Make a trip to Czech Mount Rushmore! 😀 These spooky 9-meters-high stone reliefs of giant heads peek out from behind a pine forest above the village of Želízy. They are known as Devil’s Heads. For a long time, they used to be the largest head sculptures in the world! However, their dimension has been overcome in the 1930s by the famous heads of the US presidents.
Romantic scenery of Kokořínsko
Devil’s Heads (Čertovy hlavy in Czech) were carved in the mid-1800s into the local sandstone outcrop. Sandstones are typical for this region called Kokořínsko. This area is full of bizarre rock formations, small caves, overhangs, and niches. Many Czech artists of the Romantic Era found their inspiration in this beautiful scenery!
One of them was the sculptor Václav Levý, the author of these demonic faces.
Meet the author
Václav Levý was a reputable Czech sculptor. But the beginning of his career was not smooth sailing.
He had enjoyed carving into wood since he was a little boy. At the age of 22, he started to work as a cook in Liběchov Castle. In his spare time, he used to make trips to the rocks in the nearby forest. With a chisel in his pocket! He began carving into the sandstone and vivifying the material. After five years of work, Devil’s Heads were gazing at him!
Luckily, his hobby didn’t go unnoticed. The owner of the castle was a well-known patron of arts. He supported Václav at his work and sponsored his studies abroad. After he returned back, he created many amazing sculptures and statues.
Sculptures in the forest
Besides Devil’s Heads, visit other Levý’s works scattered in the surrounding forests!
South of Devil’s Heads, you will come across Klácelka Cave. Actually, it’s not a real cave because it’s man-made. Levý decorated the entrance portal of this cavity with rock reliefs. Opposite the cave, he also chiseled figures of Hussite war leaders. To the left of the cave, you’ll see three dwarves forging weapons for the sleeping heroes, who are ready to help the Czechs in times of serious trouble!
About 1,5 km north of the Heads, you will find two other groups of Levý’s sculptures. The first one is Harfenice. It’s a sandstone block with a small carved cave, 4 human heads, and a woman playing a harp. Unfortunately, these reliefs haven’t withstood the ravages of time and aren’t very clear.
10 minutes of walk further is the other one. Don’t petrify when you see the giant 9-meters-long stone snake! As you get closer, you will find out that the snake is cut in half. And above the snake, there is a huge ax! What a relief! 😅
How to get to Devil’s Heads
To get to Devil’s Heads from Prague, take the C-metro line to Ládví station. Here, catch a bus to Želízy. Some buses are direct. But sometimes, you have to change in Liběchov. To find the optimal connection, visit this website.
You can also walk to Želízy from Liběchov following the blue-marked route. The trail leads through a park and then between houses. A short section of this trail runs along the main road, be careful!
Both Devil’s Heads and Klácelka Cave are located on the blue trail (see the map above). To get to the Snake and Harfenice, you have to head north along the yellow-marked hiking trail. If you continue walking this route, eventually, you’ll come to Štětí. From here, there is a great train connection to Prague.
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