Droga Sudecka and "The Turn of Death"

At midday on 17th October 1937 in the presence of authorities from the Lower Silesia, a section of a road between Szklarska Poręba and Świeradów was opened. It was only a part of a big transport investment plan that was called Droga Sudecka. The plan was to start the road in Zittau, then it would go through Świeradów and Szklarska Poręba at the base of the Karkonosze Mountains and then along the next mountain ranges up to the Czech Opava.The main aim of the creation of Droga Sudecka was to make the transport more comfortable between the health resorts, holiday resorts and the main towns located in the Sudety Mountains. On the other hand, it had also a huge strategic importance as a side evacuation road along the Czech border. Droga Sudecka, which project was based on Alpine roads, was to become a centre of the tourist development of the region. Unfortunately, only particular sections of the road were finished and the World War II was a factor that affected further realization of the project. The completed section of the road in the Izera Mountains starts in Świeradów Zdrój near the “Pod Jeleniem” Hotel and then it leaves the Kwisa river valley behind and rises up to the “Rozdroże Izerskie”. Then, it leads beside the slope of the Mała Kamienna to the Czarna Góra and finally goes down to Szklarska Poręba. This section is made of asphalt and is 14550 meters long and 6 meters wide with 2 meters wide hard shoulders on both sides of the road. The road is based on an 18 centimeters stony base, 8 centimeters of ballast and 8 centimeters of asphalt. According to the project, the maximum speed of cars travelling on the road was to be 70 kilometers per hour. In the surrounding area of Szklarska Poręba there was one important branch of the road that was not built. It was a branch from Zakręt Śmierci to Jakuszyce that could have significantly improved the transport in the area and unload a crowded towncentre. However, the completed road from Świeradów to Szklarska Poręba have significantly  improved

the transport for tourists driving from Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden and Goerlitz to visit the Szrenica area. The significant part of the construction works was done by youths stationed in a camp nearby the Rozdroże Izerskie from an organisation called Reichsarbeirtsdienst [R.A.D.]. Especially, the most recognizable section of Droga Sudecka was Wielki Zakręt - a place, which is situated near Szklarska Poręba on the road to Świeradów Zdrój. It is the highest point of Droga Sudecka and is placed at the height of 775 meters above sea level. The road turns there very violently which makes the bend really dangerous (the bend is almost 360 degrees with a 30 meters radius). There are drifts located under the bend. It is said, that they were blew up at the end of the World War II. The explosion would have probably destroyed the road either that is why this information seems to be exaggerated. Locals say that according to the legend, there was not only the military equipment left in the drifts but also the legendary treasures of the Third Reich. Zakręt Śmierci, which has a bad reputation, was given its name after the end of the World War II and it was due to many car accidents that happened on the bend. Below Zakręt Śmierci and next to the trail leading to Zbójeckie Skały, there are adits of the former pyrite mine. Zakręt Śmierci is nowadays an excellent vantage point at the panorama of the Karkonosze Mountains and the valley of Jelenia Góra.

Edited by Doctor Przemysław Wiater
Translation: Andrzej Rudkowski

Czerwiński J., Mazurski K., Sudety. Sudety Zachodnie, Warszawa 1983;
Góry Izerskie. Słownik geografii turystycznej Sudetów, red. M. Staffa, Warszawa-Kraków 1989;
Steć K., Sudety Zachodnie, część I, Warszawa 1965;
Vondrovský I., Sudetská silnice [w:] „Krkonoše. Jizerské hory” 2/2007, s. 32-33;


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