The Ralsko Geopark is a region where you can find an IMPRINT OF THE 20TH CENTURY, because the major dramatic events of the last century were fundamentally reflected in the local landscape – both in the people and in the landscape. The territory of the Geopark shows that landscape is associated with politics and that it is politics – a public matter.
LANDSCAPE WITH WEAPONS
During the Second World War, the area was used for training military units (German Air Force training at the Hradčany airport and in Hvězdov). After the expulsion of the German population after the Second World War, the Czech population did not resettle permanently. From 1947 to 1951, a military area was gradually built for air and ground-based training of the Czechoslovak army. The year 1968 marked another milestone for the territory after Soviet troops and Soviet nuclear weapons were placed here. The isolation of the area was further strengthened, and a new group of people came here.
The military area was operated until 1991. During that period, 17 villages, including their churches and cemeteries, disappeared forever; on the contrary, buildings used for military purposes were constructed. The area was closed to the outside world, and the places abandoned by troops were immediately taken by nature. As a result of departure of the residents, husbandmen disappeared who would look after the landscape, and the “memory” of the landscape was broken. Today we have to look for this memory and build on it again.
For the Podralsko region, political-economic interests in the normalization period (1968–1989) meant other destructive interventions that are deeply imprinted on the face of the landscape and that influenced the fates of the local people. In 1967 uranium mining was started in the area below Ralsko. Although the uranium mines led to an economic boost for the local region, they were also an enormous environmental burden.