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Historical monuments, nature


Elbe Sandstone

photo:  (sxc.hu)

Valleys, ravines and canyons, surrounded by rock columns that partly create rock towns, are the main formations of this landscape.


Location: the Ústí nad Labem region.

The Elbe Sandstone protected landscape area neighbors the protected landscape areas of the Lusatian Mountains and the Bohemian Middle Mountains. This concerns a territory with relatively large differences in height above sea level in regard to its area. This area includes beautiful rock towns that were created in the Cenozoic era. Several endemic species also share in the importance of this region. Part of this area is included in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park.

The rock massifs of the Elbe Sandstone were created approximately 100 million years ago in the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic. Much of this territory was covered with a shallow sea. Deposits of clay and sand were created from the surrounding landmass. These settled on the seabed and later hardened. Through this, a plate was created that was up to 1 kilometer wide. At the end of the Cretaceous period, the seabed rose and the water retreated. Later, volcanic activity broke up the powerful sandstone plate into a system of faults. Millions of years afterward, the appearance of the landscape was modeled by various erosive forces. Some of the basic shapes in the territory are valleys shaped like gorges and canyons, surrounded by towers and massifs with rock cities in places.
The Elbe Canyon between Děčín and Hřensko represents a unique natural formation. Some of the important tributaries are the Kamenice Stream and gorge through which visitors can take a boat ride, and Křinice.

The variety of forms in the territory allows for the existence of a wide range of animals in a relatively small area. There is a lot of game here, especially deer, roe deer and wild pigs. Foxes and pine martins are also common here. Shrews and dormice are the characteristic inhabitants of the rocks. The lynx can also be found here, an original inhabitant of the Czech forests although very rare nowadays. The kingfisher, gray wagtail and water ouzel live by the streams. From among the seven types of owl, one can find stock, pygmy and screech owls here. Two to three pairs of black storks have nested here and other bird species have found a haven in the rocks.

Many settlements and residences were established, the most important routes at that time protected by rock castles. From as far back as the 18th century, the Elbe Sandstone area has been an attractive tourist destination as well as a destination for climbers and nature lovers.

The protected landscape area offers visitors a large number trails for walking and cycling. Thanks to the sandstone rocks, the conditions for climbing training are ideal here.

Area: 324 km²
Height above sea level: 115 meters (Elbe by Hřensko)
723 meters (Děčínský Sněžník)



Added: 18.12.2009

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