Bohemian Paradise for Sportsmen


foto Bohemian Paradise for Sportsmen

The protected area known as Bohemian Paradise, which is surrounded by the Podkrkonoší mountains in the east and the Jizera and Krkonoše in the north, lies less than fifty kilometres northeast of Prague. The romantic landscape of the Bohemian Paradise, through which the Jizera River flows, enchants visitors with a variety of natural beauties and rich historical monuments - castles, chateaux and folk architecture. Moreover, the area offers countless opportunities for sportsmen.

The landscape of the Bohemian Paradise is characterized by the rugged contours and sandstone rock towns - massive sandstone towers, walls and rocky boulders, standing alone and forming groups with narrow walkways, ravines, and trails. There are many protected and endangered species in the Bohemian Paradise thanks to the deep forests as well as the ponds, water systems, and wetland ecosystems. Igneous rocks were involved in the formation of landscape features such as the Kozákov, the Mužský, and the Trosky hills. The Trosky—basalt cliffs with the ruins of a medieval castle—have become the main symbol of the Bohemian Paradise.

The area's economic and cultural centre has long been the town of Turnov. Today, over 14,000 inhabitants live in the town and it can still be considered the very heart of the Bohemian Paradise. In the past, precious stones such as agates, amethysts, jasper, and chalcedony were found in the rocky valleys of the protected area and were processed in the town.

Countless marked hiking trails run through the Bohemian Paradise - the list and description of which can be found on the official website of the region. Popular trails are located in the impressive Prachov Rock characterized by high sandstone towers. The Prachov Rocks are an ideal place for climbers who however must adhere to the Nature Reserve rules. A natural monument of a similar character is the Klokočské Rocks, which include the Postojná cave, the most extensive underground area of the Bohemian Paradise. In the Klokočské Rocks area are also situated the ruins of the castle Roštejn.

The Golden Path is part of the Bohemian Paradise hiking trails from the 1930s, following the contemporary trend of long-distance routes. It is a red marked route, which was created by connecting existing paths to link up the most interesting natural sites of the Bohemian Paradise with accommodations and restaurants. On the Golden Path are situated medieval castles of Frýdštejn, Valdštejn, Trosky, Kost, Valečov and chateaus Hrubý Rohozec, Hrubá Skála and Mnichovo Hradiště. Furthermore, while walking along the trail, you will find the lookout towers and rock towns. The cities which intersect the trail are also worth a longer visit because of their specific traditions and history. One of them is Jičín, which is called the fairy-tale town. A cartoon story about the robber Rumcajs and his family written by the legendary writer Václav Čtvrtek is set in its surroundings. Železný Brod, on the other hand, is a town of glass; many glass workshops are located there. In addition to the formerly mentioned Turnov, Mladá Boleslav, a city of automobiles, is also located on the Golden Path.

The tracks in the Jizera Valley created within the Greenway Jizera project are perfect for cycling or in-line skating. The cycle tracks lead from the Jizerka village to Černý Most in Prague and measure 172 km. Besides cycling, the Jizera River is also a boating paradise. In contrast to other Czech rivers, for example the Vltava River or Lužnice River, the waterways have more demanding passages, especially in the upper, mountainous part. There is however a peaceful part of the river which begins in Podspálov and ends in the valley of Polabské lowlands. The area's sports life also includes multi-day orienteering event called "Nice Holidays", which is traditionally held at the end of August.

The Bohemian Paradise offers still so much more. The Neo-Gothic chateau of Sychrov with original furnishings and an extensive castle park is worth a visit. A popular tourist destination is the medieval torture house at the Kost Castle, whose exhibits include an iron cage for witches. In the town Lomnice nad Popelkou you can go to a free access viewpoint on the ski jumping hill in the ski resort of Popelky. The surrounding area of the town is rich of other gems like the Castle Kumburk or the folk architecture – e.g. timbered houses with underneath chambers and richly carved gables on the Karlov Square. Yet the oldest preserved building in Lomnice is a wooden bell tower from the mid-17th century, located in a local cemetery. Among the other landmarks of the region belong the Valdštejn Castle and its gallery of baroque statues, chateau Humprecht with the characteristic elliptical ground plan and the Castle Staré Hrady in Jičín, which offers excursions connecting tales with history.