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Kraj Vysocina

The Vysočina Region, formerly known as Jihlava which was named after the capital city Jihlava. The city is a self-governing region in the Czech Republic, covering an area of 6,795 km².  The region consists of five districts, Jihlava, Žďár nad Sázavou, Třebíč, Havlíčkův Brod, and Pelhřimov District. The Vysočina area is located between the historical regions of Bohemia to the west and Moravia to the east. It borders the South Bohemian Region in the southwest, the South Moravian Region in the southeast, Pardubice Region in the north, and the Central Bohemian Region in the northwest. The Vysočina Region is located in the middle part of the Czech Republic. The whole territory of the region lies in the area of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. The most prominent rivers flowing through the region are Sázava and Svratka. Approximately there are 577,403 inhabitants live in this region. The added area of 6,795 km² adds up to the density of circa 85 inhabitants per kilometer. Except for the capital city of the region, Jihlava, other dominant cities are for example Nové Město na Moravě and the city of Třebíč. 

What Kraj Vysocina is known for

The essence of the Vysočina name lies in this region's geographical features and is mainly connected to its mountainous relief. Vysočina is a Czech word that directly translates to "highland". One of the explanations for this name is the fact that the whole territory is part of one of the largest mountain complexes of the Czech Republic, the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. 

The region has multiple different activities for those visiting the area such as hiking in natural protected areas or visiting historical and cultural monuments. These attractions are considered the reason for the touristic popularity of this region. One such example is the town Telč, situated in the Jihlava district. This town has been inscribed on the UNESCO list in 1992. To this day, the town's historical center is protected by law, as an urban monument reservation. The main attraction is the town square which has been well-preserved to its original renaissance and baroque houses. One of the main landmarks of the square and also the whole town is the 17th- century renaissance château with an English-style park.[4]

Another dominant and one of the most notorious sights in the Vysočina Region is the Jihlava's Underground. These catacombs date back to the 14th century. They are the second-longest tunnel complex in the Czech Republic and are situated directly below the old section of the town, which means they can be found under all the houses of the historical center of Jihlava. They cover an area of 50,000 square m. For that reason, this part of the city has been declared a municipal conservation area. There were many theories attempting to explain the reasons for the construction of such a complicated underground system. It's been assumed that these corridors are former silver mines that were abandoned. Nowadays, the generally accepted opinion is that these catacombs served traders, who would store their merchandise there. The reason for this widely accepted opinion is the fact that Jihlava is situated on an important crossing of ancient trade routes. [5]

The region has a high amount of monuments protected under UNESCO, such as Zámostí in the town of Třebíč. The Zámostí part of the city is also called the Jewish Town. It is filled with Jewish historical and cultural sights. [6] Another sight under UNESCO protection is the Church of St. John of Nepomuk located in the city of Žďár nad Sázavou. It has gained its popularity and historical importance, as it's assumed to be the most important Baroque Gothic building, which was designed by architect Ján Blažej Santini-Aichel.[7]


The whole territory of the Vysočina Region lies in the area of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. The Javořice mountain, located in the Jihlavské Uplands, which are part of the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, is the highest point of the territory with an altitude of 836.5 m. [1]

The territory of the Vysočina Region is only sparsely inhabited, with no heavy industry that would pollute or otherwise narrow the natural areas, forests, meadows, or rivers of the region. For this reason, the Vysočina Region belongs to the areas with the most preserved nature in the Czech Republic. The forests are rich in coniferous species, with a rare occurrence of the original beech, which builds up a great amount of the territory. However, the diversity of different plant and animal species isn't particularly high, due to the mountainous landscape and higher altitudes, combined with mountainous weather conditions. Nevertheless, a number of endemics and relics from the Ice Age endured these unfavorable conditions and can be found in this area to this day. The mountain flora contains the Alpine Milkweed and the Alpine Dryworm. Important parts of the Vysočina ecosystem are also wetlands and peat bogs that spread out across the region. In those areas, a number of rare species of plants can be found.[2]
The Vysočina area is situated in a mild climate zone. Due to the predominant mountainous character of the landscape, the weather is unstable and can change quickly during the day. The annual temperature is on average between four and eight degrees Celsius, the biggest factor to affect the temperature is the altitude. Approximately 550 to 850 mm of precipitation falls throughout the year, on the other hand, the annual average of sunshine ranges from 1600 to 2000 hours. [2]

In general, the highest chance of precipitation is in May, June, July, and August, with July as the wettest month among them. On the other hand, February is the driest month. August, which has an average daily temperature of 21°C, is the warmest month of the year, even though July gets the most sunshine throughout the year.[3]


The history of the Vysočina Region is tightly connected to the history of its capital city Jihlava, which is the oldest of the Bohemian mining towns. The area of today's Jihlava city's been settled by Slavs towards the end of the 12th century. This rather primitive settlement was dominated by St. John the Baptist church. It was built on the hills over the Jihlava River. This first settlement on the site of today's Jihlava became a starting point, which later led to the colonization of the whole region. By the end of the 13th century, colonizers decided to move to Jihlava for one single common reason, the mining of silver. Miners and tradesmen from all over Europe were brought here by this silver fever. The small village slowly grew and people gradually started to build settlements on the other side of the river as well. Due to the richness secured by the silver mining, Jihlava received royal privileges, which led to the Jihlava becoming one of the most powerful towns in the Bohemian Kingdom. Jihlava was also the first town in Central Europe that established its own mining laws, which later served as an example for other mining towns. As a result, the city came to be a seat of the Supreme Mining Board. 

In the 15th century,  silver mining started to decline, as the biggest supplies of silver became exploited. Another reason was an earthquake that destroyed part of the mines. However, this didn't put an end to the town. It was already a stable, prospering metropole, filled with well-developed commerce and trades. Due to the big fire in 1523, the historical part of the city had to be rebuilt. Jihlava became what it is known today, with the majority of buildings being built in Renaissance style.

Another great step for the city has been the era of Maria Teresia. Maria invited drapers from the Netherlands to the city, in order to help the development of the textile industry. Textile manufacturers, which provided living for hundreds of people who worked in them, were built. This resulted in Jihlava having the largest textile production by the end of the 18th century. [8]

Finally, the Jihlava Region's been formed on January 1st, 2000. The name was changed to the Vysočina Region on May 31st, 2001. [9]