Corps Headquarters (the area of today’s Regional Court)

The building of the Engineer Corps Headquarters

The building of the Engineer Corps Headquarters

Demolition of the stronghold near the Engineer Corps Headquarters in the vicinity of cavalier No. 35

Demolition of the stronghold near the Engineer Corps Headquarters in the vicinity of cavalier No. 35

Stop 9 - ČSA Avenue

The former storage premises of the stronghold comes from the late 18th century.

Along the sides of the central structure there are remnants (flanks) of the original cavalier No. 33. Its faces were demolished during the construction of the new barracks. The preserved parts of the cavalier underwent marked building adaptations, the earthen cover was removed, the former small windows knocked out and replaced with a gate and the exposed brickwork was plastered.

Above Žižka's Gardens, northern terraces of the historic core of the town were built on the spot of former walls. Above them in today's Dlouhá ulice stands a former hospital of the stronghold - a large one-storey building erected on the spot of thirteen demolished houses near what was previously the Episcopal seminary. Later adaptations resulted in the fortified nature of the structure being utterly suppressed.

The storage premises of the stronghold with the remnants of cavalier No. 33 along the sides

The storage premises of the stronghold with the remnants of cavalier No. 33 along the sides

An area under the northern terraces before being landscaped into Žižka’s Gardens

An area under the northern terraces before being landscaped into Žižka’s Gardens

The building of the former hospital of the stronghold

The building of the former hospital of the stronghold

Stop 10 - Šimek's Gardens

The visible parts of the remnants of the point and parts of the flanks of ravelin No. 9 - represent approx. one quarter of its original size, the rest of the area is under the walkway and yards of adjoining buildings. The walls are made of brick; the point and top ledge are made of sandstone blocks. The inside of the ravelin is filled with compacted earth.

In front of the ravelin point one can see a branch of the former external advance ditch, the bank of which was a wall of the earthen mound called a glacis. The adjoining Šimek's Gardens was set up on the bottom of the Elbe flood plain.

A part of the former stronghold ravelin No. 9

A part of the former stronghold ravelin No. 9

A view from ravelin No. 9 towards the former Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and Elementary and Council Schools

A view from ravelin No. 9 towards the former Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and Elementary and Council Schools

Remnants of the stronghold ravelin No. 9

Remnants of the stronghold ravelin No. 9

Stop 11 - Adalbertinum

The house originally built in the Classicist style in 1787-1797 served as residential quarters for staff officers in the stronghold period.

In 1866, apart from non-combatant forces the garrison comprised of approx. 3.600 men, organised in three infantry battalions, one garrison artillery company, one engineer company and one quarter of the cavalry squadron.

The main arsenal of the stronghold included lightweight field, medium-weight defensive and heavy artillery, amounting to approximately 170 to 240 cannons.

A view across the Elbe towards the Adalbertinum, the residential quarters for staff officers and the Grandhotel

A view across the Elbe towards the Adalbertinum, the residential quarters for staff officers and the Grandhotel

The residential quarters for staff officers

The residential quarters for staff officers

An undeveloped area in front of the quarters for staff officers

An undeveloped area in front of the quarters for staff officers

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