Karkonosze National Park
Karkonosze National Park was established in 1959 on the area of 5562 ha. In 1992 UNESCO created an international Polish-Czech reserve of the biosphere called “The Karkonosze” with the area of over 60 thousand ha for the protection of the oldest mountains of Harz-Caledonian era in Central Europe.
The Park is located in the Western Sudeten. It protects the highest parts of the Karkonosze and Sudeten from 550 to 1602 meters (the peak of Sniezka), and two enclaves in the layer of the plateau (below 500 meters), they are the reserves: “Gora Chojnik” (Mountain of Chojnik) and “Wodospad Szklarski” (Szklarski Waterfall).
The flora develops in a layer system lowered in comparison with the Tatras Mountains by 250 – 300 meters. The dominating forest species is the spruce (98% of the forest area). The flora comprises around 900 species of vascular plants, 270 species of the phylum Bryophyta, 70 species of lichens and 150 species of mushrooms. In all plant groups one can find rare and interesting endemic species, e.g. the saxifrage Saxifraga moschata ssp. Basaltica as well as relict species, e.g. the Lapland willow Salix lapponum.
The fauna of the vertebrates is represented by 50 species of mammals, 151 species of birds and 15 species of amphibians and reptiles. There are interesting arctic and mountain species among them, mainly birds, e.g. the Alpine accentor Prunella collaris and the Alpine ring-ouzel Turdus torquatus alpestris.
There are a few architectonic monuments in the park, e.g. the ruins of the Chojnik castle from 1355.