Harfenice Cave – Želízy, Czechia - Atlas Obscura

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Harfenice Cave

Želízy, Czechia

Human figures and faces are carved into the sandstone surrounding this cave in Czechia. 


The set of reliefs got their name from the central figure, a seated girl with a harp. The set also includes five monumental heads and a cave with sphinx heads on the portal. All these sandstone sculptures were carved by a single person, Václav Levý, a former chef from the castle in Liběchov. He sculpted for his pleasure in his free time between 1840 and 1845.

Reliefs of human heads are depicted on the rock, next to them is a cave a relief of a woman with a harp. The form of Harfenice (Czech for “the harp player”) is not as distinct as it may have been when it was first carved, but the strings of the small harp are still distinct.

Among Levý’s other works in the Kokořín region are the nearby Devil Heads and the decoration of the Klácelka cave. For this, he used classic tools, which are simpler for carving sandstone—he just needed an ax and a small pickaxe. Where the sandstones are larger and harder, he probably used a chisel and mallet.

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July 10, 2024

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