A thousand villages disappeared in Czechia during the course of historic development. There are two basic causes of the disappearance of villages: artificial human intervention (planned changes or hostile liquidation) and gradual depopulation due to remoteness and poor conditions for development, possibly in combination with natural disasters. The greatest number of extinct villages is related to the period after World War II, when many villages in the borderland, from which the German population was displaced, were demolished or abandoned. The aim of the article is to clarify the causes of the extinction of villages, its impact on the landscape and on the settlement system, as well as the possibilities of preserving the historical and cultural memory of extinct places. Finally, the danger of extinction of villages at the present time is discussed. This article points out that it is currently not necessary or effective to have the dense network of settlements that was present in the Middle Ages, when the population density was conditional to the limited technological potential of agriculture and transport. The main argument for preserving villages is their spiritual and cultural value, and their genius loci. However, this can be preserved without keeping the physical structure. At this time, the smallest settlements are changing from being permanently inhabited, to becoming second homes sites.
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