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The best of Šumava

The best of Šumava
Šumava National Park was founded in 1991, making it the largest national park in the Czech Republic.
The Plechý Mountain is the highest peak of the Czech part of Šumava at an elevation of 1378 metres. The slopes of the peak once featured the second-oldest spruce tree; remnants of the tree are on display at the national park's visitor centres. The oldest spruce in Šumava was felled by the Schwarzenberg family in Želnava in 1866.
The lake of Černé jezero is the largest (18.4 ha) as well as the deepest (40.6 m) lake in the country. The lake obtained its Czech name (“Black Lake”) due to the seemingly black colour of the surface, which reflects the dark woods found primarily on the hill of Jezerní stěna, but the water is actually clear. The hill itself, which is 320 metres high, has been shaped by a retreating glacier. The lake is situated near the town of Železná Ruda.
The lake of Laka boasts the highest elevation of any in the Czech Republic, and represents the smallest of the eight glacial lakes of Šumava. Located on the slope of the mountain Plesná (Debrník, 1337 m) near the German border at an elevation of 1096 m, it has the largest area of water accumulation compared with other lakes in the Šumava region. It also differs from them due to its spots of floating peat. The view tower of Boubín stands 1362 metres above sea level and possesses the highest elevation of any structure of its kind in the Czech Republic. The tower is 21 metres high and 109 steps wend their way to the top. Construction lasted five months and all the materials were brought to the summit by hand, by cable car or by horse. The tower provides spectacular views across all of Šumava and even the Alps when visibility is good.  
Kašperk Castle, lying near the town of Kašperské Hory, is a royal castle boasting the highest elevation throughout Bohemia (886 metres). Founded in 1356 by Charles IV to protect the nation's borders, the building retains the unique atmosphere of an imposing medieval settlement and is considered a striking landmark of Šumava. The castle can be accessed via several hiking trails, some of which are easy and undemanding for walkers.
Until recently, the Špičák Railway Tunnel was the longest in the Czech Republic. Situated on Line 183, Plzeň - Železná Ruda, between the platform of Hojsova Stráž-Brčálník and Špičák Railway Station, its length is an impressive 1747.2 metres; construction took place in 1874-1877. However, this has lost its title to the brand-new, single-track Březno Tunnel near Chomutov, which is 11 metres longer than that running through Špičák Mountain, its length totalling 1758 metres.
The fen of Jezerní slať, located between Kvilda and Horská Kvilda, is the coldest place in the Czech Republic, the lowest ever recorded temperature being -41.6°C as measured on 30 January 1987. The average annual temperature is 2°C.
 Březník is one of the rainiest sites not only in Šumava, but also throughout the country. Average precipitation measures 1552 mm per year, while nearby Modrava receives 1337 mm. The record high was experienced in 1922 at 2132 mm. In comparison, average annual precipitation in the Czech Republic equals 674 mm.
Kubova Huť is a railway station situated at the highest location in the Czech Republic, as evidenced by a plaque on the front of the building. The station’s elevation is 990 metres.
The longest Czech river – the Vltava - commences in Šumava below the mountain of Černá hora near Kvilda, at an elevation of 1172 metres. The stream is 430 km long as measured to the point of joining the River Elbe near Mělník, although it continues under its proper name only from the confluence of Teplá and Studená Vltava, found in the nature reserve of Mrtvý Luh near Volary. Teplá Vltava is considered the main headstream; the source of Studená Vltava arises in Bavaria near the municipality of Haidmühle.
The fen of Chalupská slať boasts several superlatives. In addition to being the largest peat lake in the Czech Republic, it is the most frequently photographed and most beautiful mud lake in Šumava. Average elevation is 910 m. The fen is located near the municipality of Borová Lada. Lipno Dam is the largest artificial water reservoir in this country, encompassing an area of 4850 ha and volume of 306 million cubic metres.  Its elevation is 726 metres and its backwater area is 48 km long. The dam was built in 1952-1959 in order to avoid devastating floods.
 
Nové Údolí is home to the world’s shortest international railway, crossing the border between the Czech Republic and Germany. In the place where the international line of Volary - Passau once passed through, the Pošumavská jižní dráha society built a track totalling 105 m in length, which offers visitors rides in a replica steam locomotive during the summer season, and occasionally even beyond it.

Rarities of Šumava also include Boubín Primeval Forest Nature Reserve, with an area of 666.41 hectares, which is the oldest forest reserve in Europe. In 1858, it was designated this by Prince Jan of Schwarzenberg at the instigation of Josef John, the forest master. It spreads out along the south-eastern foot of the mountain of Boubín, and offers sights of spruce and fir trees 300-400 years old.

Kvilda is the municipality with the highest elevation in the Czech Republic. The mayor’s office is situated at 1065 metres above sea level.
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