Hradec nad Moravicí
747 41 Hradec nad Moravicí
Phone: 595 173 043, 778 700 071
The majority of visitors want to see Hradec Castle. It was the Lichnovsky lineage who wrote the most significant chapter in its history. The castle houses valuable collections of antique furniture, glass and china, a library and a picture gallery.
Hradec, though, does not mean only the castle. Many other places are worth seeing, too – among them the Church of St. Peter and Paul from the 16th century, stations of the Cross called the Silesian Calvary and unique relics of fortifications called Šance from the Silesian Wars, which gave its name also to the latest tourist attraction, the Šance Observation Tower, situated 522 m above the sea level. From its top there is a marvelous view of Opava region and both the Beskydy and Jeseníky mts. You should not miss a 19th century wonder of technology, a 3.5 km long Weisshuhn`s Paper Mill Race leading through three tunnels built in slopes and two aqueducts.
It was built at the suggestion of Carl Weisshuhn, a successful entrepreneur. Weisshuhn, who decided to build his own paper mill in Žimrovice, had to provide both enough water for the operation of the plannad factory and, more importantly, enough water necessary for the paper mill. The Moravice river appeared to be a good source of both – water and energy. As early as 1889 he took measurements of the terrain of the planned channel. The construction was authorized on May 24th 1890 and started immediately. The first tunnel for the channel was cut through under Kozí hřbet hill on August 7th 1890. It is 45 m long, 4 m wide and 3 m high and forms the beginning of the route. Before its completing the construction was flooded and became silted with stones and mud. The waterworks was also partly damaged and the roof prepared for covering the factory in Žimrovice was destroyed. In spite of all this the channel came into service in May 1891. At the end of August 1891 the paper mill started its production, too. Carl Weisshuhn used the channel for both floating wood and producing electric power. Wood was floated to the paper mill until 1966, sometimes from the distance of 60 km. Floating and manufacturing wooden material was later replaced by using waste paper.
The unique waterworks is 3.5 km long and contains three water tunnels and two aqueducts. There are also several spillways regulating the height of the flow on the canal. It flows into the Žimrovice paper mill 26 m high above the Moravice river. We should also emphasize the fact that the channel runs all over its length in the slopes of local rocky hills. Even after many years it is still fully functioning. You will come across it when you follow red tourist sign from Hradec-upon-Moravice to Vítkov – Podhradí. Here you can see the sluice for swelling the Moravice, entrance openings and the regulation of the height of the flow, the first tunnel and the run of the canal itself. This is the only part of the channel which is open to public. The waterworks farther on is the property of Žimrovice paper mill and the entrance is prohibited. But even though there is a lot to be seen. Tourist path crosses the race along more than a half of its length. You can observe aqueducts, tunnels, the sluice and watch the waterworks itself.
Entrance at your own risk!
Carl Weisshuhn was born on February 27th 1837 in Rybnik, Prussia (now Poland) as a son of a forester of the same name and Ida Weisshuhn, née Enger. He settled in Opava in 1861. Since his youth he was interested in technology and travelled sx times to the USA to get some experience. There he met Thomas Alva Edison and became his friend. Weisshuhn tried to grasp as much as he could from the technological progress of the industrially developed country and to use it as best he could. At home he started a business in wood exploitation and floating and produced sleepers, also quarried for slate and manufactured it into tiles for covering roofs, and he ran mills and sawmills, too. In order to be able to export his products he supported building new railways and roads. During his stay in the USA he was inspired by Edison´s exploitation of electric energy and also considered building a power plant in the Moravice valley and a reservoir in Kružberk, which he designed in 1911, exactly in the place of today´s Kružberk dam. Even before that he built a paper mill in Ann´s Valley not far from Podhradí and brought water into it through a tunnel in a rock. In the early 1890s he decided to transfer the production of paper to a factory which he had planned in Žimrovice. At that time he lived with his family in the settlement of Seifenmϋhle (Na stoupách) in a peaceful valley of the Moravice, now flooded by waters of Kružberk. His great granddaughter Friederike Victoria Gessner, who grew up together with him and his wife Friederike, later became famous as Joy Adamson, the author of the stories about Elsa the Lioness. On January 4th 1919, while checking the wood, he had a sleigh accident and died on the same day in Seifenmϋhle near Budišov-upon-Budišovka. Carl Weisshuhn was an archetype of a successful entrepreneur in industry from the late 19th century, who had a deep sense of using modern technology, could combine his ingeniousness and abilities of an entrepreneur and managed to use local conditions for the development of the region.