Větruše is one of the most unmissable and dominant features of the town, whose significance is based on the historic and social value of the structure, one which encompasses the style of life at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.The Větruše building is found on the rocky projection of land and terrace of supporting stone walls on the edge of the River Elbe valley beneath Soudný Hill.
Nowadays, the chateau of Větruše has become a part of the social life not only for the residents of Ústí nad Labem. The main building of Větruše also comprises a restaurant with an observation terrace, a dance hall and a few lounges that can also be used as conference facilities. An extension holding a hotel is anticipated in the future. The structure features a 30m high tower, also used as an observation point. The tower offers a marvellous view of the River Elbe basin and the city of Ústí nad Labem. To provide better guidance, the interior displays photographs offering a panoramic view of the countryside around and highlighted places of interest. The tower is open all year round.
Another attraction of the place is a mirror labyrinth and a maze, playground and a sports centre. The mirror labyrinth offers fun and entertainment to tourists, who enjoy their funny reflections in the distorting and convex mirrors, they can see shows displayed in the exhibition room of the tower and visit the information centre. Near the mirror labyrinth visitors can stroll in a maze of green white cedar trees. The sports centre has tennis courts, a basketball and volleyball court and table tennis facilities. Information on court reservations can be found on the Municipal Services website. Children will have fun in the children’s corner with climbing frame.
The area also has parking lots for both personal vehicles and buses.
Legend has it that a certain Labohoř built a castle in the year 826 to defend himself against his enemies, a castle which he called „Vitruš/Wittrusch“ in honour of his wife. This castle, however, burned to the ground.
It was back in the days when one day the tenant of the gunnery building, Johann Thomas, was searching out a spring for a well that the mighty foundation wall of the castle was uncovered. In 1839 he presented the municipal authorities with a building plan to beautify Soudný Hill, with its magnificent views of three sides of the River Elbe valley, and the ring of hills in the surrounding area. The construction of the restaurant was completed in 1847. By and by the demands on this place rose, there grew comfort and modern equipment. The greatest wish on the part of the public was that a new restaurant building be built to adorn the town. The final stone was laid on October 7th, 1897.
The lower floor was dominated in the middle by a freely-accessible hall. Meanwhile, the vaulting of the inn was supported by columns. The „old-German rustic chamber“ was particularly cosy. The first floor was taken up by a hall with additional area just to the side. Both sides also featured octagonal wooden bay windows, the exterior towers of which adorned the entire building. The rooms on the uppermost floor were used for tourist accommodation. The northern flank of the building culminated in an observation tower with four bay windows.
Větruše became a place of rest and entertainment for thousands of people over the years. Singers and gymnasts performed on the adapted meadow, celebrations were held here by all groups and associations, and theatre performances were held. It became a symbol of the town and the hub of club activity and social life for the population of Ústí nad Labem.
The Post-War Period
The hill was returned its original Czech name of Větruše after 1945, with the restaurant taking on the name as well. The restaurant continued to serve society until the end of the 1960s. Shortly after the War, the building was confiscated as German property according to Decree 108/45 and was transferred into national administration. It was subsequently passed to the Czechoslovak Municipal Sokol Gymnastic Movement in Prague in 1950 and came under the administration of the National Committee for Physical Education and Sport some three years later. There was another change in 1954, when Větruše was administered by the national enterprise known as „Turista Praha“. An important date in the history of the place came about in 1958, when this dominant feature came under the administration of a company called Restaurants and Canteens Ústí nad Labem.
A western wing was added to the restaurant and was later used to house foreign workmen. The complex as a whole was closed in the middle of the 1980s due to its poor technical condition and a lack of money to invest in repairs.
Větruše after 1989
The changes in the political and social situation that came about in the years that followed 1989 did not pass by even Větruše. Town hall had the opportunity to enter the building in the list of historic property in the city at the beginning of the Nineties. However, Větruše was sold off to a private investor as part of a minor privatisation programme in 1992. Then it went from one owner to the other, without being repaired. The final owner even failed to sell the decrepit restaurant under price.
A fire then broke out at Větruše on July 13th 2000, and so the building was robbed of its most dominant feature, the observation tower, and was threatened with collapse.
The city buys Větruše
The City of Ústí nad Labem bought Větruše in the year 2001 for 2.010 million CZK with the aim of ensuring that the area was returned to its former glory and could once again become a popular place for excursions, and not just for the people of Ústí nad Labem. The first repairs to the building were carried out at the end of the year 2002.
