The best-known and most significant granite rock formation in the Karlovy Vary massive is undoubtedly the Svatoš Rocks (Svatošské Skály), part of the Jan Svatoš National Nature Park (NPP).
The rocks are located on the northern edge of the Slavkovský Forest Protected Landscape Area where they create an impressive scene on the left bank of the Ohře Valley, about 2km southwest of Doubí u Karlových Varů.
Legend would have it that these rock formations on the Ohře River tell the story of the cursed wedding of Jan Svatoš (Hans Heiling). The first massive rock cliff represents Svatoš, while the second is the bride and the priest, followed by other rock cliffs named Witnesses, Musicians, Mother-in-law, and Castle.
National nature site
750m above sea level
Extent of specially protected territory
The national nature reserve is abundant with various types of light granite and course-grained granite. The mineral composition favours biotite over muscovite, and occasionally one might find a pure muscovite facia here.
The exposed sides are abundant with winter heath (Erica herbacea) and the rare trailing St. John’s-wort (Hypericum humifusum). The vegetation of the shadowed forest gully is supplemented by buttercup anemone (Anemonoides ranunculoides) and mezereon (Daphne mezereum).
Due to the character of the territory, plus the large number of tourists, there are no interesting animal species here aside from the normal forest and rock-based life.
For the future generations, the forest has preserved fragments of relict pine wood with stunted oaks on the cliffs and debris forest with European silver fir (Abies alba) and small-leaved lime (Tilia cordata) in gulleys and on debris cones. The entire area is a protected forest.
The vegetative cover of this cliff community has been long influenced by periodic de-forestation for aesthetic reasons. The attraction for visitors to the rock cliffs is strengthened by the legends of Hans Heiling (Jan Svatoš) which tells of a petrified wedding procession. The rock cliffs are used extensively for rock climbing.