014 - Bata's Channel  
Functionalism, rare beetles and Italian ice cream
1. 8. 2017

Despite the fact that today we are going through the main Moravian cycling trail, we tried to find a way that is more pleasant than racing with electrocyclists going from the kiosk to the kiosk. Whoever is bored can explore functionalism in Otrokovice, enjoy the Baťa's Canal or visit the independent film festival in Uherské Hradiště, which takes place in late July. And while going along Bata's Channel at another time, take the Italian ice cream in Hradiste.

The film is in Czech with English subtitles

Until 1930, Otrokovice was an inconspicuous Haná village. Then the legendary Walachian industrialist Tomas Bata discovered that Zlin is for his empire too tight. He decided to set up subsidiary plants in nearby Otrokovice. But when Bata builds the factory, he builds the whole city. According to the urban design concept of architect František Lydie Gahura he began to build on a water meadow called Bahnák Baťa's garden town with three zones - industrial, recreational and residential. When a flood came in after a year and the site was flooded, Bata decided to pick up the terrain some 4 meters apart. John Antonín Baťa, who came up with an original idea, was commissioned to manage the construction to get the soil into building plots by floating from the opposite hill of the Tresny Wood Channel. The building land was subsequently drained by a sophisticated well system. This idea was so original that he was later honored for its realization as honoris causa.

Although the chief architect of the Bata City was F. L. Gahura, the most important buildings were built according to the projects of his competitor Vladimír Karfík. In the Central park square, the Social House grew up, with a plan of a three-leaf air propeller, like a reminder of an accident in which Tomáš Baťa died in 1932. Jan Antonin continued to build the city and it was intil 1944 built 409 classic Baťa houses. Vladimír Karfík also designed a department store and a swimming pool with original slide. And right from the swimming pool, we head along the Bata's Channel along the asphalt cycle route to Napajedla.

The idea of navigating the rivers and connecting the Danube, the Odra and the Elbe is ancient. Charles IV. tried to build a channel that would connect the Danube with Vltava, but the project was not completed. In 1700, the Dutch clergyman Lothar Vogemont wrote the tract "Treatise on usefulness, possibilities and the method of connecting the Danube with Odra, Vistula and Elbe by the navigation channel, "which is the first proposal to link all three river basins. Attempts to navigate the rivers continued to build the locks in the following centuries. The proponent of the construction of the waterways was Tomáš Baťa. Eventually, it was built 51 km long channel on the route Otrokovice - Rohatec, where the cruise started on 2 December 1938. Half of the costs were paid by the Ministry of Social Affairs because of care for the unemployed. From this, we can see how Bata's skilled entrepreneurs was. They needed to import lignite from the mine in Ratíškovice and the government helped them.

After the war, Baťa's industry was nationalized and the bolshevik didn't care about the channel. And so the sophisticated work derailed until the early nineties. In 1996, the Agency for Tourism Development was established on the Bata's Channel and until now the channel has been repaired. There are many hausbot rentals and there are cruise liners. Thus, you can take a bicycle ride along the Bata's Channel in just one direction and back on a boat ride.

Along the asphalt cycle path, we leave from Otrokovice to Napajedla. Biking is best in the early morning, you will be alone there. With the approaching noon there is bigger traffic and the sun burning. And the weekend it is the the worst. Fortunately, Napajedla is close and after we reach Spytihněv, we will leave the crowds and ride along the footpath through the sloping forest.

Stud farm in Napajedla
Napajedla welcome us from the distance with the panel houses, in front of which there are massive mourning willows. But there are not only blocks. In the center of the city is celebrated historical zone. The local baroque chateau is dilapidated and open to the public, behind the English Castle Park with rare trees stands renowned stud farm, which is the largest producer of horse racing in our country. It is worth mentioning the Napajedla Center, opposite the Neo-Renaissance Town Hall a modern, fumbling fountain symbolizing four sources of tributaries of the Morava River.

We continue, still on the asphalt to the lock in Spytihněv. There the crowd of cyclists will cross over to the other side and we continue on a narrow path (finally!), which leads us to the boundaries of the Trnovec Nature Reserve. It is floodplain forest made of hardwoods wood - oak, ash, maple, hornbeam and elm. We did not see any of the rare beetles, but we noticed that the plants of the bear garlic spreads where the eye can see. The Kněžpol Forest, of which Trnovec is part, is also the only forest that we will encounter today. With nostalgia, we look at the ridges of the nearby Chribes where, before the asphalt lobby was modified, there were beautiful biking tours in the middle of the deep forests. But to this day, fortunately, a few remain. I mean those field trips.

