Interesting technical solutions, mysterious underground spaces and a rich history are just some of what the tour of the fortification fortress Josefov offers. It used to guard the northern borders of the Austrian Empire, today it is an attractive place that attracts tourists and where many cultural events take place.
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Interesting facts Josefov Fortress
Josefovská Fortress is a complex of defensive elements covering an area of 266 ha. It has the shape of an octagon, it consists of eight bastions connected by straight sections of walls. Underground corridors reach a length of several tens of kilometers. The need to build a fortress preventing enemy Prussian troops from entering the country through the Broumov promontory between the Giant Mountains and the Eagle Mountains arose in the middle of the 18th century. The village of Ples was chosen for this purpose and in 1764 surveying began here.
Then, however, for reasons of economy, the fortifications of Hradec Králové were rather modernized, even though it was quite far from this access point. However, the war for Bavarian heritage in 1778-1779 proved that this was not enough. In 1780, the construction of a fortress on the site of the village of Ples began. The original plans, which provided for a geometrically measured structure regardless of the surrounding terrain, were modified to make the most of it. The project was developed by the engineer and general in the Austrian service Ludvík Querlonde du Hamel and from 1784 it was replaced by the fortifier Colonel František Lauer. The fortress was completed in 1787, but during its history it never got directly into battle. It was closest to that during the Napoleonic Wars, when in 1866 it fired its cannons at a Prussian enemy. However, he did not besiege it and pulled on elsewhere, so the fortress remained out of action.
As early as 1888, Josefov's fortress lost its status, partly because Prussia became an Austrian ally and also because of the failures in the Prussian-French war, when the fortification fortresses proved not very effective. At the end of the 19th century, the headquarters of the 9th Corps was located in Josefov, then prisoners were placed here during the Austrian wars, mostly during the First World War. Parts of the fortress were demolished and dismantled into building material during the process, and there was great devastation at all. This happened practically until 1970, when Josefov was declared a city monument reserve and the first efforts were made to save this monument, which is still successful today.
Josefov Fortress is an important example of fortification construction at the end of the 18th century and deserves the attention it fortunately already receives.
Author: Martina Limbergová