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“The Opawskie Mountains” Landscape Park came into existence in 1988 to protect the most eastward part of Sudety Mountains with its natural lushness and the diversity of landscapes. The Park covers the area of 4.903 ha and its buffer zone covers 5.033 ha. The Park’s name is derived from the name of the mountains located in the Park, whereas the mountains themselves take their name from the Opava River, whose spring is found on the slopes of the nearby Pradziad Hill in the Czech Republic.

Administrative and Geographical Location

The Opawskie Mountains are situated in the south-western part of Opole Province and the border of the Czech Republic. The Mountains are the most eastward part of Polish Sudety Mountains. Głubczyce Plateau encloses the Mountains from the North and the East, whereas Paczków Foreland encloses them from the West. Their southern border is outlined by Zlatohorska vrchovina and Hruby Jesenik.

The Park encompasses the northern slopes and the foreland of the Opawskie Mountains. The Park and its buffer-zone are stretched on two counties: Nysa (Głuchołazy Commune) and Prudnice (Prudnik and Lubrza Communes).

The landscape of the Opawskie Mountains is characteristic as hills are isolated by depressions and river ravines in several places. The functional and special structure of the Park includes three spheres:

- mountain ridges such as Biskupia Kopa (889 m above sea level), Srebrna Kopa (785 m above sea level), Zamkowa Góra (571 m above sea level), Olszak (453 m above sea level), the Parkowa Mountain (Chrobrego) – with three culminations, i.e. Przednia Kopa (495 m above sea level), Średnia Kopa (543 m above sea level) and Tylna Kopa (535 m above sea level), Długota (457 m above sea level), Kobylica (395 m above sea level);

- depressions between the mountain ridges and on the surrounding land of 300 m above sea level, which encompass the areas of villages (e.g. Moszczanka, Łąka Prudnicka, Jarnołtówek, Konradów, Podlesie);

- river valleys, e.g. Biała Głuchołaska, Złoty Potok and Bystry Potok.

Geological Structure and Soils

The geological structure of the Park is very complex. On the surface we find: gneiss and amphibolite, quartz and phyllite slates, sandstone, Greywacke, mudstone, the Tertiary and Quaternary deposits (residual [clay] soil, postglacial deposits, sands, gravel and clays). Moreover, the Park encompasses also the following two documented and used mineral deposits: “Dębowiec” (greywacke and sandstone) and “Dewon” (phyllite slates).

Brown soil and pseudo-podzols predominate in the Park, whereas silt and peat soil occur in the valleys of brooks.

Climatic Conditions and Hydrography

The climatic conditions in the Park are specific. The mountain macroclimate is characteristic for Pokrzywna, Janrnołtówek, Dębowiec, Podlesie and the southern part of Głuchołazy. Generally speaking, the Park has the most diversified internal climatic conditions if compared to the remaining areas of Opole Province. This results from the greatest diversity of the lie of the land and its location at the meeting point of the Opawskie Mountains, Silesian Lowland, and the Sudety Foreland. The climate here is characterised by differentiated temperature amplitude, great amount of precipitation, respectively short vegetation season. Winters are more severe and longer, summers shorter and cooler. Such climatic conditions are favourable for active leisure and the development of various forms of tourism. The microclimate of the Park is affected by its diversified lie of the land and significant share of forest ecosystems which results in rich bioclimatic conditions.

The Park is located in the Oder basin. The Park encompasses the main watershed of two tributaries of the Oder – Nysa Kłodzka and Osobłoga. The Park’s western part is drained by Nysa Kłodzka tributaries such as Biała Głuchołaska, whose source is found in the northern part of Pradziad Massif. The south-eastern land is drained by the tributaries of Osobłoga such as Prudnik River and its tributary Złoty Potok characterised by significant variability of tidal flow as well as smaller tributaries, e.g. Potok Trzebiniecki.

