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The Desert and the River


The name of the majestic oak here (Zilka’s Oak), is a reminder of the legend of a local highway man called Zilka, who allegedly used this very tree as a hiding place. However, the several hundred years old majestic tree also remember the times before Zilka, when the forests in this area had indeed been the oak forests the name Doubrava (Oak Forest) on the current maps refers to.

Despite the extreme climate of the drift sands, open oak forests had formed in this area a long time ago. In the Middle Ages, due to the demand for fire wood and construction timber the original forests were almost depleted and the remaining vegetation disappeared with intensive grazing. This opened the sands to the elements; strong winds started shifting large masses of sand, creating dunes – hence the nickname of the area (the Moravian Sahara). The original woodland was gone – apart from some small patches of rather poor open forest stands and a few solitary trees in the middle of sandy wasteland. Several hundred years later, the area was reforested with pine (attempts with oak having failed). This is why today the area is mostly covered with pine (rather than the native oak) stands. The solitary oak trees, which can be found in some parts of the pine forests, are very rare.

GPS position

N 48° 56.138', E 17° 15.267'



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