Železná hůrka National Nature Monument
The Czech-Bavarian Geopark embraces the localities of Železná hůrka and Kyselecký Hamr on the Czech side and Sybille's Spa near the town of Neualbenreuth on the German side. The extensive region is composed of Cheb-Dyleň Palaeozoic rock. The major tectonic lines are the Krušné Hory Fault and the Mariánské Lázně Fault, which had been the source of volcanic activity in the region.
The Železná hůrka National Nature Monument is situated approximately 300 metres to the right from the road close to the Mýtina border crossing. You can reach the landmark by bike route No. 2129 from the village of Lipová near the town Cheb. Just before the border crossing, you will see the hill of the extinct volcano rising from a field on your right. The original road to the volcano and to the former village of Boden leads through trees and it is scrubby and impassable. It is best if you go along the right side of the woods surrounding the old road.
Železná hůrka is one of the volcanoes designated as the youngest volcano in the Czech Republic. It was last active at the turn of the Tertiary and Quaternary period, which means some 170,000 or 400,000 years ago. The volcano was formed by at least two eruptions. During the first eruption, 15-metre thick layers of pyroplastic rock were created and covered with cross-layered tuff in the course of the second eruption. The volcano was discovered by Johann Wolfgang Goethe who visited it during his travels through the district of Cheb on the 23rd of August in 1823. In the late 18th and early 19th century, geologists were rather unsure of how rocks were actually formed. They were divided into two camps – i.e. Neptunists and Plutonists. The Neptunists believed that rocks were formed by deposition in a water environment and thus, that Železná hůrka had originated from burnt-out coal beds. The Plutonists, on the other hand, claimed that it was of volcanic origin. In the past, mining activities were intense in the area and the volcano was exploited as a source of gravel. Volcanic tuff was revealed under the extracted gravel layers. Miners could be also found among the inhabitants of the nearby village of Boden, deserted in 1948. From 1961 the volcano is protected by the state.