Venušiny misky National Nature Monument

The summit of Smolný hill (404m) with a promontory of granite rocks known as “Venušiny misky – Venus‘s Bowls” lies 2km south-east of the village of Kobylá nad Vidnávkou in the north of the Olomoucký kraj - Olomouc Region. The protected area lies within the Bažantnice contiguous forest unit and has been protected since 1970, covering an area of 3.9 hectares.
 
Smolný hill is a so-called island mountain or dome-shaped exfoliation dome (bornhardt) which was formed in the tropical climate of the Tertiary period. The rocks, which are built of granite of the Granite Pluton were exposed at the time of the last continental glaciation but they display no evidence of glacial modelling. This is because the summit of Smolný hill rose above the surface of the Pleistocene ice sheet as a “nunatak”.
 
Weathering and denudation of the granite modelled the rock formations into remarkable shapes during the late Pleistocene and Holocene periods and some of these land forms are still developing today. Their formation was probably linked to the erosive effects of precipitation and its chemical effects, as well as the qualities of the granite (spherical jointing). On the rocks we can observe exfoliation forms such as rock basins, rock niches, rock saddles and tortoiseshell rocks up to several in size.
 
Mixed forest with a predominance of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and beech (Fagus sylvatica) grows around the rocks and on the summit of Smolný hill. The core of the protected area is covered with a fragment of relict acidophilous pinewood of the Dicrano-Pinion alliance. Dwarf forms of the tree species are common on the rocky areas. The hilltop of Smolný with its shallow sandy soil has stands of acidic beechwood with an admix of sessile oak (Quercus petraea) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) of the Luzulo-Fagetum association, whereas the forest on the north-western slopes belongs to the herb-rich beechwoods of the Eu-Fagion sub-alliance, with a spectacular undergrowth in the spring, especially due to the fragrant carpet of ramsons (Allium ursinum) which grows here. Typical bird species which can be observed in the monument include the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis), chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) and great spotted woodpecker (Denrocopos major).
 
The presence of the ground beetle Cychrus attenuatus indicates that the forest is of a near natural character.