World of Plants

919 species of vascular plants have been found in the Park throughout the entire history of the environmental research. The plant world of the Park is dominated by mountain species such as large white buttercup, Norwegian cudweed, and honeysuckles. Over 30 species are legally protected. Those found on individual sites are of particular value: Orobanche flava, deprived of chlorophyll, parasites on the roots of the butterbur or northern spleenwort. Orchids with their delicate smell draw a lot of attention; they include such genera as: narrow-leaved helleborine, lesser butterfly-orchid and greater butterfly-orchid, common spotted orchid and heath spotted-orchid, chlorophyll-free bird's-nest orchid (whose roots look like a bird's nest), early-purple orchid. Also ferns are worth admiration and these are: hard shield fern, hard-fern, or ostrich fern reintroduced to the Park in 1992. The remaining species being under protection include: Turk's cap lily, lesser centaury, buck's-beard, veratrum lobelianium, twayblade, stemless carline thistle, and also

extremely poisonous plants: belladonna and February daphne.

The Park is rich with mushrooms of which the following are most valuable: old man of the woods, giant polypore, reishi mushroom, ox tongue, spiny puffball, dog stinkhorn, and common morel, both Morchella conica and Morchella elata. Undoubtedly, the exotic octopus stinkhorn is a great peculiarity. Its smell of decaying meat is intense and pretty unpleasant. Moreover, the Opawskie Mountains is a homeland for valuable edible mushrooms such as: boletuses, bay boletes, sticky bun, or birch bolete.

Also the Park can boast of some protected natural habitats such as adenostylion alliariae, convolvuletalia sepium, lowland and mountain fresh meadows used extensively, rocky walls, acid beech wood, the Central-European and subcontinental broadleaved forest, maple and linden forests, acid oak woods and riparian forests. Most valuable forest ecosystems found here include the ash and alder riparian forests, foothill alder riparian forests, broadleaved forests, acid mountain beech woods, fertile lowland and the Sudety beech woods, maple and linden forests, foothill acidophilic oak forests and wet oak woods, lower subalpine fir and spruce forests, upper subalpine spruce and willow forests. They are situated in river valleys and the spring complex area. The water ecosystems of the Park include the assemblages of water buttercups of great natural interest. The communities of rock vegetation, i.e. the assemblages of maidenhair spleenwort, wall-rue and northern spleenwort, shrubby formations and adenostylion alliariae build the land non-forest ecosystems.

World of Animals

As the Park is a mountain area, the fauna here is unique and diversified. And a high afforestation rate welcomes animal assemblages.

46 species of mammals are recorded in the Park, of which the lynx, edible dormouse, moufflon and such bats as Bechstein's and Geoffroy's bats, northern and serotine bats, barbastelle, lesser horseshoe bat are worth greater attention. In 1998 Prudnik Forest District Office successfully reintroduced beavers to the Park.

The birds of the Park constitute the best examined group of animals – the first documented observations were conducted already before the war. Today 130 species of these animals have been found. The following species are most valuable: the black stork, white stork, western marsh harrier, kestrel, hobby, corncrake, peewit, green sandpiper, barn owl, eagle owl, little owl, kingfisher, hoopoe, dipper, grey-headed woodpecker, middle spotted woodpecker and black woodpecker.

16 species of amphibians have been found within the Park and these include: fire salamander, smooth, northern crested, and alpine newts, fire-bellied toads such as the European fire-bellied and yellow-bellied toads, garlic toad and the European tree frog. The world of reptiles in the Park is represented by 6 species: the blindworm, such lizards as the sand lizard and viviparous lizard, grass snake, smooth snake and the venomous common viper.

The waters of the Park are home for 16 species of fish, four of which, i.e. schneider, stone loach, alpine bullhead, and the European bullhead are under the protection of species. The brown and rainbow trout, grayling, Eurasian minnow, loach, and perch are more common.

The fauna of butterflies is represented by several dozen of species, e.g. the scarce large blue and dusky large blue, large heath, small lappet moth, willowherb hawkmoth, lesser purple emperor purple emperor as well as the arran brown, poplar admiral, and large wall brown, being characteristic for the Opawskie Mountains. What is more, 206 species of spiders occur in the Park, two of which, i.e. the Purseweb spider and wasp spider, are rare. In the waters of the drift in Głuchołazy the Gammarus – a relict representative of crustacean, was discovered.

Generally speaking, the most valuable animal species are found in the area of the existing and planned nature reserves, in watercourses and little bodies of water as well as in “Dewon” mine and the former military training ground near Prudnik.

Forms of Wildlife Conservation

A special area protecting the habitats was outlined within the territory of the Opawskie Mountains as part of the Natura 2000 “Góry Opawskie” PLH160007 Network. The area in question largely overlaps the Landscape Park.

