Vrchlabí (Czech pronunciation: [ˈvr̩xlabiː]; German: Hohenelbe, Latin: Albipolis) is a town in Trutnov District in the Hradec Králové Region of the Czech Republic. It has about 12,000 inhabitants. It lies at the foot of the Giant Mountains on the river Elbe. The town centre with the castle complex, monastery complex and town park is well preserved and is protected by law as an urban monument zone.

Aerial view with the Vrchlabí Castle in the left
Aerial view with the Vrchlabí Castle in the left
Flag of Vrchlabí
Coat of arms of Vrchlabí
Vrchlabí is located in Czech Republic
Location in the Czech Republic
Coordinates: 50°37′40″N 15°36′37″E / 50.62778°N 15.61028°E / 50.62778; 15.61028Coordinates: 50°37′40″N 15°36′37″E / 50.62778°N 15.61028°E / 50.62778; 15.61028
Country Czech Republic
RegionHradec Králové
First mentioned1359
 • MayorJan Sobotka
 • Total27.65 km2 (10.68 sq mi)
477 m (1,565 ft)
 • Total12,289
 • Density440/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
543 01

Administrative partsEdit

Vrchlabí is made up of town part of Vrchlabí, Hořejší Vrchlabí and Podhůří.


The name of the town is closely related with the location on the river Elbe, the oldest name is Latin Albipolis (Albi = Elbe, polis = city). Both Czech and German name can be translated as Upper Elbe Area.[2]


Vrchlabí lies at the foot of the Giant Mountains and is the gateway to the entire range.[3] About half of the municipal territory lies in the area of Giant Mountains, and its northern part lies in the Krkonoše National Park. The seat of the administration of the national park is located in Vrchlabí. The highest point is on the slopes of the mountain Žalý with an altitude of about 1,036 metres (3,399 ft), however both its peaks lies behind the border of Vrchlabí.

Vrchlabí is located on the upper part of the river Elbe. There are two small ponds in the area, the larger one is Vejsplachy, used for recreational purposes. The Vrchlabský Pond, named after the town, lies outside the municipal territory.


Church of Saint Lawrence
World War II memorial

The history of Vrchlabí started with the colonization of the Giant Mountains. The first settlement called Wrchlab was probably founded before 1300. The first written mention is from 1359.[2]

The most significant person in the history Vrchlabí was Kryštof Gendorf, a mining expert who developed the town into one of the most important metallurgy centres. Thanks to him, Vrchlabí was granted town rights in 1533, along with two annual fairs. Many people from German speaking lands came to work and live to the town during his reign and brought in the Lutheran reformation faith, which spread quickly in the region, supported vividly by Gendorf himself. Vrchlabí also became a place of fairs at that time. Especially linen cloth was highly desired and it was exported into Italy or Spain, as well North Africa.[2]

Vrchlabí was known for manufacturing of organs in the 17th and 18th centuries, which was introduced into the town by the Tauchmann family.[4] Textile production dominated the town's economy from the late 18th century until the 1930s and determined the industrial and craft development of Vrchlabí.[2]

In 1867, winter sports started to develop in the region. The main promoter of skiing was Guido Rotter, a local factory owner.[2]

The town was part of the Kingdom of Bohemia, which itself fell to the Habsburg monarchy in the 16th century, and from 1867 to 1918 was included in the Austrian part of Austria-Hungary (after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867). Administratively it was part of the head of the Hohenelbe District, one of the 94 Bezirkshauptmannschaften in Bohemia.[5]

In 1918, Vrchlabí became part Czechoslovakia, when the Czechs regained independence. From 1938 to 1945 it was occupied by Germany, and was then administered as one of the municipalities in Sudetenland. During the occupation, the Germans established and operated a Gestapo prison in the town,[6] and a subcamp of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp for female prisoners in the Hořejší Vrchlabí town part.[7] Nazi Germany also brought many Italian, French, English and Russian prisoners of war to work as forced laborers in the town.[8] The town's Germans who had not fled in World War II were expelled according to the Potsdam Agreement and Beneš decrees. The town was restored to Czechoslovakia.


Historical population
Source: Historical lexicon of municipalities of the Czech Republic[9]


Since the 16th century, Vrchlabí is an industrial town. Nowadays, it is known especially for machinery industry. In Vrchlabí there is one of three factories of Škoda Auto in the Czech Republic. The local branch employs about 1,000 people. From 1946 to 2012, it produced cars, and since 2015, it produces components for cars.[10] The largest employer with its headquarters in the town is ARGO-HYTOS, producer of components and systems for the hydraulic industry.[11]

Vrchlabí is also known as centre of tourism and winter sports, which significantly contribute to the town's economy.[3]


The events that are held every year are the beer festival Krkonošské pivní slavnosti and 100 km-long march Krakonošova stovka. The Střelnice house is the centre of culture. It is a place where all concerts, plays or balls are performed.


