Správa CHKO Blanský les >> Landscape attribute

Landscape attribute

Blanský les Protected Landscape Area (PLA) was established in 1990 and covers an area of 212 km². The area is a mostly forested upland and range of hills in the shape of a horseshoe, open towards the south–east. A core feature of the territory is the Křemžský potok stream, flowing through a wide basin and entering the Vltava river, which forms the PLA’s south–eastern border. The lowest elevation is 420 m in the Vltava canyon near Cába and the highest elevation of 1083 m is the summit of Mt. Kleť.

This is an extraordinarily well-preserved landscape, set in the wider foothills of the Šumava mountain range with a natural environment only slightly disturbed by the adverse impact of human activity. The entire PLA has great natural values, due to the variety of geological bedrock in the area and Blanský les also being positioned in the rain shadow of the Šumava range. This ensures that the area has a relatively low level of precipitation, but is also warmer and less windy than might be expected. These geological and climatic factors support the occurrence of many typical ‘southern’ species in the area. Over half of the PLA is covered with forest communities, the structure and species composition of which are close to their natural state. On areas with serpentinite or crystalline limestone bedrock, the forest and non-forest vegetation is very valuable. The vegetation communities found on remnants of fenland meadows and around springs are also significant. Among the fauna of Blanský les, we can find a large number of rare and endangered species and the insect and mollusc species as found on most limestone areas are especially valuable. The presence of Species of Community Interest and Sites of Community Importance has led to the inclusion of almost all of Blanský les PLA, along with the Vltava canyon between Český Krumlov and Boršov nad Vltavou, in the national list of sites of Natura 2000.

As well as its natural beauties, Blanský les is also rich in historical monuments and folk architecture. Evidence of human settlement has been found from the Old Stone Age as well as the Bronze Age and the Halstadt period. However the most significant evidence is represented by the Celtic oppidum or fort near Třísov. Medieval colonisation in the territory was initiated in the mid 13th century by the Zlatá Koruna Monastery. After the Hussite Wars the great majority of the area was controlled by the Rožmberk noble family and the last owners were the Schwarzenbergs. These two noble families left their mark on the culture and economic usage of the territory. The ruins of the gothic Dívčí Kámen castle, the Celtic Oppidum near Třísov, the Zlatá Koruna Cistercian Monastery, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and Village Historical Zone of Holašovice and the historic centre of Český Krumlov (also on the UNESCO list) are all worth visiting.

Landscape character

The cultural landscape character is formed by the rural settlement pattern and by the agricultural and forestry use of the landscape. In the central, northern and eastern parts of Blanský les, the settlements are mostly villages with populations of less than 200 inhabitants such as Holašovice, Chmelná and Slavče. These villages have retained much of their traditional structures and character. Typical are cottages around a village green (round or elongated), which are usually single-storeyed, walled farmers cottages with the end gable facing the green. We can also find examples of the south Bohemian Baroque style. In the south and west section of Blanský les, which were settled from the 17th century, mostly by German inhabitants, we can find settlements spread out without a central green e.g. České Chalupy, Rychtářov or Janské Údolí. Here the two-storeyed, Sudeten stone house with a hipped roof is typical. Isolated farms, which complement the landscape character, were mostly founded at the beginning of the 19th century and their density depended on the size of the farmland properties which they farmed.

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