Solvay Quarry

The Solvay Quarry on the Ještěd ridge is an extremely interesting site, not only because of its colourful history, but also thanks to its current biodiversity, and not least because of the beautiful views of the landscape below.

The Solvay Quarry was still in operation into the 1920s, producing one of the raw materials for soda ash on three benches, from where the limestone was transported via ropeways to freight cars at the nearby train station. The quarry also unearthed a number of karst caves, among them the 'Robber's Lair'.  

Over the course of almost one hundred years, nature has taken back the space once occupied by the quarry, and filled the gap with a valuable community of species. One of several local chapters of the Czech Union for Nature Conservation in the Liberec area (specifically, Chapter 36/02 attached to the nature reserve management for the Jizera Mountains landscape protection area) decided to draw attention to this intriguing site of nature. Under the auspices of the NET4GAS Closer to Nature programme, the conservationists created a new destination for hikers and day-trippers in 2017, with several info panels, a lookout point and a seating area. The goal is to show visitors the enormous environmental value of this space, and to highlight how even a man-made industrial site such as an open-pit mine can over time add to, and enrich, the natural world.

After taking in the gorgeous vistas of open land, which one can enjoy from a comfortable resting area, it pays to take a closer look at the rare plant life that can be found here. In spring, for instance, the orchid known as Dark-red Helleborine is blooming; in fall, the Fringe-flowered Gentian commands your attention. Coming here in the evening, one might get lucky and have the opportunity to see bats as they emerge from their hiding places inside the caves. Ten different species of these flying insectivorous mammals have been recorded at this site.  

Way there:From Křižany train station along green trail to Kryštofovo Údolí. After ca 1.2 km, you will come to fork, where yellow trail breaks away from green. From here, it is only a few dozen meters on the yellow trail until the site. GPS: 50.7560689N, 14.9143028E
Practical information:

Endangered plants:

Dark-red Helleborine
Author: Jan Moravec
Fringe-flowered Gentian
Author: Jan Moravec

Endangered animals: