Komorní hůrka is a hill that at first glance is insignificant both in terms of its height and its shape. When travelling by car from Cheb towards Pomezí, you might not even notice it, not to mention that you would think that this forested hill is actually a volcano that in its time was known by geologists from all over the world.
This national nature monument is part of Geopark Egeria, a Czech-Bavarian geo-park. It is one of the youngest Quaternary volcanoes in the Czech Republic - the forested hill (a cinder cone) consists of volcanic material. On its deforested eastern side, there is an abandoned open quarry, adit, and rocky outcrops.
At the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, geologists did not yet exactly know how rocks are formed. They were divided into two rival camps - the so-called Neptunists and the Plutonists.
Neptunism proposed that rocks were formed by the crystallisation of minerals in water, and thus that Komorní hůrka Hill, too, has its origins in the coal seams that later burned down.
Plutonism, on the other hand, believed that it was of volcanic origin. At the time, Komorní hůrka Hill was visited and studied by prominent world scientists. Its exploration was also recommended by the German poet, Johann Wolfgang Goethe. He visited Komorní hůrka Hill several times, took part in the controversy around its origins, and suggested excavating the hill to seek the answer to the issue of rock origin from volcanic activity. In the slope above the adit, there is a basalt cliff into which an unknown artist engraved the bas relief of J. W. Goethe’s head with the inscription “Goethe dem Erforscher des Kammerbühls – 1808, 1820, 1822” (To Goethe, the explorer of Komorní hůrka Hill), commemorating the fact that the poet visited Komorní hůrka Hill in these years.
In those places where it was not possible to explore and discover the answers from the surface, there was only one choice of what to do - to look under the volcano. Therefore, in 1834 - 1837, Count Kaspar Maria von Sternberg had an adit dug into the slope of Komorní hůrka Hill. The mouth of the adit has a granite portal with the inscription “Den Naturfreunden gewidmet v. G. K. Sternberg, MDCCCXXXVII” (Dedicated to the friends of nature by Count G. K. Sternberg, 1837). The monument commemorates that this mining structure was dug purely for scientific purposes.
Visitors should be able to access the core of the volcano already during 2021, when it is planned to be opened to the public.