In 1999 in the Park the following four nature reserves were created:

“Cicha Dolina” Forest Reserve – created for the purpose of retaining a fragment of a mountain mixed coniferous forest of diversified age and species structure and a well-developed beech tree stand being100-150 years old. The reserve covers 57 ha and is located in Bystry Potok Valley, on the slopes of Zamkowa Mountain and Srebrna Kopa. Such forests as fertile Sudety beech woods, acid mountain beech and the foothill ash riparian forests can be found here. Over 40 species of protected and endangered plants occur in the reserve and they include such plants as the hard shield fern, dentaria enneaphyllos, ostrich fern, February daphne, belladonna, Turk's cap lily. In the reserve one detected the occurrence of the fire salamander, white-throated dipper, grey wagtail, collared flycatcher, edible dormouse and such ground beetles as blue, carabus auronitens, carabus hortensis, violet and carabus linnei beetles. “Las Bukowy” Beech Forest Reserve was established to protect and retain the tree stand of great natural and landscape values. The reserve covers 21 ha of a beech forest being ca. 130 years old and having isolated specimen of the spruce, fir, and larch. "Las Bukowy" is located south from Głuchołazy, on the slopes of the Parkowa Mountain by the Biała Głuchołaska River. Bialska Grotto drift and a drift by a hunter’s cottage Domek Myśliwski can be found at the edge of the reserve. “Nad Białką” At the Białka River Geological and Landscape Reserve, created at the bend of Biała Głuchołaska on the area of 9 ha, protects and retains the landscape and geological values of Biała Głuchołaska gorge, also with some marks of gold exploitation taking place between the 12th and 13th centuries. Visitors can admire the relict drifts of an opencast mine of gravel and gold-bearing sands. Numerous excavations, screes, and heaps of washed material have survived in the reserve. The territory of the reserve is morphologically diversified and is covered by spruce and beech forest. “Olszak” Forest Reserve is a complex covering 24 ha and located on Olszak Peak. It encompasses a foothill acidophilic oak wood and little patches of a hillside forest with the narrow-leaved helleborine in its undergrowth. The reserve constitutes home for several hundred species of butterflies, including Zanclognatha zelleralis, belonging to owlet moths (one of the two sites in the country, and the only one in the Sudety Mountains), the measuring worm, speckled frosted yellow, convolvulus hawk-moth, willowherb hawkmoth and Alabonia staintoniella of the concealer moths family (the only known site in Poland). Nine registered natural monuments can be found in the Park and these include the small-leaved linden, English oak, Douglas fir of Rocky Mountain Douglas-Fir variety as well as the silver poplar. According to the plan of the Park’s protection and the plan of protection tasks of Natura 2000 area, two nature reserves are being designed and these are: “Gwarkowa Perć” Geological and Faunistic Reserve, with a small quarry whose rock walls are about fifteen meters high and a former drift for exploiting precious metals and “Dąbrowa” Forest Reserve which encompasses a forest complex with wet oak wood between Moszczanka and Charbielin. Moreover, 4 lands for environmental purposes, 10 documentation sites, 3 nature and landscape complexes, and 1 inanimate nature monument are already designed. It is worth visiting “Karliki” – a rocky outcrop on the right side of Złoty Potok Valley, between Jarnołtówek and Pokrzywna and the rocks by a blue tourist trail between Jarnołtówek and Rozdroże pod Piekiełkiem, then "Karolinki" – a strip of rocks on the slopes of the summits of Krzyżówka and Olszak,"Piekiełko" - an old quarry of phyllite by the path from Jarnołtówek to Rozdroże nearby Piekiełko, “Żabie Oczko” – exposures of rocks of the Andělská Hora bed and an old mine

excavation with a pond of 600 m2 Cultural Values These are some of the most important factors having an impact on the tourist values of “the Opawskie Mountains” Landscape Park.

