14. April 2020

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Not far from Domažlice, in the direction of Nový Klíčov, you’ll find a former quarry. Today it resembles more of a spacious park with a series of wooden sculptures left here by carvers. One of the things that draws visitors and divers here is an underwater observation cabin at the bottom of the flooded quarry – which is, of course, interesting for filmmakers as well.

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Lomeček Quarry | Photo: Zdeněk Zrůst, Lomeček

The quarry at Starý Klíčov remained in operation until 1998. Today it’s used for recreation and sports and since 2004 has been the site of the annual International Sculpture Symposium. Works created by participants from around the world during the ten-day event become permanent additions to the complex. Some of the artworks are even submerged at the bottom of the lake, making diving lessons more engaging. But even regular visitors or film crews can peer under the surface of the lake in the underwater observation cabin.

The 12-tonne cabin is situated at a depth of 8 metres, Visitors access it via a floating dock and a ladder running down a stainless steel tube. Down below, you’ll find yourself in a round cabin with eight circular windows, each measuring 50 cm in diameter, and a bench around the perimeter. Six to eight people can occupy the cabin at once, making it one of the largest underwater cabins in the Czech Republic. A compressor on the surface regularly recirculates the air. 

Through the windows, you can observe common carp, crucian carp, silver carp, and grass carp, pike, crayfish, as well as sturgeon - and even an albino catfish. Divers can explore the wreck of a motorboat and an artificial cave, and there’s also an underwater training platform. And who knows – maybe you’ll even see a mermaid. Of course, we mean one carved from wood. Visibility is generally good, so it’s an ideal place to film underwater scenes.

The quarry measures about 200 metres in length and between 20 and 50 metres in width. There is a covered terrace of about 10 x 16 metres with a capacity of 200 persons, with options for catering, and a heated clubhouse. There is also a parking lot. Lomeček is easily accessible by motorway from Prague – take the exit towards Domažlice just past Pilsen, from which it is only six kilometres to the quarry.

The West Bohemian Region is home to a wide variety of monuments, architecturally significant buildings, and abandoned industrial spaces. The Pilsen Film Office chose to present the abandoned quarry because it is a location generally considered to be a unique natural feature although it was built by humans, one that has repeatedly “risen from the dead” despite the fact it was destined for extinction.

“This year we’re focusing on industrial monuments in the Pilsen Region – both architectural and natural. Our location tour, part of the 33rd Finále Plzeň Film Festival, which will take place this year in the autumn due to the global pandemic, will take visitors to the most interesting quarries and mines in the Pilsen region,” says Radka Šámalová of the Pilsen Region Film Office. “Over the decades, abandoned quarries have become overgrown or have been transformed into unsightly landfills. Man is not afraid to continue destroying natural areas which they have already written off, but quarries hold great potential for further use, not only in terms of their integration into the surrounding landscape. Until recently, old quarries were considered 'scars' on the landscape, but currently they are popular not only with geologists, hikers, and tourists in general but even with filmmakers. Our goal is to give these places the attention they deserve once again.” adds Šámalová.

Zdeněk Zrůst, the site’s manager, welcomes visitors. In addition to being open to divers and sculptors, it’s a frequent concert venue. The quarry is ready for filmmakers: “When I first came to Lomeček years ago, it was just a dry quarry with no water. I started bringing dirt to raise the dam. I stocked it with fish, planted grass, trees, bushes, and in 2011 we installed the underwater observatory. It would make me happy to see it used by others, such as filmmakers.”

Immediately adjacent to the quarry is the Bohemian Forest natural park; tourist routes and bike paths criss-cross the surrounding areas. The historical city Domažlice is located nearby, with its picturesque square with arcades and a variety of accommodation options.

Contact for shooting in the Pilsen Region:

Radka Šámalová, radka.samalova@filmplzen.cz, +420 737 190 798