Monday, 30 March 2015

The Palava Hills

I first saw the Palava Hills from the road that runs from Brno to Vienna. The sun was shining and it caught the white cliffs that run along the ten-kilometre spine of the hills. The hills appeared to flash against the clear blue Moravian sky.

This is an ancient landscape. Human beings have been walking and hunting on these hills since approximately 27,000 BC. We know this because the camps, belongings and graves of these mammoth hunters have been and continue to be discovered on the Palava's slopes. A visit to the museum of the mammoth hunters at Dolni Vestonice is highly recommended and gives you a real understanding of life here millennia ago. Looking up at the hills it is not hard to imagine our forebears driving wild horses over the cliffs or trapping them in the hills' limestone folds. Later humans also left their mark on the hills in the form of three castles, now picturesque ruins . 

Several footpaths wend along and across the hills, giving excellent views and taking you through a series of nature reserves. The hills are famous for the wildflowers (if you are coming to see these, it is best to visit in Spring), the rarest of these being the Palava Lumnitzer carnation and the Spring Adonis flower. Eagle owls nest in the old quarries, while the Palava's caves are home to rare bats. To aid the visitor there are a number of trails with interpretation boards explaining the history, nature and geology of the hills. 

Given my love of walking, history and nature, you will not be surprised that the Palava is a place I love.

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