Location: On Jižní vrch (South Hill) rising above the southern edge of Karlovy Vary
Elevation: 514 metres above sea level
Period of construction: 1876
Official opening: 1877 spa season
Total height: Approx. 15 metres
Height of lookout platforms: Approx. 9 and15 metres
Number of stairs: 80
Accessibility: Freely accessible
How to get there
Route 1: You may reach the lookout tower by a 1.2 kilometre long and rather challenging route that leads along the yellow-marked tourist path from Poštovní dvůr (Postal Court).
Route 2: If you decide for the second route, take the funicular to the Diana Observation Tower to the Jelení skok (Deer Jump) intermediate station. From there, it is only a 770-metre long pleasant walk up the yellow-marked tourist path from the other side to the crossroads by the Ecce Homo Chapel.
History of the structure
The oldest standing lookout tower in Karlovy Vary was erected on a popular observation point in the spa woods above the town in 1876. The Pseudo-Gothic brick lookout tower resembling a minaret with two lookout galleries was built as a copy of a lookout tower standing in Schleswig in northern Germany. The lookout tower was named after Emperor Franz Joseph and it was opened to the public in the spa season of 1877.
The lookout tower also served as an arbour and after its opening, it soon became very popular among the spa guests. Fireworks were fired from the first lookout gallery at various festive occasions. Following World War I, the lookout tower was renamed to Josef's Lookout and it has been known as the Lookout of Charles IV since the end of World War II. In 2001, the unique historical structure underwent an extensive reconstruction.