Rock Formations Čertova stěna and Luč

A protected area which is in the category of the highest possible level of protection - National Preservation. It consists of two parts - Čertova stěna (Devil's wall) was declared a Protected Area in 1956, with an area of 10 ha, Luč in 1933 with an area of 95 ha. Both these Protected Areas were combined by the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic according to Law no. 395/1992, and were re-categorised as National Preservation.

Čertova stěna, upper view, foto: Andreas Buchner
Created with the financial support of the Phare and the firm Ipix.

The Preserved Area lies on both sides of the Vltava River, on the steep rocky slopes of the river valley. The reservation also contains a part of the river with boulders on its bed with characteristic erosive creations ("giant's pots"). Vast areas of the slopes are covered with scree of periglacial origin. At the peaks of Čertova stěna and Luč there are massive rock formations (frost caves, rock walls, and isolated rocks - torres). The best known rock formation is the peak rock wall of Čertova stěna with a large stone sea above the right-hand side shore of the river Vltava. The geological base of a major part of the area is granite or adamellite.

National reservation Čertova stěna and Luč, foto: Václav Dolanský

The rock screes have different degrees of soil coverage, so therefore the vegetation growing on them is quite varied. The most important type of vegetation is the old-growth forest and birch wood on screes partly covered with soil. Mainly there are deformed pines (Pinus sylvestris) and birches (Betula pendula, Betula carpatica) with a poor undergrowth of acidophile species (heather, blueberries, cranberries) and characteristic species of moss and lichen.

Čertova stěna and Luč, National Preservation

The rocky screes with no soil covering them (stone seas) on Čertova stěna and on the southeast slope of Luč have no trees or flowers growing on them, only special species of mosses and lichens which have adapted to this hostile environment.

Devil´s streams are mostly without water, foto: Václav Dolanský

On places with a deeper soil profile there are the remains of mixed forests with beeches and firs (flowering beech forests and slope fir forests), but in most of the area they have been replaced by monoculture spruce forests.

In the reservation also grows the heath Erica herbacea, a characteristic species of the forests in areas with an oceanic type of climate. Botanically important and ecologically interesting is the appearance of the winter oak tree in the rocky forests at a height of over 800 m above sea level at the south-east ridge of Luč, and bog bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum), which grows at the foot of Čertova stěna.

A very rare feature are the relic colonies of invertebrate animals of the epigeion (the surface level of the soil) and screes. The most important species connected with mezzo and microclimatically specific places on the screes are of the beetle and spider type.

Heath Erica herbacea, foto: Václav Dolanský

Vertebrate animals are represented by 14 species of mammals, 43 species of birds, 2 species of amphibians, and 3 species of reptiles. A majority of these demand no special living conditions, typical for the existing fir forests. Exceptions are several species of birds and reptiles which prefer open areas of scree (redstart - Phoenicurus phoenicurus, black redstart - Phoenicurus ochruros, viviparous lizard - Lacerta vivipara, smooth snake - Coronella austriaca). Other important bird species are the woodpigeon (Columba palumbus), and black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius).

Čertova stěna and Luč, National Preservation Čertova stěna and Luč, National Preservation

The reservation is accessible to visitors from the car park on the road from Loučovice to Vyšší Brod. A path leads from there up to the peak of the rock wall of Čertova stěna. Further progress into the stone sea is forbidden for reasons of nature protection and personal safety. In addition to that there are two public footpaths leading through the protected area.

Čertova stěna and Luč, National Preservation

Legends :
The Devil disagreed with the construction of the monastery in Vyšší Brod. He wanted to create a dike in the valley which would hold the water and flood the monastery. He threw large boulders into the river Vltava. The work had to be finished before the cock crowed three times. The Devil was unsuccessful; after the third crow of the black cock, his power evaporated. The bell at the monastery rang and the Devil had to let go of the stone he was holding. You can still see the imprint of his hand on it.

Čertova stěna and Luč, National Preservation

The large stone above the river is called the Devil's pulpit, and the steep rock under it full of stones, Čertova stěna (Devil's wall). This rock used to be called Strašidelník (Ghost). According to legend it used to be a sacred place where the old Slavs worshipped the god of good, Svatoroh. Christians used this legend to create a new one, where evil was presented by the Devil, and good by the monastery in Vyšší Brod.

Further information :
Description of Natural Conditions in the Český Krumlov Region
The Devil's rock face, attempts to navigate through Devil's torrents
Water Slalom of Loučovice called Čertovy Proudy (Devil´s Streams)


© Sdružení Oficiálního informačního systému Český Krumlov, 2000
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