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Prášily, Czechia

Poledník Lookout Tower

A Cold War secret surveillance tower used to spy on radio communications.  

The lookout tower at Poledník in Czechia is known today for its beautiful 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains, but during the Cold War, the structure was a well-kept military secret.

Situated at an elevation of over 4,300 feet and on the border with Germany, Poledník was perfectly suited for the creation of a radio surveillance base. A tower building equipped with communication technology was built in the 1960s. For the next couple of decades, it was used to keep tabs on radio dispatches from the land and the sea.

It was, for strategic reasons, left out of or misrepresented on many maps. This, combined with its location in a military region, meant it was fairly inaccessible until the the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The site was then abandoned and over a decade later, it was taken over by park authorities and converted into a lookout tower, from where significant peaks like Great Arber, Little Rachel, and Great Rachel are visible. The building also contains a museum detailing the region’s local history.