Hrensko – Sandrocks
Labske piskovce are called Bohamiosaxon Switzerland. This was the name by which the Swiss artists Adrian Zinng and Anton Graff baptized the region which had enchanted them so much. These two Swiss countrymen were invited by the Saxon elector to carry out some work at the Dresden Gallery. The desire for inspiration and the discovery of new regions led them to this rugged area which enthralled them to such an extent that they did not hesitate to compare it to their homeland. This comparison fell on fertile soil and the name Ceskosaske Svycarsko (Bohemiosaxon Switzerland) quickly caught on.
In 1972 the Labske piskovce region was declared a protected land reserve in liaison with the preserve of Sachsische Schweiz in Germany (part of which is now a national park). It lies in the sandstone highlands of Decinská vrchovina, to which belong Decinské steny, Ruzovska vrchovina and Jetrichovicke steny, and in the north partially encroaches into the granite highlands of Sluknovska vrchovina.
The multiformity of the small scenic areas and great turnarounds in temperature determine the variety of vegetation. On the table mountains and rocks it is the pine forest and thermophile plant communities that fare well. On the basalt it is the beech woods and in them the nine-leafed and bulbiferous toothwort, the hollow corydalis, the poisonous daphne or the woodruff. The coolness of the defiles favours the spruce, which otherwise is suited to mountain areas, where the so-called gorge forest grows composed of ashtrees, elmtrees and sycamores. The gorges and faces of damp rocks are grown over with rare marsh heather, a number of species of moss and liverwort. The oak, beech, birch and pinetrees grow in sunny spots. The sparsity of settled locations and the deep forests also provide the opportunity of preserving many threatened types of animals. Labske piskovce is the only place in Bohemia where the rare snout beetle occurs; a completely new species of ant and fly have been described here. Seven species of owl nest here, as well as the black stork and recently the peregrin falcon. The river kingfisher and water ouzel reside by the flowing waters.
The region of Labske piskovce has importance over the whole of Europe in its preservation of fifteen species of bat and the critically threatened garden doormouse. The river otter hunts in the rivers and streams, the European beaver has returned to the Labe, and a small population of lynxes, long-considered extinct, also lives here.