Abandoned villages in Ralsko

the man who went this way disappeared

Landart gatherings are held in the Geopark Ralsko where the disconnection and alienation of man and landscape happened dramatically. Geopark Ralsko is located in the former military training area Ralsko. The historical character of the cultural landscape was disturbed by the presence of three armies during the 20th century - German (1938-45), Czechoslovak People's (1947-1968) and Soviet (1968-1991). As a result, most of the local inhabitants (both Czech and German) were completely expulsed, over 20 settlements completely disappeared and buildings were used as training targets (including churches). Many new buildings were built for military purposes, including a nuclear missile launcher. The territory was, for some periods, completely detached from the outside world. In 1967, deep uranium mining was also initiated. After the departure of the soldiers, the devastated parts of the landscape were being sanitized (from ammunition, chemicals and unnecessary buildings). However, earlier settlements were not possible to restore. Nature has taken a lot of places, so Ralsko Geopark is a unique green island with unique natural values nowadays. However, it is clear that the disconnection was strong and today´s people are in the process of finding a way how to reconnect and build a relationship with this place.

• Since 2013, the non-profit organization Geopark Ralsko has been trying to make the former military space accessible to sustainable tourism, to inform visitors about local geology, landscape relief and the historical settlement of the region.

• Since 2016, the non-profit organization Geopark Ralsko has been regularly organizing land art gatherings in the landscape of abandoned municipalities where Czech, Polish and German artists meet to create works that reconcile the history of the violent landscape transformation within Ralsko. Artistic interwinding with the landscape results in sensual experience, and thus breaks language barriers.