Mid-congress excursions

On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 all participants and their accompanying persons are welcomed to take one of three possible excursions. Number of persons per excursion is limited.

Route 1: Spider collecting trip

We will spend the whole day walking and collecting spiders (collection permits will be provided) through the Pavlovské vrchy Hills protected area and nearby areas. The walk will be about 6 km long. Lunch will be provided as a package. Pavlovské vrchy Hills are located approximately 40 km south of Brno. We will go to the top of hills, Děvín, which is a limestone hill reaching only 550 m a.s.l., but it is a dominant feature in the surrounding lowland landscape of the north-western edge of the Pannonian forest-steppe region. It is part of the Dolní Morava UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This place is famous for records of very early human settlement (30,000 years ago). Děvín is mostly forested with thermophilous oak, oak-hornbeam and ravine forests which have been coppiced for many centuries. The steep south-facing slopes of Děvín are covered with dry grasslands with many species of continental or submediterranean distribution which reach the western or northern limit of their distribution here. The most remarkable species of invertebrates include Saga pedo (grasshopper), Parnassius mnemosyne (butterfly), Eresus moravicus, etc. (for spiders see Bryja et al. 2005). On the tour we will also visit ruins of the Děvičky and Dívčí hrady castles. In the afternoon we will visit Křivé jezero Nature Reserve, a water meadow between two rivers.

 

Route 2: Spider collection, cultural and wine tasting trip

Mikulov is located approximately 50 km south of Brno on the southern foot of Pavlovské vrchy Hills (part of the Dolní Morava UNESCO Biosphere Reserve). In the morning we will walk up the hill, Svatý Kopeček, a protected area. It is a limestone slope with Stipa grasses with a baroque pilgrimage chapel (approx. 2 km walk). This site hosts several Pannonian spider species, which occur in the territory of the Czech Republic only in this place (i.e. Phlegra cinereofasciata, Canariphantes nanus). We will provide spider collection permits to each participant. Then we will walk shortly through the historical centre of the town (former Jewish quarter including synagogue and cemetery). On the way back to Brno we will stop in a winery – to taste vine and learn about local wine production.

 

Route 3: Cultural trip to Lednice

We will explore the Lednice–Valtice Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is situated approx. 50 km south-east from Brno. It is probably one of the largest landscape parks in the world. It was established at the end of the eighteenth century by the local lords of the House of Liechtenstein. The area is famous for the masterful integration of various architectonical structures, including Valtice and Lednice chateaux, French-style gardens and natural elements of the lowland and hilly landscape.

In the morning we will walk in the park to explore the neo-gothic chateau of Lednice and other buildings, such as the Minaret. In the afternoon, we will take a boat trip to John’s Castle, a romantic castle ruin.