U Libuše – a picturesque natural pool in the heart of Moravia

Foto: Ondřej Tomšů

Around 24 kilometres east of Brno lies the village of Luleč. This typical Moravian village hides a picturesque natural pool, U Libuše, which is surrounded by rocky cliffs and natural greenery.

If you prefer swimming in nature rather than large chlorinated swimming pools, U Libuše may be the hidden gem you have been looking for. The picturesque bathing spot relies on spring water to supply it with water and the surrounding rocky cliffs give it a very natural feel.

Photo: Ondřej Tomšů
The story of Luleč is also romantic, says the town’s mayor, Adam Majchrák.

“There is an old folk tale around here that the mythical duchess Libuše let her retinue drink from the local spring. It is from this tale that years later the name U Libuše became established.”

Originally, the spot was a stone quarry. But then, in 1935 it had to be closed down after a geyser of water suddenly gushed out from deep under the ground, flooding the entire quarry in three days. The onrush of water was so fast that Mr. Majchrák says it is highly likely there are still remnants of the old quarry workers’ tools at the bottom of the water.

Eventually, with financial support from the local council and citizens, the Sokol gymnastics organisation opened up a swimming pool here in 1939, while celebrating the 30th anniversary of their establishment.

Then, in 2001, the local council of Luleč bought the public swimming pool. One of the objects that subsequently came into its possession was the historic 10m slide, which was built roughly 70 years ago, says the proud mayor.

Photo: Ondřej Tomšů
“You could say it is our family silver. I don’t know if it is here exactly from the beginning of the swimming pool, but roughly from around that time. It is a slide which was made out of stone, actually from terrazzo.

“We just repaired it a while ago, because it has been here for about 70 years. We had an expert sculptor who had to repair it very carefully. When we asked him how much it would cost to build a new one like it, he said it would cost millions. Apparently today, it is all done by hand, so it would be quite hard to find someone who could make it like this.”

Aside from the slide, the swimming pool features many other accessories, as well as another, more secluded bathing spot.

“We also have an historic slide here, which anyone is welcome to try out. Then there are two springboards and even a jacuzzi. There is also a small swimming pool for children. For those not specifically looking to swim, we also have kiosks and private restaurants.

“Furthermore, because this spot is bordered by a wood, visitors have the opportunity to go for walks into the local countryside. About one kilometre inside the wood there is another flooded quarry, which is pretty much open and free of charge.”

The swimming pool, which is popular among locals and folk from the nearby Moravian capital of Brno, gets around 2,500 visitors on peak days. Because the pool area is large, the local mayor says that even when it is packed there is enough room to swim.

Photo: Ondřej Tomšů

Stepping into the pool may be a bit of a shock at first though, because the surrounding rocks make the water cooler than in regular swimming pools. During the summer the temperature lies at around 21 degrees Celsius. Mr. Majchrák says that the coolness of the water also makes it cleaner.

One frequent bather, Jana from nearby Vyškov, says there is also another benefit.

Photo: Ondřej Tomšů
“The water tends to be cold for the whole of the summer, but sometimes during heatwaves this makes it a better place to go to rather than normal swimming pools, where the water can be as hot as 29 degrees Celsius. I think this cool water is an advantage when it’s hot.”

Aside from swimming, Luleč hosts a number of events during the summer ranging from concerts to volleyball tournaments. Those with a love of history are also likely to find something they like, says Mr. Majchrák.

“There are quite a few interesting places in Luleč. For example, the Church of St. Martin, which is located on top of a hill, offers a pleasant view of the surrounding countryside and it is also lit up during the night. The former Luleč castle was located nearby too.

“There are a few old hillforts nearby, as well as lots of opportunities for trekking. Recently, Luleč celebrated 670 years of documented existence, so there is a lot of history to see here.”

The Luleč natural swimming pool is open from June to late September.

Photo: Ondřej Tomšů,  Radio Prague International