Foggy dawn in Ash Mountains (by František Kučera)

An Ash Mountains village at dawn

Editor's note: Since i know well the Nízký Jeseník (Low Ash Mountains) area captured by Petr Palous in this shot, I appreciate the profound symbolic meaning of the image. This hilly region in Northern Moravia (bordering with Poland) was once part of the Sudeten, inhabited mostly by German-speaking people. After the second World War the Germans were expatriated and the region, becoming critically under-populated, suffered a serious economic blow. This has been followed by 40 years of disastrous management by a totalitarian communist regime which has further ruined whatever was left of the once flourishing agriculture.

To those who know this country's past, the heart-gripping melancholic beauty of the countryside, the rich but mostly untended grass, the freely pasturing cattle, the poverty-ridden village, and the high-voltage electric lines carrying energy between some far-far-away places are all deeply significant allegories. This is still a frontier - one which, though potentially rich, is presently fighting an uphill battle for a place in the new European Union scheme.

Low Ash Mountains (Nízký Jeseník), District of Bruntál, North Moravia, Czech Republic

October 2005

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