Geopark is a territory that includes geological phenomenon of special significance, representing its countryside and history. It also includes historical and cultural components. All these attributes can be successfully used for the development of sustainable forms of tourism and for sustainable development in the region in general. The purpose of a geopark is to support sustainable development in the region, to develop friendly tourism and to educate general public and professional community about values of the environment and to interpret geological heritage in an attractive way, e.g. through experiential trails.
Long-term stone-working tradition, specific landscape and distinctive morphological and geological character of the territory, presence of rare biotope, rocky sceneries and peatlands, inclusion of the town of Telč with its UNESCO monuments, these are all characteristic elements of the „The Vysočina Geopark“, thanks to which this area became the eighth National Geopark in the Czech Republic.
This is a territory of 204,86 square kilometers which is located in the area of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands with its highest peak Javořice (837 meters above sea level). The geopark is defined in parts of the administrative districts of municipalities Telč, Jihlava and Pelhřimov.
Among the most important of geolocalities include for example a boulder sea on the territory of the Holrní Nekolová natural sights , the Lukšovská natural landmark, the "Míchova skála" rock (which became symbol and logo of the Vysočina Geopark), rocks and a stone sea on the territory of the Mrhatina nature reserve, a stone sea and debris in the Roštejnská obora nature reserve, Štamberk and its stone sea, peatbogs Velký pařezitý rybník, Zhejral, Bažantka and Kaliště, active quarries Mrákotín, Vanov and Rácov, the Javořice mountain, the Studánka páně spring, a building of the former St. Catherine’s spa and many others.
A pond called “Velký pařezitý rybník”
Other important sites of the geopark are the municipality Praskolesy with numerous ponds and 800 year-old linden tree, the town of Batelov with its Jewish cemetery and Jewish homes and of course the town of Telč with its UNESCO monuments.
The square in Telč
Visitors should not miss the late Gothic Roštejn castle, which is located in the woods on a rocky hill near the village Doupě. An authentic Museum of Stonework in Mrákotín also worth a visit. Just around the village Mrákotín, several mines used to function there, including the biggest of them, from which comes the famous granite monolith that has now its place at the Prague Castle. The museum will teach you about the history of the production of the monolith and its transport to Prague. Another attraction is a reliable shelter under which stonemasons use to spend long hours by stone working. There is also boots for stonemasons, a dusty hat or a calendar with pictures of girls and women that stonemasons used to have in the walls.
The Roštejn Castle
For nature lovers who are not afraid of innovative technologies the trails with bee-tags were created. Between the Roštejn Castle and the Javořice mountain are nine stops where visitors can learn interesting information about the place by using miniature information boards, their smartphones and Internet connection. Besides these trails with bee-tags, there are many other hiking and biking trails.
Roštejnská obora which is located near the Roštejn castle is one of the oldest preserve for cloven-hoofed game in the Czech Republic. It was founded in the late 16th century and its curiosity are hand-carved granite pillars that form the fence around the preserve. Gates were used to enter the preserve. Until now, just one gate was preserved - the Yellow gate. Besides this gate is now an outdoor geoexposition.
The outdoor geoexposition next to the Roštejnská obora
The underground in Telč is a labyrinth of tunnels that used to serve mainly as a storage space or sometimes also as a shelter from enemies. There are many legends about the place. Its accessible part is 150 metres long and its visitors can learn interesting facts about the history of the town. The task of the local multimedia exhibition is not only to teach but also to entertain by using modern technologies. The entire exhibition is also conceived as a live project which may in the future contribute not only to all residents of Telč, but also to the visitors themselves.
The undergound in Telč
Other attractions situated in the territory of the Vysočina Geopark is a centre of leisure activities, climbing and tracking called Panský dvůr, the Museum of Technology in Telč, the Castle Gallery, the Exposition of the History of rail transport, the Telč Golf Resort, the Lhotka climbing park, the Oslenice observation tower etc.
As we know, its not only the geology and nature that is important for geoparks. What also matters is culture and history. In the territory of the Vysočina Geopark are held numerous diverse cultural events that attract a significant numbers of visitors. These events include "Balloons over Telč" summer music festival "Holiday in Telč", dragon boat races, historical celebrations, New Year's Eve climb to Javořice, "The Night of churches", the traditional farmer’s markets etc.
Dragon boat races
Other activities that you can do in the Vysočina Geopark are hiking, biking, riding horses, skiing in Mrákotín, cross-country skiing, swimming in natural ponds, tramping, outdoor climbing, fishing, paintball in Horní Ves etc.
Some planned activities include creation of promotional materials, creation of the University of the Third Age, construction of an interpretative centre, construction of the lookout tower on the top of the Javořice mountain, creation of a network of geoguides etc.
A construction of a footpath in the trees is another possible future project of this geopark but its implementation depends on sufficient financial resources. It should serve as an outdoor lab for observing local rare birds.
For the management of the Vysočina Geopark is responsible a voluntary union of villages Mikroregion Telčsko which was created in 2003.