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The Komorni hurka Volcano

The Komorni hurka volcano located in the basin of the Eger river. On flat land the volcano looks more like a hill. With it´s 503 meters hight above sea level. Never the less, the Karlovy Vary region can be very proud of this the youngest Czech volcano with best – preserved example of surface volcanity in our country, that has not been active for the past 80 000 years. In the phase of fading activity it resembles the escaping Carbondioxide through the flowing lava.

History, Myths and Sagas

The are many stories that talk about evil spirits. Back in those days man was not able to explain and understand the reason for the escaping poisines gas and steam. The people for this reason believed that these gases were either goasts or evil spirits.

In the north of the country there was Midgit king with his people. This king heated the earth because of the cold. The king had three sons that he send out through the world. He gave them instructions to contain and control fire so that it could be used to heat the earth. They settled in the Slavkovský forest. The oldest son picked deep valley for himself. As per his father´s orders he heated the area as it was needed. On this ground the thermal waters of Karlovy Vary were developed. The second oldest son setteled in an area that was not so low as that of his older brothers. The spring waters were not so hot and became the place and founding of Mariánské Lazně. The youngest son was rebellious and more impulsive. He heated so that there was an explosion that put out the fire. This is the place where Komorni hurka developed and the cold spring waters of Františkovy Lázně came out of the earth.

In reality Komorni hurka developed after volcanic activity. In the past it´s slag and rocks were taken away and very clear profile became visible. Further evidence of volcanic activity was discovered on the southwest side of the volcano basalt deposites were found. Should you ever take a walk over to Komorni hurka a think to have found the crater opening, you are wrong. This a tunel 160 meters long and 15 meters deep and is man made.

At the time when J.W. Goethe was visiting Komorni hurka a scientific dispute broke out between two groups of geologist „Neptunist“ and „Plutonist“. The Neptunist tought the idea that the rock formations developer dew to water deposites (Neptun the Roman god of waters), everything was formed by the sedimentation of the layers in the water. Sinter and matamorfic rocks were formed by underground burning of coal beds. On the other hand, the Plutonists (Pluto the Roman god of the underworld and inland fire) believed, that these rocks were formed by volcanism. However, they degraded their hypothesis with it´s exaggerated role in the development of the grand. The structure of Komorní hůrka helped to solve these problems. Its isolated position in typice cainozoic lacustrine sediments enabled to get the proof, which were not evidently for ether of the hypotheses. The explorations contributed to solve the disagreements and to reconcile both hypothyses (today we do not question the unsubstitutable influence of both theories on the rock formation).

In the disagreement between the Neptunist and the Plutonist, Komorní hůrka played an important role. In those days it attractided many scientists. It was not only written about in our domestic literature but also in many other countries. Great notice was taken of J.W. Goethe, when he in 1806 visited the west bohemian spas, and did so on a yearly basis. In 1808 Goethe who was in Františkovy Lázně and also visited Komorní hůrka, wrote several articles based on these two locations. In the summer of 1822 another gathering took place. Count von Sternberg, Goethe, the Swedish chemist Berzelius, Dr. Pohl from Karlovy Vary and Mr. Gruener, the chief of police from the city of Cheb gathered themselves together in order to put an end to their disagreements. Goethe and Berzelius suggested to Count von Sternberg that he finance a breakthrough into the rock formation. In doing so they would then be able to determine if there was a burned out coal bed on the inside that exploded or a compact mass of cooled lava.

Count von Sternberg agreed to this suggestion, but the digging did not begin until after the death of Geothe in the 1834. They were able to find a layer of cooled lava in the crator. This discovery proved the volcanic origin of Komorní hůrka and put a end to the many years of scientific disagreements in favor of the Plutonists theory.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

1749 – 1832
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Jöns Jacob Berzelius

Jöns Jacob Berzelius

1779 – 1848
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Kašpar Maria hrabě ze Šternberka

Kaspar Maria von Sternberg

1761 – 1838
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Františkovy Lázně

Rediscovering The Komorni hurka

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