A local ice hockey club, HC Vrchlabí, plays in the 1st Czech Republic Hockey League (2nd tier of the Czech ice hockey league system) since 2020–21 season.

Vrchlabí Mad Squirrels play in the Euro XIII.

There are several ski resorts in the area: Kněžický Vrch, Kněžický Vrch – Kebrlák, Bubákov, and Herlíkovice.


Landmarks of Vrchlabí
New Town Hall
T. G. Masaryka Square
Vrchlabí Castle
The monastery complex

The Vrchlabí Castle was built in 1546–1548 for Kryštof Gendorf and originally surrounded by the moat. It was one of the first Renaissance castles in Bohemia. The most valuable monument in the castle and the last piece of the original equipment is the Renaissance faience stove. Nowadays the castle houses the municipal office and some of the spaces are freely accessible.[12]

The castle is surrounded by a park from the second half of the 19th century. It was originally an ornamental garden, but after the moat was eliminated, the park was redesigned. In the southwestern part of the park is the castle chapel with the Czernin-Morzin tomb. It was built in the Neo-Gothic style in 1887–1890.

The Discalced Augustinians Monastery was founded in 1705. The monastery complex with the Church of Saint Augustinus was built in the Baroque style with Neoclassical elements and was finished in 1725. Nowadays the premises of the monastery house an exhibition of the Krkonoše Museum on the nature and history of the region, and the church is often used as a concert hall due to its great acoustics.[12]

The Church of Saint Lawrence on the Míru Square was built in the Neo-Gothic style in 1889. It replaced an old Gothic church from the 14th century. It has 60 metres (200 ft)-high tower. Opposite the church is located a valuable set of four gabled houses where is located Krkonoše Museum and KRNAP infocentre. Next to them is one of the oldest monuments in the town, a house which served as the town hall from 1591 to 1737. Above the brick ground floor is the timbered floor supported by four sandstone columns with Ionian heads.[12]

The second square in the historic centre is T. G. Masaryka Square. Its main landmark is the New Town Hall from 1732–1737. It was originally built in the Baroque style as one of the first stone buildings in the town. In 1927, it was rebuilt to the Neorenaissance style.[13]

The very oldest house is Vrchlabí is The House with Seven Gables. It is a modified village chalet with unique appearance.[12]

Notable peopleEdit

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Vrchlabí is twinned with:[14]


  1. ^ "Population of Municipalities – 1 January 2021". Czech Statistical Office. 2021-04-30.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Historie" (in Czech). Město Vrchlabí. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  3. ^ a b "About the Town". Město Vrchlabí. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  4. ^ Tomíček, Jan (2010). "Varhanářská manufaktura ve Vrchlabí". Varhany a jejich osudy (in Czech). PM Vydavatelství. ISBN 978-80-900808-2-9.
  5. ^ Die postalischen Abstempelungen auf den österreichischen Postwertzeichen-Ausgaben 1867, 1883 und 1890, Wilhelm Klein, 1967
  6. ^ "Gestapogefängnis Hohenelbe". Bundesarchiv.de (in German). Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  7. ^ "Subcamps of KL Gross- Rosen". Gross-Rosen Museum in Rogoźnica. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  8. ^ Dorota Sula, Jeńcy włoscy na Dolnym Śląsku w czasie II wojny światowej, "Łambinowicki rocznik muzealny" Tom 33, Opole, 2010, p. 66 (in Polish)
  9. ^ "Historický lexikon obcí České republiky 1869–2011 – Okres Trutnov" (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. 2015-12-21. pp. 17–18.
  10. ^ "Závod společnosti ŠKODA AUTO ve Vrchlabí: High-tech závod na úpatí Krkonoš" (in Czech). ŠKODA AUTO a.s. 2019-10-10. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  11. ^ "About Us". ARGO-HYTOS s.r.o. Retrieved 2021-09-22.
  12. ^ a b c d "Tourist Attractions". Město Vrchlabí. Retrieved 2021-09-23.
  13. ^ "Radnice ve Vrchlabí" (in Czech). Liberec Region. Retrieved 2021-09-23.
  14. ^ "Partnerská města" (in Czech). Město Vrchlabí. Retrieved 2020-09-03.

External linksEdit