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Soos Nature Reserve lies about 6 km northeast of Franzensbad. This area of the historic Soos forest (“Soos silva”) with an area of 221 hectares was declared a national nature reserve in 1964. Only part of the reservation is accessible to the public via a 1.2 km long paved nature trail with information boards.
The Soos area features extensive peat bogs and fens, where large amounts of mineral springs and pure carbon dioxide rise in so-called mofettas - also called mud volcanoes. The nature trail runs down the bottom of a dry lake that once was full of salt (mineral) water. In Soos, there was left a real European rarity - the so-called Kieselguhr Shield. The Kieselguhr deposit, furrowed by the erosion - the remnants of the lake algae Diatom's shells on the bottom of the lake - covered with yellow and white layers of precipitated mineral salts, creates a fascinating picture of the “moonscape”. Thanks to the unique conditions, a number of protected animals live in the reserve and there are many wetland and salamigenic plants growing there.
In addition to the nature trail, in Soos the visitors will find a rescue sanctuary for wounded animals that is a part of the National Network of Handicapped Animals Sanctuaries and since 2004 has been financially supported by ČSOP. You can also have a look at the museum exposition about the nature of the reserve and its surroundings, the extensive exhibition “Bird World of Egerland” and the paleontological exhibition “History of the Earth”, which includes models of prehistoric life-size lizards.
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