17-Jun-2005 -- I've been a follower of the DCP for years. I was the first newspaper reporter to interview Alex several years ago when I worked for a little paper in Ohio.
Last week I decided to take a pilgramage from Prague, where I've been living, to 50N 15E. I didn't intend to make a formal visit out of it. I don't own a camera, let alone a GPS machine. But Kourim looked like an interesting place.
While I think your previous correspondents did a good job of describing the area, I'd like to add my experience. Feel free to add any part of it to the site.
Others appear to have driven to the point, but you can also get there by public transportaion if you plan ahead. I went to Kourim by taking the 381 bus from the Skalka metro stop to the stop called "Zdanice, U Janu," where in this case (but not all cases), another bus was waiting to take people to Kourim.
From the bus stop "Kourim, Zakladni skola," you can get to the confluence point as follows. Go east to the town square, and after looking around the historic village a bit, leave the square at its southeast exit, past the impressive Gothic church. This is the yellow marked walking path. Go down the steps and across the bridge. The yellow path now continues straight ahead up the hill -- don't turn onto the paved path.
Walk up the hill until you come to a big rock. This is Lechuv Kamen (Lech's Stone). The sign next to the rock explains the importance of the rock in Czech national mythology. Lech was the younger brother of Father Cech, who supposedly led the Czechs to Bohemia. From what I gathered, Lech needed a place for his clan, so he headed southeast to this point. Here, he gave a smoke signal to indicate his chosen locale. Smoke in Czech is kour, thus the name of the village.
The sign also told of a legend that had something to do with a treasure hidden under the rock. My Czech isn't perfect, but I think it said that if you go there on midnight on Christmas Eve and touch your nose three times without breathing out, the treasure is revealed.
From here, you have two options. The quickest way to the confluence is to walk along the back of the field that is to the left of the rock. The path that way bends east and goes along the south end of the Stara Kourim hillfort. After a couple hundred meters, you get to a paved lane that leads to a lake. On the other side of that path is the field with the yellow marker.
The other option is to continue along the yellow walking path to the top of the hill. This was the site of the medieval hillfort known as Stara Kourim (Old Kourim), but there would be no way to tell if it weren't for the explanatory signs. On the hilltop are a chapel and a red-and-white pole that says "Czech triangulation." I believe the pole is right on 50N. Continue along the path until you get to the next waysign. Here, you have to turn off to the left and walk northwest along the edge of two fields until you get to the paved lane mentioned before.
They did archaelogical digs at Stara Kourim in the 40s and 50s and dated the site to the 9th century. Apparently, the fort was occupied by rivals of the Premysls, the first dynasty to rule Bohemia. After defeating his enemies at Stara Kourim, the king of Bohemia chose the hill on the other side of the Kourimska River for a new, royal town, today's Kourim. The village still has traces of the 13th-century fortification system, notably Prague Gate north of the square. The Industrial Revolution seems to have passed Kourim by; it had more people 150 years ago than it does now.
I can see why confluence-hunting has been so popular in Europe. In America, a confluence this close to a major city would probably be in someone's back yard. But here, people live so close together that few points aren't publicly accessible. And the Czech Republic has the advantage that most farms are state-owned, so there's no one there to complain if you go wandering around.
Coordinator's Note: This visit is marked as incomplete as there are no photographs. I would encourage this level of detailed reporting from all CP visitors.