Four lookouts designed by Mjölk architekti top mountain Stráž above Rokytnice nad Jizerou, each inspired by a different patron from the town’s coat of arms.
The Stráž mountain ridge looms over Rokytnice. To the west, it sharply slopes downwards to where the Jizera river flows rapidly. From there, it extends eastwards along Sachrův and Vlčí ridges until Kotel—a mystical mountain. The Stráž mountain (which the locals refer to as Strážník) was once used to send fire signals between patrols when enemy armies invaded the land long ago. After receiving the signal, other stationed patrols at Kozákov would relay it even further inland into Bohemia territory.
Fortunately, the fires are not needed anymore and Rokytnice nad Jizerou has new caretakers. The town is watched over by four figures from the coat of arms. These patrons sit on top of Strážník and symbolize the four villages that combined to form Rokytnice long ago – Fox, Bear, Sheep, and Miner.
The fox is perched atop the first cliff, his long body stretched out on the stone. His tail hangs over the edge of the valley, giving him a clear view of Rokytnice and the surrounding hills. He can see all of Rokytnice from up here: Lysá mountain in all its glory, blanketed in snow; the first primroses blooming on the slopes caught in shafts of sunlight; even basking in the summer sun or weathering autumn rains darkens his coat slightly. Come along, now the Fox of Františkov will take you for a ride on his back! You can spot him from a small footbridge in the area, and there’s also a seating area nearby if you get hungry during your journey.
There are plenty more stops like this one along the way, so even if the Fox is full when you arrive, don’t worry—there will be room for you at another station.
The bear is peering into the treetops from a short distance in the woods, near where the Fox is hiding. There’s a good chunk of him, and he looks well-fed as he stands on a piece of rock among the blueberry bushes. “Get on my back!” The bear calls out invitingly so that you can share his lookout view with him—even when the fog rolls over the mountains. You might be lucky enough to see a woodpecker at work if you land there, or perhaps an entire herd of fawns roaming about atop the woods.
The friendly bear is from Dolní Rokytnice, but he decided to move up here because he likes it better. It’s more peaceful and the people are nicer, so don’t be scared to listen to him. Hop on his back for a ride.
The sheep crossed over from the meadows of Horní Rokytnice and entered Stráž. It is now guarding the path to the Miner, which is the final stop for anyone going between the watchtowers. Having taken shelter in the forest among some blueberry bushes, it provides her back as a service to any precious individuals who wish to climb up and pat her.
Mining is a significant part of Rokytnice’s history, which you can learn more about by crossing the footbridge to reach the Miner. He patrols high on a cliff called K5 and is the last symbol of mining in Rokytnice. From his lookout, you can see an impressive view of Jizera Valley below. If you listen carefully, you may even be able to hear the river sparkling as it flows through from Poland. Take a seat on the steps and enjoy watching the horizon above the river.
In 2014, Mjölk architekti designed the Guard Patrol project, which entailed a series of small observing platforms on a mountainside in Rokytnice. The plan was born from the municipality’s original desire to construct an observation tower atop the mountain. However, officials soon realized that due to the rocky landscape and lack of vantage points, building a classic lookout tower would be impractical. They decided instead to create several stops along rocks at various heights for climbers and hikers to enjoy panoramic views of the area below. The architects looked to the town’s coat of arms for inspiration and created light steel structures sheathed in wood. The four figures on the coat of arms, known as the Fox, Bear, Sheep, and Miner — Guard Patrol – now watch over the town.
The lookouts have steel structures that are composed of smaller parts that humans could carry to the rock protrusions’ site. The steel structures are then anchored into the rocks with special steel anchors in drill holes that go up to 8 meters deep. To finish it off, the rails are made of black painted steel while the handrail frames feature stainless steel mesh.
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