Dear readers and lovers of natural beauty and history. I am glad to invite you again to the miraculous landscape of the Central Bohemian Uplands and to share with you its beauty and attractions. When a book titled Secrets of the Central Bohemian Uplands was completed and published in 2014, I thought I would never let myself into such a big project. However, encouraged by the success of the book, I finally embarked on preparing an even more extensive and demanding book.
The main theme of this book is protected trees of the Central Bohemian Uplands. It is so not only for the trees themselves but, above all, for everything that surrounds them – natural beauty, historical monuments and attractions. A protected tree – this is actually an officially recognized man-to-tree protective relationship. It is both a legal norm and a moral one through which man commits to respect the importance and usefulness of a tree not only for nature as such but, primarily, for man. If you decide to wander to protected trees, you have to travel the country literally in all directions, and eventually you will visit places and see sights you have not even heard before. I knew that documenting protected trees would be very interesting, but I could not guess how awesome a world would open up before me. It is like entering a fairy-tale realm.
Similarly exciting was my wandering to the rocks and special stones of the Central Uplands. Most of them are located in difficult-to-reach corners of the landscape, often hidden in the woods among trees where you have to search for them over hedge and ditch. Still, most of them have not escaped the attention of our ancestors who named them and have also devised a story for most of them. Some rock formations look very deserted, although hiking trails led to them once. Most of these rocks have not escaped the attention of climbers – it has turned out that even the most secluded and hidden rocks are provided with climbing gear and visitor boxes.
Another big subject of this book is votive, sacred and protected places and, above all, a number of small monuments in the form of conciliation crosses, cross-shaped stones and other memorial stones. We know many of their stories, but many also conceal events that we often know only vaguely, or we have to accept that they might never be uncovered.
All of this is connected in a beautiful landscape that is not only God’s (or nature’s) work but also human work, for without people this landscape would never be as varied as we know it. However, it is always important to ensure that the work of beauty still prevails over the work of destruction, because human action has not always been beneficial to this landscape. I like to share the enthusiasm of the contemporary botanists from the Central Bohemian Uplands, who are relieved and delighted to see how variety returns to the region, how the populations of rare plants grow and how their localities spread out.