The very first signs of the humans’ presence in the Park come from to the Stone Age. In the Middle Ages the planting of towns intensified. Within the Park the visitors can find 18 archaeological sites, including several hill forts (near Prudnik), stone embankments, and the marks of exploiting local beds of gold. This precious metal was excavated between the 13th and 17th centuries and contributed to the creation and fast development of settlements like Głuchołazy. The 17th century brought the development of industry: water and paper mills (e.g. a paper mill in Jarnołtówek) appeared, the weaving industry, the production of linen yarn, and the excavation of slates. In the 19th century many factories appeared, also a new railway triggers the development of tourism. However, right after the World War II the border areas ceased to develop. Today, the Opawskie Mountains, as a tourist region, are being activated and popularised. New trekking and cycling trails are being mapped out, new observation towers, mountain shelters and hotels are being built.

Głuchołazy: The first mention of the settlement comes from the 13th century. Its name was changing over the years and for a long time it was Kozia Szyja meaning goat’s neck, illustrating a local legend about

rescuing the town. The settlement was established by the beds of gold and as a result of their exploitation. The town had been destroyed repeatedly by wars, fires, and floods. In the 16th century, however, the renewal of gold mining brought about the boom of the town. Mineshafts and drifts such as Sztolnia Trzech Króli, meaning the drift of the three kings, linking Głuchołazy with Zlate Hory, were built and their remnants can still be found today. Those days even 250 kg of gold were excavated from the mine. The 20th century the factories producing buttons, gloves, and shoe polish were established. As a matter of fact, the products of Głuchołazy were well-known all over the world. The newly built railway brought more tourists and sanatorium patients to the town as they were attracted by the beauty of the Opawskie Mountains and their specific microclimate. The town obtained the status of a health-resort. In a new health resort Bad Ziegenhals patients can use modern hydro- and physiotherapeutic methods such as the methods by Father Sebastian Kneipp, who followed the example of Vinzentz Priessnitz’s natural methods. Ferdinandsbad Sanatorium, today’s “Skowronek” Caritas Holiday and Rehabilitation Centre, was established. A Station of the Cross with a complex of 16 little chapels being the stations was created in the second half of the 19th century. Tourists are attracted by the Spa Park with its ponds, garden houses, and an extended path

network. The visitors can admire the chapel of St. Anne built in 1908 just below the summit of Wiszące Skały, meaning the hanging rocks. What is more, it is worth visiting such monuments as baroque St. Lawrence's Church with a beautiful late-Romanesque portal, the market place, and the tower of Brama Górna, the upper gate, from 1600.

Podlesie: a hamlet of Czech Ondrejovice established in the 14th century. It is worth visiting the neo-Gothic Church of St. George. And by the road towards Głuchołazy the guests will find a landmark of the diocese which is called the "murder stone". A cross is carved on the stone and a date of 1586 with letters AEPSW. The legend related to the stone says that this is the place of burial for the people who took their own life.

Jarnołtówek: in the very first medieval documents the settlement is called Arnoldsdorf. About 1600 a

fortified manor house was built here and the 17th century saw the development of weaving, the production of linen yarn and paper as well as the output of roofing slates. The 19th century brought the development of tourism as Biskupia Kopa with a friendly walking trail leading on the summit and the charm of Złoty Potok were close enough to attract visitors. The area was called Silesian Switzerland. The tourists could use

newly built cafés and boarding houses, several bakeries, shoe repair shops and hairdressing saloons.

Today, it is worth visiting such monuments as St. Bartholomew Church, rebuilt after the flood in 1907, with a marble baptismal font with a cartouche (the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries), a manor complex (from the 16th and 19th centuries) surrounded by a manor park, a little chapel by a playgroup (the 19th

century), a sculpture of St. John of Nepomuk (the 19th century), a granite stoup (medieval probably) by the presbytery with a flag of St. Bartholomew, which was moved from the previous church. In 1903 Jarnołtówek was flooded and severely damaged. As a result, a dam on the Złoty Potok River with a dry storage reservoir were built to save the village and the lands situated below from the flood in 1997. On the Czech side of Biskupia Kopa, at the foot of which Jarnołtówek is located, the visitors can admire the view from an observation tower built at the 50th anniversary of the reign of Franz Joseph II at the end of the 19th century.

Dębowiec: a village between Długota and Kobylica. The settlement developed once the greywacke excavation started in the second half of the 19th century. The neo-Gothic chapel of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel is particularly worth visiting. The summit of the chapel is topped by a little bell with a span for the bell and a cross. Before the gate the visitors can admire a stone Crucifixion of 1894. Joseph von Eichendorff, an outstanding Romantic poet, has his monument on the summit of a nearby hill called Kobylica.