Along the wide forest road, we pass along the border of a nature reserve. Conservationists can be calm. We are quiet, so we do not disturb local birds. And the crowd of cyclists will never ride here - there is no asphalt and refreshments.

To Uherské Hradiště
We leave the forest and we are surprised. Until Uherské Hradiště we go along the footpath along Morava. And no skaters, just a few pedestrians. Along the footpath we will get almost to the center. If you do not want to miss this unique experience, hurry up. Who knows how long this footpath will be. Politicians wishing to build European asphalt bikes are looking to get their share. Nobody cares what will be with the asphalt in a few years, until there is no maintenance money. Because if it is not for repairing roads, it is hard to assume that it will remain on the bike paths. But there was a lot of lamentation, up to Hradiště.

The city has two main squares, which were founded on two islands. The channel called Splávek separated them. It was where there are today streets Na splávku and Prostřední. There were two squares in the town, because there lived two adjacent municipalities - Kunovice's and the Old Town's people. The Kunovjans had their square, which was called Main, later Gottwald's, now Masaryk's. The Old Town people had Marian Square, behind the Communists renamed the Red Army's square. The two squares were connected by the Middle street, which was so narrow to make it easy to stow. Among Kunovice's and Old Town's people there was often a struggle.

So much history. Nowadays, the Prostřední street is interesting for us because there is an Italian ice cream parlor where they have dozens of kinds of ice cream and give there giant portions. You will not eat so big ice cream, I guarantee it. Otherwise, Uherské Hradiště is famous for the Summer Film School, which is a festival of independent films. The city floods thousands of backpackers and the atmosphere is indescribable. The LFS was originally a nomadic show of members' of films Association of Czech Film Clubs, in Uherské Hradiště, it was settled permanently in 1992. Its reputation was achieved under the guidance of the visionary Jiří Králík, who had been forced to leave office after fifteen years, on the basis of a constructive charge. However, life goes on and even without Králik the LFU is a unique experience.

Adrenaline passages
We go back to Otrokovice a little bit differently. We will cross Morava river and follow the cycling route 47 along the artificial Baťa's Channel. We are riding bikes again on the asphalt and we are passingg the river locks with miniature "Baťa's houses" built for the operators. There are underpasses under the canals where it is better to dismount the bicycle because they lead to a bend around the pillars and are not to see the opposite. But everyone ignores them. This is one of the few adrenaline experiences of today. If we did not want to take a look at the artificial Baťa's Channel, we would probably go back from Hradiště back through the floodplain forest, it would be more pleasant.

Finaly terrain
In Spytihněv, we cross the power plant's dam on the other side and until Napajedla we do not expect anything special. At the end of Napajedla, in the river kilometer 175.3 there is footbridge. Afterwards, we reach the right bank of the Morava river and finally we are back on the deserted footpath. A little work will give us the underpass of the railway bridge, where we have to transfer the bikes, but then we continue to Otrokovice along a pleasant footpath, the other half of which is not drawn on any map. Nor on, and that's what to say. Do not be so to confuse, from the confluence of Morava and Dřevnice the singletrack continues to Otrokovice, where we cross the other bank in the river kilometer 179.1 and then we wil reach the swimming pool from which we drove.

Why to ride a bike along the cycle route
Maybe you are now asking why you have to go along the Bata's Channel? For kiosk lovers it is a clear choice. There are a lot of them on the way. Nice snacks is for example in the Pahrbek autocamp near the blind arm of Morava near Napajedla. For parents with children, cycling is also appropriate. You will never meet a car anywhere the whole journey leads after separate communication. And kids often have hunger and thirst, or both, and kiosks will definitely welcome. For lovers of technical monuments and architecture experts we can also recommend the trip. Do not miss a visit to Otrokovice or nearby Zlín. And what the bikers and their savvy children? They can use part of the way to approach the beautiful Chribes. But it's a whole different part.

Route: From the swimming pool in Otrokovice to the cycling trail 47 - after it along the left bank of the Morava through Napajedla to the Spytihněv hydroelectric power station - continue along the same shore along the trail to the Trnovec Nature Reserve - via the Kněžpol Forest on the 5055 cycle path - in Jarošov the asphalt changes into a trail and along it to Uherské Hradiště - along cycling route 47 cross over Moravia and Baťa's Channel - from the harbor to the cycling route 47 along Baťa's canal to Spytihněv - cross over the dam to the left bank of Morava river - along cycling route 47 to Napajedla - crossing the pedestrian bridge on the river km 175.3 - along the footpath on the right bank of Moravia to the pedestrian bridge on the river km 179.1 - cross the bridge to Otrokovice - along the cycle path to the road bridge on the river km 179.5 - ride through the park to the swimming pool

Lenght: 45km
Elevation: 184 m
Difficulty: low
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