The eye-bird’s view has attracted people since time immemorial. And because men have no wings, they like to watch the endless horizons opening from lookout towers. In the Czech Republic, these structures are quite frequent and very popular – thanks to their diverse architecture and, primarily, thanks to the beautiful natural sceneries that open up in front of the visitors’ eyes. Czech Mint dedicated an entire collector series to lookout towers, and this year (2014) it presents the second medal depicting Josef’s lookout tower on Kleť made of pure gold.
The lookout tower Kleť, named Josef’s tower, is situated on the highest mountain of the nature conservation area Blanský les (Blanský forest) at the altitude of 1083 meters in the region of Český Krumlov. The construction of the lookout tower was initiated by owner of the local dominion and traveller, prince Josef Jan Schwarzenberg, and the lookout tower was named after him. In 1822–1825 he entrusted the project to Jan Sallaba; the cost of the 18 meters high stone structure amounted to 5.5 thousand florins (gold coins). It was first used only by prince’s selected guests and visitors; to the public it was open no sooner than in the second half of the 19th century.
In 1872, a small house for the gamekeeper was added to the tower. In 1925 it was rebuilt into Tereza’s mountain cottage, named after its patroness - princess Therese of Schwarzenberg. Two transmitters and an observatory were subsequently built here, too. In summer and winter alike visitors can use 1,752 meters long cable car to get to the lookout tower. In 2008 and 2009 the lookout tower was reconstructed. It offers views of the Třeboň and České Budějovice basins, Novohradské hory mountain range, part of Šumava between Český Krumlov and Prachatice and, in favourable weather even the Austrian Alps with the massif of Dachstein.
The design for the medal was created by talented medallist Luboš Charvát. The obverse side of the medal is decorated with an impressive composition of the Josef’s tower and Tereza’s cottage. The reverse side features a view at the Šumava mountain range and its landmarks. Gold quarter-ounce medal Josef’s lookout tower on Kleť is an affordable way of appreciating your money and, at the same time, adding another valuable piece to your collection. We recommend you not to hesitate too long with the purchase – the mintage is limited to mere 500 pieces!