Český ráj Protected Landscape Area

Basic information

Český ráj Protected Landscape Area (The Bohemian Paradise) was the first large-scale Specially Protected Area in the Czech Republic, having been established on 1st March, 1955 on an area of 92.53 km² in the central part of the Český ráj territory.

Český ráj PLA covers a territory with a harmonically formed landscape, with an extremely rugged terrain and sandstone castellated rock complexes.

The georelief is modelled from block sandstones, which are interrupted by formations of neo-volcanic origin, and also separated by the valleys of rivers and streams. Human settlement since Neolithic times and near-natural land use has produced a landscape with a varied mosaic of natural forest and wetland ecosystems and permanent grassland growths. A large number of historical monuments and archaeological sites have also been preserved here.

The establishment of Český ráj PLA brought the definition of Protected Landscape Area into our modern legislation as the Act No. 40/1956 was to form the basis for the subsequent establishment of the whole network of large-scale Specially Protected Areas in the Czech Republic.

After nearly 50 years, Český ráj PLA was expanded in 2002 to cover the areas of Kozákov, Maloskalsko, Komárovský rybník pond and its surroundings and the Prachovské skály castellated rocks and the PLA now covers an area of 181.5 km².

Within the Natura 2000 system of protected areas, the most valuable territories of Příhrazské skály, Drhlen, Údolí Plakánku, Podtrosecká údolí, Průlom and Jizera u Rakous were designated as proposed Sites of Community Importance to protect 3 plant and 5 animal species. The geological value of Český ráj was recognised on 5th October, 2005 when the area was accepted into the UNESCO European Network of Geoparks due to the fact that the most valuable parts of the Geopark lie on the Český ráj PLA territory.