Schwarzenberský plavební kanál
The Schwarzenberský plavební kanál is a canal that was build to transport wood between the rivers the Vltava and the Danube.
The deep forests of Šumava were not yet disclosed and there were no other profitable ways to transport wood to the cities that had need of it.
In 1789 they started the construction of the first part of this ambitious project. In 1791 they finalized this first part and the 39,9 kilometers long canal was taken into use. The wood was, as a result of the low transportation costs sold against high profits in Vienna and a golden era for forestry could begin in Šumava.
The canal was fed by several small rivers and there were about 200 workers needed to lead the wood through the canal and to keep a continuous flow. At low waterl evels and dry periods transportation was impossible.
The big success of the first part of the canal made sure that in 1821 was started with the second part of the canal. This part of the canal even had a 419 meter long tunnel. In 1824 the first transportation took place on the new canal with a total length of 89,7 kilometers. It was labour-intensive to keep the transportation system over the water in production. There were water reservoirs, lock chambers and bridges build and there were adjustments made to make it possible to transport larger tree trunks.
The introduction of the railway system in this region in 1892 gave way to an even cheaper and faster way to transport wood and the canal came into disuse.
Luckily in the years 1991-1997 many reconstruction activities have been done to the canal and it has been restored in its old glory. Now the project got more publicity more and more tourists come to take a look at the Schwarzenberský plavební kanál.
Especially during weekends and holidays the trail along the canal is intensively used. Along the whole route you will find signs with lots of information about the canal and its history. See it on the map