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Pec pod Sněžkou

History

The present-day name and layout of the town have a relatively rich history. Pec pod Sněžkou was given town status on 1.1.1987. Until that time it had been a central village.

 

The current area of the village was apparently settled by miners and prospectors in the 15th century. Such people came here against the flow of the River Úpa from lower regions that had been settled for a longer time. Velká Úpa was apparently the first part of the area to be settled, with Pec itself being settled soon after. Reports have been preserved from the year 1534 that document mining activity and the smelting of iron, arsenic, and copper ores. In 1771, the year in which the first numbering of houses was introduced, one series of numbers was determined and so the whole village became a uniform unit with the name of Aupa (Úpa). This later became GroßAupa (Velká Úpa). During the 19th century, or more precisely in the year 1841, the village of Velká Úpa was divided into three parts, which were transformed into three separate villages in 1871. From this time onwards until the end of the Second World War, the present day community of Pec pod Sněžkou was occupied by three separate villages - GroßAupa I (Velká Úpa I), GroßAupa II (Velká Úpa II), and GroßAupa III (Petzer, Pecr, Pec, Pec pod Sněžkou). And so it was not until 1945 that the current cadastral district of Pec pod Sněžkou became an independent village with a name derived from its neighbours - the "third part of Velká Úpa", i.e. GroßAupa III. The origin of the German name "Petzer", which was later given the Czech version of "Pecr" during the first republic, is very much open to question and is far from clear to this day. It apparently has a great deal to do with the furnaces for the smelting of ores that were found in the village and were operated at that time. There are at least another two versions of how the name Petzer came into being which would obviously need further explanation. Nonetheless, the name of Petzer was first recorded in mining papers from the year 1731 in the form of "Petzergrund - Pecký důl). These records were partially written by the Czechs that worked for Berthold Vilém Valdštejn in the smelting of ores. The Czech name of "Pec was germanised as "Petzer".

Pec became a must sought-after hub for tourism after the First World War and the original mining settlement was gradually transformed into a renowned tourist resort. Of fundamental significance to the further development of the town was the construction of two sections of the Pec - Růžová hora - Sněžka cable car, which was carried out between 1948 and 1950, and the building of a system of ski-tows and downhill runs.

The added title of "pod Sněžkou" (beneath Sněžka) was given to Pec in 1948 in order to distinguish it from the village of the same name in Šumava (currently Nová Pec, District of Prachatice). The village had been called Pec v Krkonoších (Pec in the Krkonoše Mountains) shortly before this change of name.

The re-amalgamation of the villages of Velká Úpa (its separate parts, the so-called Velká Úpa I and Velká Úpa II, merged in 1945) and Pec pod Sněžkou took place in 1960.

Present-day

The village of Pec pod Sněžkou is one of the best-known and most visited mountain tourist resorts in the Czech Republic. The area has something to offer all year round and lies at an altitude of 750 metres above sea level. The village has a population of approximately 600 full-time residents and is located in the valley of the River Úpa and the Zelený and Luční brooks in the magnificent countryside between the surrounding peaks of Černá hora (1299 metres above sea level), Jelení vrch (1024 metres above sea level), Liščí hora (1363 metres above sea level), Studniční hora (1554 metres above sea level), and Sněžka. At 1602 metres, Sněžka is the highest mountain in the Czech Republic. The mountain also borders Poland.

Parts of Pec pod Sněžkou consist of the neighbouring Velká Úpa, numerous mountain settlements and secluded dwellings that reach high on to the ridges. The entire region of the town is found within the confines of the Krkonoše National Park. Pec pod Sněžkou is the natural centre of the eastern part of the Krkonoše Mountains. It offers good facilities and its own unique atmosphere, which no tourist should miss.

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