The Central Bohemian Uplands and Žatecko
It is a region of deep valleys and rocky ascents. An area of vast fruit orchards and enigmatic castles – this is the region of the Central Bohemian Uplands (České středohoří). From time immemorial this part of the Czech Republic has attracted artists and romantics. The centre of the region is the royal town of Litoměřice, along which the lower stretch of the Labe flows. On the right bank of the river you’ll see a massif of the Central Bohemian Uplands. Higher average temperatures and greater precipitation make the region one of the richest in a wide variety of flora and fauna in the Czech Republic. Its picturesque nooks, bountiful countryside and innumerable tourist attractions have made the area a popular destination among tourists and campers.
The Bohemian Central Mountains rise up from the Labe Lowlands. Volcanic activity played a role in their origins and thanks to this the district gained its characteristic clusters of basalt hills, pointed peaks, and romantic valleys. The highest point of the mountain range is Milešovka (837 m), which is also the windiest Bohemian mountain. The altitudinal segmentation along the mountain chain ranges from 200 to 600 metres.
The diverse panorama of the region opens up to the deep valley of the Labe River, formed by the Great and Small Žernoseky. In the past, the Labe itself cut a path through a volcanic wall and formed a rocky pass known as the Porta Bohemica – the Bohemian Gate. In 1976, the territory of the Bohemian Central Mountains was declared a protected landscape area.
The region of the noble Central Mountains is the Czech Republic’s least forested protected territory. Up to 60% of the region’s surface area comprises agricultural soil. Therefore, it is no wonder that Litoměřicko and Žatecko are renowned Czech agrarian centres; climatic conditions conducive to agriculture contribute further to this reputation. Every year the popular Bohemian Garden (Zahrada Čech) gardening trade fair takes place in Litoměřice. The district around the village of Velké Žernoseky is also famous for its superb wine. The history of winemaking in this region dates all the way back to the 10th century, when Cistercian Monks founded the area’s first vineyard. In the 13th century, extensive wine cellars were built here, and to this day they are used to store wine as it matures in traditional oak barrels. Visitors may visit unique wine cellars and sample excellent vintages here.
Few Bohemian regions enjoy as much tourism as the Bohemian Central Mountains. This is owing to relatively easy access to the area for residents of the capital city of Prague. A network of clearly marked trails offers pleasant strolls, as well as challenging treks, to every corner of this picturesque district. The town of Litoměřice, out of which most trails run, is an ideal starting point. Among the more attractive routes to take are the paths that run from Litoměřice to Hazmburk Castle, Milešovka Hill, the lookout tower at Lovoš, and the castle in Budyně nad Ohří. There are other interesting trails that run from Žatec, Roudnice nad Labem and Lovosice. If you would like to get a deeper insight into the region, then consider a stroll along any educational nature trail. Among the most interesting are those that run from the Lovoš (starting point: Small Žernoseky) and Boreč Peak (starting point: Režný Újezd) reserves. Both trails have a series of information panels.
The region of the Bohemian Central Mountains and Žatecko is a popular destination among cycling enthusiasts, especially because of the enchanting countryside and several well-marked paths. If you want to indulge in a longer trip, you may find the 105 km-long trail that runs from Kralupy nad Vltavou, through Mělník and Litoměřice, and ends in Ústí nad Labem of interest. Numerous trails run out of the towns of Litoměřice, Žatec and Roudnice nad Labem. One of the more popular bike paths runs from Litoměřice to the Terezín memorial. Considering the high number of bike paths, it is a good idea to invest in up-to-date maps that indicate the routes.
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