The national mountain of Czechs
The altitude of this mountain may seem not attractive. Říp is 180 - 200 meters higher than its nearest surroundings. However, if you stay atop of it and look around, you see that it the hill raises from large czech PolabskÃ¡ flatland. The river Labe (Elbe in german) is flowing nearby. You can imagine that it is fertile land.
And now imagine you stand atop of it 2000 or 3000 years earlier. This is what happened - at least according to what is said by a legend - thousands of years before: A man, the Father Czech saw the hill, ascended it with his companions and said: "This is it, the promised land rich in milk and honey, here we this land we will settle!" And so it has been done. Czechs still live in that country around Říp.
The name of the hill is also derived from a legend - from the word "Zřip" - in old czech language the word for "mountain".
In 1126 czech king Soběslav the first ordered to build the romanesque build rotunda of saint Jiří (St. George) atop of Říp - at those times the mountain without trees. The reason was the win in the battle at Chlumec over the german king Lothar. The rotunda still stands on the mountain.
Říp has remained being the national mountain of the czech nation also during the rebirth of the czech nation in 19th century. Thousands of people stood on it, wrote poems and met each other here, strengtened each other by powerful memories over past battles, in which Czechs have rarely lost their freedom.
During the late phases of the rebirth of the Czech nation, in 1868 one rocky block from the top of the mountain was brought away and transported 60 kilometres to Prague - czech capital - to become the foundation-stone of the Czech national theatre. The stone is from basalt like the whole mountain - so your compass will be useless at Říp.
There is a long tradition of national yearly ascents of Czechs on Říp. It is always at the saint's day of Saint George (this year it was from 20th till 22nd april 2007).
The question of the first ascender seem to be clear - according to what is written higher, the first ascender must have been the Father Czech and his companions, who is said to consequentially set up first czech villages around Říp. However archeologists' surveys tells us that it is not true. The Czechs have first settled their villages in another part of czech country. According to these surveys first Czech stood at the top of Říp during 9th century. Thus the first ascender remains unknown.
Getting ThereBy plane:
Říp is located some 60 kilometres northern from Prague, the capital of the Czech republic. There is a major airport in Prague. Search a flight to Prague from your city:
Get to Prague (direct trains also to Venezia, Bern, Wien, Berlin, Budapest, Warsaw and Moscow). There are regular trains from train station Praha - Masarykovo nádraží to Roudnice nad Labem. You may start your trip in Roudnice or you may change to the local train to Vražkov. I recommend you to go to Vražkov and make the round trip through Říp (3,5 kilometres) to roudnice (10 kilometres in total). Search your train connection at www.cd.cz or at www.vlak.cz
When you are in Prague, you may rent a car or drive by your car by highway D8 to the north and leave it at kilometer 29 towards Roudnice nad Labem. You may leave your car and start your trip in Roudnice, or in villages around Říp. Look at the attached map.
Red TapeRemember that Říp is the National cultural monument and is at the list of NATURA 2000 - there is forbidden movement outside of trails. There is a restaurant at the top of the mountain, however there is no possibility to spend the night there.
The mountain has not been covered by wood whole ages, until 1879 so there has been growing plants that like warmth and drought. There has been projected a model to cut particular parts of forests to enable these species that originally lived there. Some protected species still grows on the mountain : for example gagea bohemica, festuca pallens and allium strictum.
CampingThere is no cottage or official campsite at Říp. You may spend the night in some pensions or at zimmer-frei in neighbouring villages or towns. However there is a parking space and a meadow just at the northern outskirts of the mountain. It is out of the protected area, so it may be supposed that it is allowed to camp there.
External LinksComplex page concerning Říp (only in czech language):
Virtual tour - outlook at the summit:
Virtual tour - inside the romanesque biuld rotunda atop of Říp: