Kozákov National Nature Monument

The Kozákov (Mountain) NNM was declared in 1985 on an area of 162.83ha at elevations between 370 and 730 metres above sea level and now lies within the Český ráj – Bohemian Paradise Protected Landscape Area. The monument does not include the whole of Kozákov Mountain, but only the south-western slopes between the villages of Vesec, Prackov, Loktuše and Kozákov, but does not cover the mountain‘s summit.
 
The protected area is primarily a geological and mineralogical locality with remnants of natural forest stands and herb-rich pastures. The summit of Mt. Kozákov (744m) is the highest point in the Český ráj – Bohemian Paradise and offers visitors attractive views over the Bohemian Paradise, České středohoří – Bohemian Middle Mountains, as well as the Krkonoše and Jizerské hory mountain ranges. Other attractive vantage points in the Bohemian Paradise include the summit of Tábor, Trosky, Mužský, Kopanina and Vyskeř. Kozákov is the mountain which “guards” the Bohemian Paradise region and is remarkable for its biotic and abiotic nature as well as for recreational, sporting and historical reasons. Kozákov, with its origins as a repeatedly active volcano, forms a part of the dominant and imposing Ještěd – Kozákov Ridge formation.
 
The basic building material of the mountain is melaphyre (a Permian igneous rock) from the Palaeozoic, which is exposed at the Votrubcův lom Quarry, within which precious silica varieties such as agate, jasper, chalcedony, amethyst and others can be found in seams and clusters. Various types of lava blanket flows can be seen in the wall of the quarry. The eastern part of Kozákov and the summit are built of basalt with amygdales of olivine. The western slopes are enriched by tilted sandstone blocks which lie along the Lusation Fault (especially in the Měsíční údolí – Moon Valley) with pseudokarst caves and rock niches and an archaeological site at Babí pec. These are the highest-lying sandstones in the Bohemian Paradise region at 667 metres above sea level.
 
The forest stands on Kozákov vary widely in their composition. Spruce monocultures cover the largest area but considerable areas are also covered with the remnants of natural forest types with Scots pine. The forest mosaic also includes smaller areas of deciduous forest with beech, pendunculate oak, large-leaved lime and ash. Herbs which grow in the undergrowth include mezereon (Daphne mezereum), spring pea (Lathyrus vernus) and oxlip (Primula elatior). Xerophilous and thermophilous herbs such as maiden pink (Dianthus deltoides) and large thyme (Thymus pulegioides) can also be found at drier localities on the mountain slopes.
 
The rocky cliffs provide nesting sites for typical bird species of the Bohemian Paradise: kestrel (Falco tinninculus), raven (Corvus corax), eagle owl (Bubo bubo) and the redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus). In the forest we may observe and hear the goldcrest (Regulus regulus), nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes), crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) and others. A traditional and much studied bird migration route passes close to the protected area and migrating chaffinches, bramblings, thrushes, larks, pipits, geese and others can be seen in spring and autumn.