The current building represents a complete finalization of the so-called Historical part of the building. The estimated total costs of this building are 69 millions CZK.
To reconstruct the main building of Větruše and to build the surrounding entertainment area took until 2005. The total repair cost nearly CZK 130 mil.
Near Větruše there are the remains of medieval gallows, and the nature trail Větruše – Vrkoč with nine information boards starts here.
Where to go from Větruše?
Przemysl the Ploughman’s path over Dubice church
We start in Vetruse on the green mark across Elbe slopes to Vanovsky waterfall that is 12 meters high and to the Vrkoc rock below it that is of geological interest. We pass the whole of Vanov and the wood to the Zalezly community over which Dubice church is built while having a nice view from the Mlynář Cross in the middle of the ascent. The terrace near the boarding house and church in Dubice offers an unusual view of the Elbe valley and the surrounding hills. We can see the Rip hill in the distance. The green mark leads us through Dubičky and across the meadows to the viewing point Pod Kameny. While descending we pass by the Suchá village and Volské hory slope to arrive at Stadice where the legendary Przemysl ploughed his field. The place is indicated with a memorial representing a plough and reliefs of the Princess Libussa’s messangers to Przemysl and his greeting on Vyšehrad.
From Větruše to Vaňov via Vrkoč
This trip can be comfortably negotiated in two to three hours. However, the trail is not suitable for walking with a pram or under frosty or icy conditions, when part of the route can become covered in ice. We follow the green path from Větruše, which climbs for about a kilometre alongside the red path. It then turns off to the left by the last cottages and enters the forest along a footpath. The narrow footpath passes comfortably along the contours beneath the Elbe Hills until it reaches the clearing beneath the high-voltage power line, before climbing for a while along the stairs between the basalt rocks and continuing towards the high beech trees, where there is a rest point. After a short while the path cuts across the yellow footpath that runs from the floodgates to Podlešín. At the other side of the crossing point the green track begins to descend slightly to the edge of the gorge of the Vaňovský Waterfall. It then follows the gentle winding path to reach the bottom of the waterfall, whose height of 12 metres makes it one of the highest in the upland area. The waterfall actually freezes during winter and it is possible to see rock climbers engaging in a bit of ice climbing. The path turns from the foot of the waterfall towards the peak of Vrkoč rock. There is a stone plaque from 1916 on the right hand bank at the beginning of the turn-off. This was set here in memory of the Austrian trench-diggers who actually created this path. There is an excellent view of the innards of the rock formation, a panorama of the city, and a view of the castles of Střekov and Vaňov from the peak of Vrkoč.
From Větruše to Vaňov via Milenci and Panenská Rock
From Větruše we follow the green path to the point at which it crosses the yellow path before Vaňovský Waterfall. From the crossing point we follow the yellow markings along a steeper rise and soon reach the edge of the River Elbe slopes. The footpath then rises gently and passes through meadows and forest until around one kilometre later it arrives in the village of Podlešín. From here the yellow path continues along the road to Chvalov. A yellow detour of perhaps 500 metres turns off to the observation point on the upper edge of Vaňovská Rock along the periphery of the forest of Vaňovský Hill. This observation point perhaps offers the most attractive view of Ústí nad Labem. Not far from here the rockslide of the slope known as Čertovka can be seen to this day towards Ústí nad Labem (the slide began in 1992). On the way back to the Chvalov road we soon come across the crossing point at which our path meets the blue one and from here we follow blue along the high-voltage power lines until we reach the turn-off to Milenci. The detour is around half a kilometre in length. Milenci (the Lovers) are two mighty basalt towers with a height of over ten metres that stand closely beside each other on the steep slope. These rocks are popular with rock climbers. From here it is best to return the same way along the blue trail given that the footpath from the towers down to Vaňov passes through a field of debris and is only suitable for the hardy rock climber. After returning from the detour we continue for a while along the forest path beneath the clearance of the high-voltage power line until we come to another detour, which this time leads to the peak of Panenská Rock, a volcanic neck of basalt with unique flora and a nice view of the River Elbe valley. It is not even all that safe to descend from this rock. After returning along the blue path, the comfortable footpath will take us to the southern edge of Vaňov.