Doupňák National Nature Monument

The Doupňák NNM covers an area of 12ha and was declared in 1983. The monument covers the summit and upper slopes of Holubí vrch Hill near the town of Klášterec nad Ohří in the west of the Ústecký kraj – Ústí nad Labem Region and on the slopes of the Krušné hory Mountains. The subject of the protection is the mineralogical localities where amethysts and jasper were mined in Medieval times – the same precious stones which were used in the decorative panels at Prague Castle and Karlštejn Castle in the 14th century.
 
The geological basement is built of rocks of the Krušné hory crystaline complex, which are represented by fine-grained to medium-grained muscovite and two-mica orthogneiss. These rocks are estimated to be of Upper Proterozoic to Lower Paleozoic age. The gneiss contains a hydrothermal quartz seam, which does not emerge on the surface here. Quartz fragments, especially of striking “brick-red” and “meat-red” hematite quartz (jasper) can still be found among the piles of gneiss boulders on the forested slopes. These boulder piles provide evidence of agricultural usage of the land from the 14th to the 18th century, when boulders were removed from the fields that existed here and left on these slopes.
 
The thick quartz seams with precious stones in the muscovite and two-mica orthogneiss were found in the 14th century and these precious quartz varieties were intensively mined in the 14th and 16th centuries and at the beginning of the 19th century. Evidence of this mining, such as spoil heaps and quarry pits can still be seen here today. The quartz and jasper which was mined here was used to decorate Karlštejn Castle, St. Wenceslas Chapel at Prague Castle and Tangermünde Castle near Magdeburg in Germany.
 
This mineralogical locality was re-discovered in the 1980s. The following archaeological research, which took several years, proved that these precious quartz varieties are the same as the ones used to decorate such important historical monuments.
 
The national nature monument is covered with non-native mixed forest stands with predominant Norway spruce (Picea abies), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), European larch (Larix decidua) and silver birch (Betula pendula), with scattered oaks (Quercus sp.). The undergrowth in these non-native forests is rather poor and does not include any specially protected species. Nevertheless we can find an abundance of wavy hair-grass (Avenella flexuosa), various kinds of hawkweeds (Hieracium sp.), cranberry shrubs (Vaccinium oxycoccus) and the harebell (Campanula rotundifolia) growing here.
 
The animal populations at the monument also contain mostly common mountain woodland species. Specially protected species which can be found on the forest fringes include the barred warbler (Silvia nisoria) and slowworm (Anguis fragilis). The occurrence of the goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) and the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) have also been recorded.
 
Doupňák NNM is one of the most important specially protected areas in north-western Bohemia from a mineralogical viewpoint. Doupňák and the nearby Ciboušov NNM represent mineralogical and archaeological localities of Europe-wide significance, due to the abundance of precious quartz varieties which can be found here.
 
Unfortunately, the whole protected area continues to be devastated by mineral collectors, who do permanent damage to this notable locality.