The Železný Brod Area: To Riegrova stezka from Železný Brod

A moderate trip through the Jizera Canyon and above it – 14 km.

ŽELEZNÝ BROD Podspálov, Riegrova stezka (3,5 km) – Bítouchov (7 km) – Morava, rozc. (9 km) Spálov (10 km) Podspálov, vlak (11 km) 4170 ŽELEZNÝ BROD (14 km)

The Železný Brod Area

It is an area remarkable for its geological structure, which is the most diverse in the entire region. The basement of the Železný Brod area separates the granite massive of the Krkonoše and Jizerské hory Mountains from the Bohemian Cretaceous Basin. The area is rich in crystalline slate, quartzite, vulcanite and sandstone. The geological variety is also reflected in the variety of landscape forms. The axis of the area is the Jizera River, which had to fight with the hard basement in the past. Although the Železný Brod area is rather small, it has had a remarkable impact on the world’s glass-making industry. In the early 20th century, glass custom jewellery prevailed, but soon artistic glass-making began to develop. The foundation of the Artistic and Applied Glass-Making School in Železný Brod in 1920, a cutting-edge institution, the first of its kind in Bohemia brought together young and ambitious teachers. The artistic glass-making of Železný Brod gave origin to glass products of high value and functionalistic art forms and a brought about different approach to the material itself and its processing. Železný Brod is the centre of the area and apart from glass-making and its rich geology, it is also interesting because of its distinct local folk architecture.

Železný Brod (A2) – The town is located in the narrow Jizera river valley. It was founded in the 12th century along former provincial routes near the ford across the river (the Czech word for ford is brod). In the 14th century, iron ore and slate used to be mined in the area and the 19th century gave rise to the glass-making and textile industries. In 1920, a glass-making school was started(an exposition is open during summer holidays). Železný Brod became the town of glass and custom jewellery. The sights include: the Church of Saint James the Greater from 1649, rebuilt in the 2nd half of the 18th century, an adjacent wooden belfry, a fountain with a statue of the Immaculate Virgin Mary on the square, the Church of Saint John Nepomucene of the Desert, log houses, mainly in the Trávníky area (a conservation area and a nature path). The most precious log structure is Běliště – a ethnographic exposition of the Municipal Museum, located in the square – a former savings bank building into which a well-preserved log façade of the Klemencovsko house was incorporated. There is also a glass-making exposition and a gallery displaying pieces by the world-famous glass artists, J. Brychtová and S. Libenský. The building also houses the Municipal Gallery of Vlastimil Rada and there is an outdoor swimming pool on the river bank.

Podspálov (A2) – there is a hydroelectric power plant above the confluence of the Jizera and Kamenice Rivers, built from 1921–1926, with water being conducted by a dug shaft (1323 m long) and a walled canal (437 m). The power plant has been carefully restored and is still in operation. It also has a high architectonic value and is an example of how technology and nature can co-exist. It is open to the public. Another technological sight is the road bridge over the Kamenice, the first one to be built diagonally towards the river stream in 1938. It is also unique because of a smaller stretch that was constructed by moving the divided arch.

Riegrova stezka (A3) – The trail was founded in 1909. It leads through the Jizera river valley from the town of Semily to Podspálov (a nature reserve). Curiosities include a 77 metre long suspended balcony, built above the original river surface, a rock tunnel and a hydraulic power plant to which water is driven through an underground shaft. The nature trail teaches those interested about geology, flora and fauna, tourism and nature conservation and technical curiosities of the valley.

Zelezny Brod