The Beginnings of Hiking and Tourism in the Hřensko Area
Czech-Saxon Switzerland, especially its German part, is one of the first places in the world where hiking started to develop. The "Bastei" rock plateau (the most visited formation in the area) and the rock castle of Neuraten in Saxon Switzerland are connected by a bridge built in 1851, which ranks among the first works to serve hiking activity exclusively.
The first hikers started to come to Hřensko in the 19th century. The romantic landscape was a great magnet that, although a bit later, was understood even by the Clarys, who owned the estate.
The tourism business is connected with the name of Clary-Aldringen (1813-1894). The Clary-Aldringens mainly took an interest in Teplice , the centre of their realm and the beginning of the first tourism business in Hřensko is connected with other personalities. In 1826, the Thun family published the first guidebook of the beauties of the Děčín area. Starting in 1832, Rudolf Kinský had trails made and bridges and footbridges built allowing access to Jetřichovie and environs. In 1864, the prince's forest adjunct Ferdinand Náhlík from Rynartice published a guidebook of parts of Czech Switzerland belonging to the Kinskys.
The Clary-Aldringens reacted by building a promenade path from Hřensko to Pravčická Brána in the 1830s, and supported the building of hotels, inns and restaurants. By 1881, Edmund Clary-Aldringen had an ostentatious hotel built near Pravčická Brána that had a capacity of 50 beds.
In 1884, the Gustav Kreibich company was established in Hřensko, which among other activities was engaged in the sale of postcards and photographs of Hřensko and brought the attractive gorges to a wider audience.
In 1879, groups of the Mountain Club for Czech Switzerland (Gebirgsverein für die Böhmische Schweiz) were founded in Vysoká Lípa and Hřensko following the model of Alp Mountain Clubs. The Hřensko group had 92 members and was headed by Anton Clary. Members built trails, benches, small bridges, railings, cottages as well as lookout towers, signs marking hiking trails, and also published promotional and educational publications and organized meetings and excursions.
Since that time tourism in Hřensko has continued to blossom. A sharp drop did not occur until the 1930s as a consequence of Fascist regulations and tourism continued to weaken. A recovery took place in 1964 when the gorges were reconstructed.