Prudnik-Las: guests can visit the Cloister of the Franciscan Monastery in an enchanting spot on the slopes of Kozia Góra. This was a place of the imprisonment of the Cardinal and Primate Stefan Wyszyński between 6 October of 1954 and 28 October 1955. Moreover, the place is rich with such monuments as St. Joseph Sanctuary, Lurdzka Grotto built of red volcanic tuff brought from Rhineland and the 14th chapel of the Way of the Cross as the remaining chapels were destroyed after the war. Today, a new Way of the Cross with small wooden chapels leads through the wood.

The very town Prudnik invites its visitors to the Museum of Prudnik Land, Woka Observation Tower, the market place with the Town Hall and baroque sculptures, baroque St. Peter and Paul’s Church and

St. Micheal’s Church.

Trzebina: mentioned in the 14th century for the first time; in the second half of the 17th century it belonged to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem from Nysa. Their symbol – a double Jerusalem Cross – can be found on many historical houses of the village. At the beginning of the 19th century a mineral spring was discovered and this gave rise to a health-resort. Today, only some remnants are left such as cased wells in the park. The visitors are welcomed to see a renewed wall with a beautiful attic, a figure of St. John Nepomucene (the 18th century), a church with a tower from the 15th century and several impressive chapels.


Outstanding natural, landscape, and cultural values of the Opawskie Mountains triggered the development of tourism which flourished in the 19th century. Today, tourists can fully admire the Opawskie Mountains thanks to the well-marked tourists trails and nature and didactic paths of various levels of difficulty. So the trails are for experienced tourists as well as for families with little children and disabled people. The network of marked tourist’s trails here is one of the densest networks in the Sudety Mountains.

Red trail – the longest and the oldest trail leads from Prudnik, through the slopes of Kozia Góra, Kobylica, Długota, Wieszczyna, Młyńska Góra, Pokrzywna, Szyndzielowa Kopa, Zamkowa Góra, Srebrna and Biskupia Kopa, Jarnołtówek, Skowronków, Podlesie, Góra Parkowa, to Głuchołazy.

Yellow trail on Góra Parkowa, another name is Chrobrego Góra – leads through the closest vicinity of Głuchołazy to the spots of gold exploitation.

Blue trail on Góra Parkowa – leads from Głuchołazy through the way of the cross, around Przednia and Średnia Kopa.

Yellow trail on Biskupia Kopa – the most popular trail leading to “Pod Kopą Biskupią” Shelter and starting from Pokrzywna or Jarnołtówek.

Blue trail in Pokrzywna and Jarnołtówek – “Szlak Przełomu Złotego Potoku”, the Trail of Złoty Potok River Gorge, on the northern and southern edge of the valley. Several former quarries of slates are located along the trail.

Yellow trail in the vicinity of Prudnik – leads from Prudnik through Prudnicka Łąka, Trupina, Wieszczyna, Wróblik to Trzebina.

Blue trail in the vicinity of Prudnik – “Szlak Historyczny Lasów Królewskiego Miasta Prudnik”, i.e. historical trail of the forests of Prudnik royal town. The trail leads from Prudnik through Kaplicza Góra, Kobylica, Dębowiec, Rozdroże pod Trzebiną, the Sanctuary in Prudnik Las, Lipy to the to the public park in Prudnik.

Natural and didactic trail through the valley of Bystry Potok to Biskupia Kopa – “Cicha Dolina” Reserve.

Natural and didactic trail from Jarnołtówek through Żabie Oczko and Olszak to Pokrzywna – leads on the northern edge of Złoty Potok Valley.

Natural and didactic trail from Jarnołtówek to “Rozdroże pod Piekiełkiem” – the shortest trail of the Park but of greater difficulty.

Natural and didactic trail through Góra Chrobrego - leading through two nature reserves, Przednia Kopa, to the spa park in Głuchołazy.

Trails in Prudnicki Las – two trails to admire the natural and cultural values of Prudnicki Las.

The Opawskie Mountains offer extended catering and accommodation services and the infrastructure is being successively modernized. New tourist shelters, hotels, fishing grounds are being opened, two new observation towers have been built (one in Wieszczyna and one on Kozia Góra). “The Opawskie Mountains” Landscape Park is the most beautiful and attractive as well as the most popular area of Opole region.

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