Blanský les Protected Landscape Area

Basic information

The Blanský les Protected Landscape Area (PLA) was established in 1990 and covers an area of 212 km2 in the Jihočeský kraj – South Bohemian Region. The area is a mostly forested upland and range of hills in the shape of a horseshoe, opening towards the south–east. A core feature of the territory is the Křemežský potok stream, flowing through a wide basin and entering the Vltava river, which forms the PLA’s south–eastern border. The lowest elevation is 420 m in the Vltava canyon near Cába and the highest elevation of 1083 m is the summit of Mt. Kleť.

This is an extraordinarily well-preserved landscape, set in the wider foothills of the Šumava mountain range with a natural environment only slightly disturbed by the adverse impact of human activity. The entire PLA has great natural values, due to the variety of geological bedrock in the area and also because the Blanský les area lies in the rain shadow of the Šumava Mountain range. This ensures that the area has a relatively low level of precipitation, but is also warmer and less windy than might be expected. These geological and climatic factors support the occurrence of many typical ‘southern’ species in the area. Over half of the PLA is covered with forest communities, the structure and species composition of which are close to their natural state. On areas with serpentinite or crystalline limestone bedrock, the forest and non-forest vegetation is very valuable. The vegetation communities found on remnants of fenland meadows and around springs are also significant. Among the fauna of Blanský les, we can find a large number of rare and endangered species and the insect and mollusc species which are found on most limestone areas are especially valuable. The presence of Species of Community Interest and Sites of Community Importance has led to the inclusion of almost all of Blanský les PLA, along with the Vltava canyon between Český Krumlov and Boršov nad Vltavou, in the national list of sites of Natura 2000.

As well as its natural beauties, Blanský les is also rich in historical monuments and folk architecture. Evidence of human settlement has been found from the Old Stone Age as well as the Bronze Age and the Halstadt period. However the most significant evidence is represented by the Celtic oppidum or fort near Třísov. Medieval colonisation in the territory was initiated in the mid 13th century by the Zlatá Koruna Monastery. After the Hussite Wars the great majority of the area was controlled by the Rožmberk noble family and the last owners were the Schwarzenbergs. These two noble families left their mark on the culture and economic usage of the territory. The ruins of the gothic Dívčí Kámen castle, the Celtic Oppidum near Třísov, the Zlatá Koruna Cistercian Monastery, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and Village Historical Zone of Holašovice and the historic centre of Český Krumlov (also on the UNESCO list) are all worth visiting.