Approximately 6km To the north-east of Frantiskovy Lazne (or Franzensbad in German), the Soos nature reserve is a place like nowhere else in central Europe. The reserve is made up of the remains of a former salt lake which, over the centuries, has morphed into a 200 hectar peat bog, mineral-rich salt marsh and moor. There are also signs of ongoing volcanic activity in the form of small mud volcanos also known as so-called mofettas, from which carbon dioxide (or CO2) bubbles to the surface. The area is also filled with mineral-rich springs, from some of which you can taste the water, namely the most famous of them, the Emperor’s Spring. This is an unusual biotope, home to many protected kinds of fauna, the wetlands a habitat for plants that prefer salty environments. Everyone who visits the Soos National Nature Reserve, known as “Czech Yellowstone”, will, upon first entering, think they have somehow left Earth and are standing on the surface of another planet. The National Nature Reserve is an extensive peat bog interwoven with fens and mainly a network of wooden bridges.
On the grounds, there is a 1.2-kilometer highly educational trail including several information boards, a geo-park, a museum with the “Nature of the Cheb Region”, a “Nature of Soos” exhibit, and a pavilion with the “History of the Earth” exhibit, which is dedicated to palaeontology and includes large-scale reproductions of Zdenek Burian paintings and life-sized models of prehistoric lizards. There is also the exhibit “The Birds of the Cheb Region,” which is part of the present Nature Museum. Lastly, a deer enclosure where wild deer can be observed is also located in the area. Those who love live nature will feel at home here – about one hundred species and kinds of birds nest here.
The so-called Kieselguhr Peak, a true European rarity, was left behind in the Soos nature reserve.
For more information about the Karlovy Vary Region where this place is located click here.