History of the area
The first humanoids arrived in the area of Český kras around 180,000 years ago. They began to use the richness of the landscape for hunting and gathering and the region’s landscape and nature was progressively more influenced by human development and changes in the structures of society. The process of deforestation began in that period when man began to build fortresses and work metals (Bronze and later Iron Age). On the deforested areas people began to graze goats and sheep, and established further settlements and fields. Dozens of archaeological sites of national and international significance have been found in Český kras. The region’s numerous caves were used during various periods from the Paleolithic up to medieval times.
The Bacín hill is a notable archaeological site where finds have been made in the karst fissures dating from the Middle Paleolithic, Mesolithic, the culture of Ceramics, Late Bronze Age, as well as human bones accompanied by ceramics from the Early Iron Age. The fortress site on Střevíc hill is another notable site with evidence visible today of earth bank defences and fallen rocks. Archaeological finds from the village of Korno date from the Late Bronze Age and also the medieval period, from the village of Koněprusy from the Late Bronze Age and from Kosoř the finds are from a number of periods including the Linear band potttery culture, Late Bronze Age and the La Tène period.
In the first centuries A.D., for unexplained reasons, the people ceased to live in the region. Further evidence of the historic settlement of Český kras can be found at the historical core of the towns and villages, most of which were first mentioned in historical documents in the 11th and 12th centuries. At the beginning of the historical period this forested and sparsely populated area belonged to the extensive royal hunting forests. One of the administrative centres was the Přemyslid Dynasty castle at Tetín, of which only a later church built inside the original castle defensive mounds has survived to the present.
One of the most important and most preserved cultural monuments in the area is theMonastery at Svatý Jan pod Skalou, built in memory of the first hermit in Bohemia, St. Ivan. A dominant feature of the landscape and cultural history of Český kras is the Karlštejn castle, containing world–famous works of art and attracting huge numbers of tourists to the area.