Červený kopec National Nature Monument

The Červený kopec (Red Hill) NNM lies in the former Kohn brickworks in the parish of Štýřice in the south-western suburbs of the city of Brno. The monument was designated in 1970 and covers an area of 0.55 hectares.

The protected area consists of a unique Quaternary profile of international significance with loess and buried soils. This profile is of such importance because it displays undisturbed loess sedimentation and soil formation from the period around 2 million years ago. The loess drifts, which were deposited in the cold periods of the Ice Ages on the riverine terrace of the Svratka river, are separated by the buried soils which were formed in the warmer periods of the Quaternary Age. Many paleozoological, paleobotanic and malakozoological finds have been made here. The uppermost loess layers also proved evidence of the presence of humans here in the Old Stone Age. Two stone cutting tools were also found here and document the presence of humans here in the Old Stone Age. Two stone cutting tools were also found here and document the presence of humanoids 800,000 – 900,000 years ago. Evidence of a stone-working industry from the beginning of the Late Paleothic (40,000 years ago) was found when the nearby concrete panel factory was built.

The basement is built of rocks of the Brno Massif – predominantly granodiorites and diorites. These are overlain by Devonian conglomerates and sandstones, which are covered by Neogene sediments – sands and calcareous clays. The Quaternary sediment complex lies above this and consists of thirteen soil complexes which enable us to observe the Quaternary developments in one place and in the same sedimentary conditions.

A large quantity of palaeontological remains of vertebrates can be found in the soil complex, including beavers, badgers, bears, European buffalo (Bos primigenius), deer etc. A great many shells of pleistocene molluscs have also been preserved in the calcareous sediments. A total of 8 soil complexes lying on top of each other have been distinguished on the basis of studies into these molluscs.

The current vegetation at the locality is influenced by the extraction of sand and gravel, dumping of waste and the advances of opportunist trees and shrubs. The result is that the territory is mostly covered with ruderal vegetation. The most abundant shrubs are dogwood (Cornus sanguinea), dogrose (Rosa canina) and spindle tree (Euonymus europaeus). After repeated management interventions we can observe the development of herb and grassland growths of a near-natural character with the melic grass (Melica transsilvanica), the fennel Peucedanum alsaticum, asparagus (Asparagus officinalis), sickle hare’s-ear (Bupleurum falcatum), cream pincushions (Scabiosa ochroleuca), marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), the spurge Euphorbia epythynoides and the madwort Alyssum montanum. The secondary occurrence of the eastern sea kale (Crambe tataria) at the locality attracted much attention in the year 2000.

Birds which nest in the surroundings of the protected area include the grey partridge (Perdix perdix), red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio) and stonechat (Saxicola turquata). Research into the butterflies at the monument has confirmed the presence of significant species such as the burnet Zygaena purpuralis, mallow skipper (Carcharodus alceae), white admiral (Limenitis camilla), the Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina) and the woodland graying (Hipparchia fagi).