Mountains, Lakes and Rivers
The Krkonoše range stretches 40km into Bohemian territory, creating a natural border between the Czech Republic and Poland, and is the Czech Republic´s highest mountain range. The highest peak is Mt. Snezka (1,602 m). Several other peaks exceed 1,500 m. In order to preserve both wildlife and the environment, the Krkonoše was proclaimed a national park in 1963.
The Hrubý Jeseník is the second highest mountain range in the Czech Republic, and its highest point is Praded Peak (1,491 m). Located in northern Moravia, this range is similar in character to the Krkonoše and has been a protected region since 1969.
The third highest mountain range in the Czech Republic, the Šumava´s highest point is Plechý Peak (1,373 m). The Šumava extends 125 km into south-western Bohemia from the border and creates a natural boundary with Germany. Five limestone lakes found here are of glacial origin. The Black Lake is the largest (18.61 hectares). The Šumava has been a protected region since 1962 and was declared a national park in 1991. This region is also protected on the German side where it becomes The Bavarian Forest National Park.
The Czech Republic is called the roof of Europe since its only source of water is atmospheric rain and snowfall. All the rivers which have their source in the area drain into neighbouring countries. The Czech Republic has three river basins:
There are 455 natural lakes in the Czech Republic, 350 of which are river lakes that have formed in the grasslands of larger rivers. A characteristic feature of the Czech landscape is the large number of artificial lakes created for fish-farming. They number 21,800 in total and cover about 41,000 hectares. The largest of them are Lake Rozmberk and Lake Bezdrev in southern Bohemia.
The abundance and quality of mineral springs in the Czech Republic makes the country a world leader in this area. Many large and renowned spas have been founded around natural or drilled mineral water springs, including the spa in Karlovy Vary, as well as in Mariánské Lázne, Františkovy Lázne, Podebrady, Luhacovice, Jáchymov, and many others which are smaller but still therapeutically important. The warmest Czech springs include the famous Thermal Spring in Karlovy Vary (72oC), and springs in Teplice (42oC) and Janské Lázni (29.6oC). The waters from former uranium mines in Jáchymov have the highest radioactivity in the world (5,085 Mach units, .08 oz.Rn/gal.)