Silver medal Joseph's look-out tower at Kleť proof
The popularity of lookout towers began to rise with the growing interest in hiking at the end of the 19th century. Many of the lookout towers which dominate the country – at the time there were 400 of them - were built by the Czech Tourists Club. Around 200 lookout towers were preserved until the present day and every year they attract thousands of visitors to view the charming panoramas and natural scenery. Josef’s lookout tower on Kleť, to which Czech Mint dedicated the second medal in the series Lookout Towers, has an exceptional position among them.
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.
Czech Mint addressed foremost Czech medal designer Luboš Charvát with the request to prepare the design of the silver medal. The obverse side of the medal is decorated with an impressive composition of the Josef’s tower and Tereza’s cottage, while the reverse side features a view of the Šumava mountain range and its landmarks. Considering the current favourable prices of precious metals, silver is not only greatly popular among collectors but it also has a substantial investment potential.