České Švýcarsko National Park

Basic information 

České Švýcarsko National Park (sometimes known as Bohemian Switzerland) covers an area of 80 km² and lies in North Bohemia, in the county of Děčín, on the right bank of the Labe river, along the border with the German region of Sächsen (Saxony). The fourth and youngest national park in the Czech Republic was declared on 1st January, 2000. Previously its territory formed the most valuable area of Labské pískovce Protected Landscape Area, which has been established in 1972 on an original area of 324 km². The national park lies on the territories of 9 municipalities, the towns of Krásná Lípa (with Kyjov and Vlčí Hora) and Chřibská, as well as the villages of Hřensko (with Mezná), Janov, Růžová (with Kamenická stráň), Srbská Kamenice, Jetřichovice (with  Vysoká Lípa, Všemily and Rynartice), Doubice a Staré Křečany (with Brtníky and Kopec). The National Park Administration is located in the town of Krásná Lípa. With its extensive area of contiguous forests, a minimum of human settlement, České Švýcarsko NP together with the neighbouring Sächsische Schweiz NP form a unique area of sandstone landscape within the realms of Europe. The harmony of the landscape in both national parks is complemented by a wealth of monuments and folk architecture, of which a large number have survived in the surrounding towns and villages.

The mission of the national park is to maintain and enhance the natural environment, to preserve the unique geomorphological values, natural flora and fauna in the area, and to maintain the typical landscape appearance. The main subject of the protection is to conserve this representative example of the sandstone phenomenon in the Bohemian Cretaceous basin. This includes the characteristic block sandstone reliefs and the specific ecological conditions bound to them and ensuring biodiversity (variety of animal and plant species) in the area.

The whole of the České Švýcarsko NP is part of the České Švýcarsko proposed Site of Community Importance and also forms a part of the Labské pískovce SPA (Bird Area), within the European system of nature protection NATURA 2000. The Labské pískovce Bird Area SPA was declared by Government Decree and includes the neighbouring Labské pískovce PLA and a small part of Lužické hory PLA, as well as the Velký rybník and Světlík Nature Reserves near Krásná Lípa. The total area of the Labské pískovce Bird Area SPA is 35 570 ha and 140 species of nesting birds have been identified here. Subjects of protection are populations of peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), corncrake (Crex crex), European eagle owl (Bubo bubo) and black woodpecker (Dryocopos martius), including their biotopes. The České Švýcarsko proposed Site of Community Importance includes the whole of České Švýcarsko NP and the most valuable parts of Labské pískovce PLA and Lužické hory PLA. These areas were declared to protect 10 types of natural habitats and otter (Lutra lutra), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), Brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri) and Killarney fern (Trichomanes speciosum). Protected ecosystem types found here are as follows: lowland to mountain rivers and streams with Ranunculion fluitantis and  Callitricho-Batrachio vegetation associations, European dry heathlands, extensive haymeadows of lowland or submontane type – Arrenatherion, Brachypodio-Centaureion nemoralis associations, chasmophytic vegetation of siliceous cliffs and boulder scree caves without public access, beechwoods of the Luzulo-Fagetum association, beechwoods of the Asperulo-Fagetum association, ravine forests of the Tilio-Acerion type on the slopes, ledges, talus fields, Central European lichen Scots pine forests and acidophilous spruce forests of the Vaccinio-Piceetea association.