14 show caves of the Czech Republic: VISITOR RULES IN EFFECT FROM NOVEMBER 22, 2021 More
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Na Špičáku Cave

Characteristics / Piquancies

THE SILESIAN CARARRA

A lot of scrubby holes, cliffs and forgotten blocks, piles of stones and rubble bear testimony of the Supíkovice limestones having been mined in many places since the Middle Ages. Almost white, coarsely crystalline limestone with colour streaks rises from the Špičák Hill over Supíkovice and Velké Kunětice to Poland. It was mined for lime-burning and as stone for building but it was especially appreciated as a beautiful and workable decorative stone. It is coloured by the brown phlogopite mica colours to brown and purple, by the grains of diopside to green (the greenish limestone from Supíkovice was called “the wild marble” by stonemasons and they did not like it because it was hard and difficult to polish).

Marble was and, in the last mine, still is being chipped in big blocks from which decorative elements, reliefs, monuments, gravestones and statues were sculpted or they were cut up into decorative tiles or paving slabs. Around the middle of the 19th century, Supíkovice carters carried the limestone and marble gravestones as far as to present-day Hungary, Poland and Ukraine.

In 1901 there were nineteen marble mines just around Supíkovice and Velké Kunětice. In the biggest of them, 2,000 cubic metres of quality blocks were mined annually. In 1885 the Provincial Vocational School for marble industry was founded in Supíkovice (Saubsdorf). Later it became the Vocational School of Stone Masonry and ceased to exist after the emigration of German citizens in 1945. The school has educated many stonemasons and spread the fame of Supíkovice marble all over Europe. To enter the school, the students had to complete elementary school, had to be over the age of fourteen and they had to be physically fit for the job of a mason. The tuition was free of charge and 24 students received a scholarship of 60 gulden a year. Beautiful products made from Supíkovice marble were part of a number of significant European works of architecture such as the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. Apparently, the most famous Supíkovice sculptor was Josef Obeth (1874-1961), the author of the Priessnitz sculptural group in Jeseník, which he made in 1909. The fame of Supíkovice marble and stonemasons gained Saubsdorf the cognomen “Silesian Cararra”.