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The most valuable area of the region especially comprises the Bohemian Switzerland National Park, the Elbe Sandstones Natural Preserve, a part of the Lusatian Mountains Natural Preserve and the whole of the Šluknov Hook. And this is where the dominant feature and the jewel of the whole area, region and even of the whole country and Europe is situated - the Pravčice Gate. This unique sandstone formation is the largest one of its kind in Europe and can compare to many others in the world. Bohemian Switzerland also comprises Hřensko, which is a popular tourist destination and where you can visit canyons on the Kamenice River. the lowest point of the Czech Republic (115 metres above sea level) is in Hřensko at the place where the Elbe leaves Bohemia. Also Word mentioning is Jetřichovice with its well-known trio of rocks - the Vilemína Wall, Maria Rock and Raven Rock, further the Kyjov Valley along the Křinice River, which you can literally crisscross, and a natural monument called the Tisá Walls, which is situated in the Elbe Sandstones Natural Preserve and which can boast of a rock town that you can walk through on ground level and along the rock peaks, too. Besides the rocks, which make it one of the most popular and most significant places of the Czech Republic, Bohemian Switzerland also offers a golf course in Janov and a number of hiking routes and cycling paths. For more information visit www.ceskesvycarsko.cz.
Czech Central Highlands
The Czech Central Mountains (České středohoří) comprises an area around three times bigger than Bohemian Switzerland (České Švýcarsko). It encompasses the protected landscape area of the same name with dominant towns such as Litoměřice, Roudnice nad Labem, Terezín, and Ústí nad Labem in part. It also covers a small part of the Kokořínsko landscape protected area. the famous German traveller Alexander von Humboldt rated the beauties of nature of the Czech Central Mountains highly and declared the view from Milešovka Mountain (the most windy place in Bohemia) as one of the most beautiful views in the world! You can admire the unique scenery along the Elbe River flowing into the Czech Central Mountains, Porta Bohemica, in any season of the year. the river cut into its surrounding undulating landscape creating magnificent views is a rarity of which not everyone can boast. Such views have been depicted in paintings of many significant painters, for example Ernst Gustav Doerell, and attract many current artists and photographers, for example Pavel Bergr, who was actually born in Střekov Castle in Ústí nad Labem. Apart from admiring scenic beauties, you can possibly pay a visit to a romantic excursion castle named Větruše, offering a marvelous view of the Down and hilly landscape. You will find more information here: www.ceskestredohori.info.
The most mountainous part of the region is a continuous belt, which is a part of the whole border mountain range of North-West Bohemia. You can find the highest-situated place on Klínovec, but its peak (1,244 metres above sea level) is located in the neighbouring Region of Karlovy Vary. Therefore the highest peak is usually said to be Macecha (1,113 metres above sea level) in the District of Chomutov. the Ore Mountains offer a number of possible ways of spending your free time. They are intersected with hundreds of kilometres of both hiking and cycling trails; in winter you can enjoy the White Track of the Ore Mountains, which is called the Queen of Running Tracks, there are also many ski resorts for down-hill skiing and snowboarding offering comprehensive services. the Ore Mountains got their name from the word “krušit” (it is Krušné Hory in Czech), which was connected with mining and ore treatment. Thus the Czech name of the mountains does not refer to harsh, sad, difficult or miserable mountains, which is what that Czech word usually means. You can convince yourself of this fact by making a trip to Krupka, where, besides visiting the St. Martin Gallery, you can take the longest chairlift in Bohemia and go up Komáří Vížka, or while visiting the Ore Mountains Zoo in Chomutov and the Zoo in Děčín and Ústí nad Labem. There are several interesting facilities waiting for you in Most: a motor racing circuit, a hippodrome and an aquadrome. Those who are keen on golf should certainly visit the golf courses in Teplice, Dubí, Most or Libouchec. Another phenomenon of the Ore Mountains is the spa industry, which has long tradition here. Besides Teplice, which is well-known all over Europe, we should also mention Mšené-lázně, Dubí and Bílina, which is popular for its acidulous mineral water.
The lower course of the Ohře River is a really unique location of the region. Three beautiful royal towns are located at the river next to one another: Kadaň, Žatec, and Louny. Apart from the Ohře, another common feature of the entire area is hops, which have been grown there for almost a thousand years. Kadaň is a historical town reserve with a very nice historical centre, and it can boast a castle, Franciscan Monastery, the Way of the Cross, tower of the historical Town Hall in the main square (Mírové náměstí), Feast of the Cross Church (kostel Povýšení sv. Kříže), or barbican (outpost) of the Žatecká Gate (Žatecká brána) from 1458. the narrowest street in Bohemia is located in its square, the so-called Executioner’s Lane (Katova ulička), which is 66.1cm wide in the narrowest point. Žatec is also a historical town reserve, and it is a place where over 100 Czech and foreign movies were shot. the rich hops history of the town has been reflected in a unique tourist attraction, which is the Hop and Beer Temple (Chrám Chmele a Piva) (www.chchp.cz), an entertaining and informative centre devoted to hops and beer. Louny, a pearl on the Ohře River, offers some interesting sights, such as a museum with a permanent exhibition of the Hussite history, and thematic exhibitions which are regularly changed. the town’s dominant feature is St. Nicholas’s Church (chrám sv. Mikuláše), built in the Gothic style. We should also mention the Žatecká Gate (Žatecká brána) from 1500, or the Benedikt Rejt Gallery (Galerie Benedikta Rejta). Březno u Loun is an interesting place. There is an outdoor museum with reconstructed prehistoric and early medieval buildings. In contrast to other outdoor museums in Europe, the buildings are constructed approximately in the layouts that were discovered during the archeological research of the location.
Garant sections: Michaela Tobiasova