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Fr 18.12.
Sa 19.12.
Su 20.12.

The course of the Vltava River

The Teplá Vltava (Warm Vltava) springs forth from the ground under the name of Černý Potok (Black Stream) at an altitude of 1,172 metres above sea level on the slope of Černá Hora (Black Mountain - 1,315 metres above sea level). The stream, formerly flowing north, turns and starts flowing southeast under the village of Kvilda and continues on toward the village of Borová Lada, after which the Černý Potok assumes the name Teplá Vltava. At an altitude of 731 metres it nears the village of Chlum, and in the Mrtvý Luh (Dead Meadow) region, the Teplá Vltava meets its Bavarian “sister” – the Studená Vltava (Cold Vltava), springing forth in Germany on the slope of Haidel Mountain and crossing the border near the village of Haidmühle. The river is named only Vltava from this confluence onward.

At the village of Nová Pec, the meandering Vltava River changes to a large body of water – the Lipno Dam lake, which was created by damming the river near the village of Lipno nad Vltavou. Here, most of the water in the Vltava River flows through the turbine blades of the underground hydroelectric power station, from where it continues through an underground tunnel to the equalising reservoir Lipno II near the village of Vyšší Brod. The former Vltava riverbed also flows into the “small” Lipno, although the water flow is only several cubic meters of water per second.

Under Vyšší Brod, at a place called U tří veverek (At the Three Squirrels), the river definitely turns northward and heads towards the town of Rožmberk nad Vltavou. For the next approximately 30 km, the Vltava River elegantly meanders around the ancient core of the town of Český Krumlov, through the village of Zlatá Koruna, it misses the Celtic oppidum in Třísov and the ruins of the Dívčí Kámen castle, in order to enter the town of České Budějovice. From here, reinforced by the waters of the Malše River, it continues onward to the village of Hluboká nad Vltavou. After Hluboká, the Vltava flows into a third dam reservoir – the Hněvkovická Dam, created in order to supply the nearby Temelín nuclear power station with service water.

The town of Týn nad Vltavou follows, where the backwater of the Orlík Dam is evident. After Týn, the Vltava is joined by its right bank tributary – the Lužnice River. Two kilometres later the Vltava runs into another obstacle – the Kořensko weir with a lock. Then its waters spill into a deep and long lake – the Orlík Waterworks, the highest dam of the so-called Vltava cascade. The Otava River flows into the Vltava from the left side under Orlík Lake. From here the Vltava River continues flowing northward, slowed down by another dam – the Kamýk Waterworks, built simultaneously with the Orlík Waterworks as its equalising reservoir.

A deep and romantic valley follows, full of meanders; flooded, however, by the waters of the Slapy Dam since 1956. The Slapy Waterworks Dam is located on the location of the former Svatojánské proudy (St. John’s Rapids), favoured by boaters, once one of the most beautiful sections of the river.

On its trip to Prague, the Vltava fills another two dam reservoirs – the Štěchovice and Vrané nad Vltavou. The Sázava River flows into the Vltava from the right at the town of Davle, and the Berounka River from the left at the southern edge of Prague at Zbraslav.

Within Prague the Vltava “meets” only several weirs and locks, in order to continue north after several meanders. The nature of the surrounding countryside markedly changes at the town of Kralupy: The Vltava leaves embracing valleys to flow into plains in order to head towards the town of Mělník, where at an altitude of 156 metres above sea level it flows into the Labe (Elbe). Before this confluence, at the village of Vraňany, a floating channel splits off from the Vltava, bypassing an unnavigable section of the river. Later on, this artificial channel also flows into the Labe from the left, only several hundred metres after the confluence of the Labe and Vltava Rivers.