Železná hůrka National Nature Monument

Železná hůrka (Iron Hill) NNM was declared in 1961 on an area of 3.50ha and lies at elevations of 570-590 metres above sea level. The monument can be found close to the village of Mýtina, in the Karlovarský kraj - Karlovy Vary Region on the north-western border of the Český les PLA and very close to the border with Germany. The reserve exists to protect a former quarry which exposes a part of the youngest known volcano on the territory of the Czech Republic. The locality was discovered by the German poet J.W.Goethe in 1823.
 
The youngest volcano in the Czech Republic is a remnant of volcanic activity in the Pleistocene (519 000 years ago). Research has shown that the volcano’s structure is the result of at least two eruptions – of the Stromboli type and of the Hawaiian type. The geological profile of the volcano can be seen clearly on the wall of the small quarry in the central part of the protected area. Here we can see the individual layers of volcanic ash – tuffa, with fragments of olivinite-sodalite menilite rocks.
 
The variety of plant species which grow on the exposed lava is greatly influenced by the surrounding agricultural lands. The tree layer is predominantly formed of common tree species such as the Norway maple (Acer platanoides) and silver birch (Betula pendula). In the herb layer we can find spring cinquefoil (Potentilla tabernaemontani), the strictly protected box-leaved milkwort (Polygaloides chamaebuxus) and the medicinal herb: cowslip (Primula verus).
 
Common animal species which also live on the surrounding farmlands can also be found here. The reptile populations in the monument are of special interest: the sand lizard (Lacerta agilis), viviparous lizard (Zootopa vivipara) and our only poisonous snake – the adder (Vipera berus) can all be found here.