History of the Šumava Mountains

The first colonization of the Sumava region dates back to the end of the 12th century. Up to the 18th century, the whole area was covered by virgin primeval forests forming a part of the boundary woodland. However, in the old times, there were quite frequent border crossings (e.g. "the Golden Path" recorded as early as the 11th century).

Castle Kašperk

The later colonization linked with the development of glass manufacture, logging, and pasturing (17th - 18th centuries) had an important impact on creating the current wooded and non-wooded ecosystems of Sumava. The areas of primeval forests have decreased, new lumberjack dwellings have been founded, as well as new types of settlements unknown before. Local disbalance starts to apear (preference of spruce monocultures in artificial planting, continuing grazing on vast meadows, forest calamities in the 1870s).

The period after World War II. is marked by significant changes in traditional land utilization. In the Sumava NP there are 7 settlements at present, occupied by 1000 permanent inhabitants. On the other hand, the number of visitors, both in summer and in winter seasons, many times increases.

However, comparing to other regions in the Czech Republic, the changes caused by human activity in the Sumava region are not as radical so as to prevent a possible return to original landscape through necessary care.

The Sumava landscape is dotted by a number of historic monuments, attesting to the habitation of man on the territory, for example man-made channels used for timber floating (Schwarzenberg, Vchynice-Tetov Channels) - historic church buildings (chapels, crosses, monuments, boundary marks, etc.) - remnants of historic transformation of the landscape (rock-gatherings, stream regulation, tree-avenues along mountain roads, etc.) - mountain buildings (royal courtyards, farmyards) including some skansen-type localities (Dobra near Volary, etc.).

Source: materials of National Park of Šumava

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