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Technické památky jižních Čech

St. Elias´ Drainage Tunnel in Úsilné

The St. Elias´ tunnel is the former drainage tunnel near the village of Úsilné. It was used to drain the mines in the Rudolfov ore mining area. The tunnel was designed after flooding the main Rudolfov mines in 1570. Driving of the tunnel began on the date of Saint Elias, 20 July 1574. Six years later, the works were discontinued for the lack of funds, although the tunnel was done for the major part. The works on the tunnel were not even resumed despite the interest taken by the Rosenbergs and the noblemen from Hradec in 1584 and the tunnel began to deteriorate. In 1628, the tunnel driving was resumed by the townspeople of České Budějovice, however, the works were carried out in an unqualified way and the tunnel was departed from the previous marked out direction, which resulted in the collapsing of the tunnel at a few places. In 1725, the tunnel was cleared out and connected to the Saint Florian´s adit. Driving of other drifts finished in 1910. Water leaving the drainage tunnel in the village of Úsilné is the water coming from the mines in the territory confined by the villages of Libnič and Hůry and perhaps from the vicinity of the villages of Adamov and Rudolfov. In 1910, the underground water breakout occurred in one of the tunnels near the St. Elias mine. This resulted in the complete flooding of the mine. In the mid-20th century, České Budějovice was supplied with a good quality drinking water from the St. Elias´ tunnel. Since 1990, the municipality office of Úsilné strived to rescue this monument and make it accessible to the public as a tourist draw of the village and the region. After nearly 20 years of overcoming numerous obstacles, the first, approximately 400 m long, part of the Elias´ tunnel under the built-up part of the village of Úsilné was opened to the public in 2009.

GPS position

N 49° 0.784', E 14° 30.832'