History of the region

The Jizera Mountains are interesting not only due to their natural beauty and sports possibilities, but also for their complex history. As was common in areas close to the border, in the past the area was ruled by the Czech crown and also by German lords.

First inhabitants, settlements and hill forts in the Jizera Mountains surroundings

Until the 11th century the Jizera Mountains were sparsely inhabited. The first permanent inhabitants were mainly Lusatian Serbs. Among the first documented settlements and hill forts are places that are well-known still today – Hradiště u Chlumu, Chrastava, Grabštejn and Hrádek. The character of local settlements changed after three centuries – in the 14th century the first glassworks started to appear. As the demand for glass was rising with the need for wood, other glassworks appeared in other places.

"Gold rush"

The Middle Ages in the Jizera Mountains were among other things significant for the "gold rush". The presence of precious stones and a vision of wealth attracted prospectors not only from the Czech Republic but also from all over Europe. It also attracted engravers, especially from Italy.

Local industry

The area was unfit for agriculture for centuries. This is one of the reasons why glassmaking, logging and textile production were the main means of livelihood. In Vratislavice nad Nisou, the first tapestry factory in the Bohemia was established. The rise of factories in the Jizera Mountains was timeless and also a turning point – in inland and big towns they started much later.

Costume jewellery production in the Jizera Mountains

Many people associate the Jizera Mountains not only with glassmaking but also with costume jewellery production. This specific industry has its roots in Turnov and during the 19th century the Jizera Mountains area enjoyed a monopoly. It is no accident that while talking about costume jewellery everybody thinks of the Jablonex company.

The 19th century – Century of tourist clubs

It took many centuries before people started noticing not only the mineral wealth but also the natural beauty of the Jizera Mountains. From the 19th century the Jizera Mountains became the centre of interest for several tourist clubs. That led to the building of many tourist cottages, marked trails and lookout towers. From 1884, a German mountain club (Deutscher Alpenverein) for the Ještěd and Jizera Mountains helped with the changes. A Jizersko-Ještědský horský spolek (mountain club) continued in these efforts from 1996. These two clubs are responsible for many viewing platforms and lookout towers spread across the landscape. More inhabitants from surrounding towns, mainly Liberec, Jablonec nad Nisou and Frýdlant, started seeking rest and serenity in the Jizera Mountains. It did not take them long to discover what this area has to offer and they began to return here regularly.

Influence of World War II on the Jizera Mountains

The area, similarly to other border areas of the Czech Republic, was affected by depopulation during World War II. This was mainly caused by the expulsion of Germans, who predominated here. However, the region was quite quickly populated by Czechoslovaks.

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