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Jizera River

Bohemian Paradise

Semily, 513 01

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The Jizera River is the most significant right-side tributary of the Elbe River. Its source area is in the Jizerské Hory, forming a state border between the Czech Republic and Poland. The river connects the territory of the Krkonoše, the Jizerské Hory and Český ráj: it is an axis of the whole area.

The Slavs took the name Jizera from a German tribe of Kelts. The river, surrounded in its upper part with coniferous and mixed forests, in its lower part runs through valley meadows with willow bushes along the banks. Localities of relatively wild nature, untouched by human activities, are protected (small-size protected areas). The good quality of the water in the river is seen in the abundant fish population; what is more, water quality-sensitive crayfish have come back in the mountainous areas around the river.

The Jizera River source is located on the Czech side of Mount Smrk in the Jizerské Hory, around 1000 m above sea level. From the source locality, the river runs through the platform of Velká Jizerská Louka, throughout extensive peat bogs. The first tributary, the Jizerka, joins from the right side under Bukovec; then the river cuts into the narrow valley with large stones and cascades. The river is at the border with Poland up to Kořenov. At the place named Mýtiny, a local part of Harrachov, the Jizera River enters the Krkonoše and flows through scenic corners of the Krkonoše National Park. The wild Mumlava River, known for waterfalls, contributes with water under Harrachov. Another interesting element here is the giant pots, round rock formations of diameters from several centimetres to several metres. Near Hradsko (Vysoké nad Jizerou), on the rock cliff above the Jizera River, you can see the ruin of Nístějka, once a watch tower that protected the old merchant route along the Jizera valley. In Poniklá, the Jizera River runs through a small karst territory with the large Ponikelská Cave (not open to the public).

There are many bridges over the Jizera River and some of them were declared technical monuments. As an example, there is a bridge (1922) in Peřimov, at that time the biggest concrete bridge in Bohemia, and there is a covered wooden bridge in Bystrá nad Jizerou (1922).

After 50 km, in Semily, the Jizera water joins the Oleška, which originates in the Staropacké Hory. Then after Semily the Jizera enters the pass through which the Riegerova Stezka (Trail) is directed. The rocky valley, or rather canyon, was declared the nature preserve of Údolí Jizery in 1951. In Podspálov the Jizera meets the Kamenice, which brings water from the north, from the Jizerské Hory. Along the Kamenice, you can follow Palackého Stezka to Návarov Castle and proceed to Tanvald. From Spálov, the Jizera flows through Železný Brod to Malá Skála. It continues through Dolánky with the Dlask Farmhouse, a true jewel of folk architecture, to Turnov. From there, the river runs along the western edge of Český ráj where the Libuňka and the Žehrovka add their water , and there is the Mohelka River on the right as well. The long route ends near Lázně Toušeň, not far from Brandýs nad Labem, at the confluence with the Elbe River.

The Jizera valley is an attractive locality for sports and trips. It is popular with hikers and cyclists too. At the upper part of the river, there is a nice locality recommended for hiking and cycling between Jizerka, Kořenov, and along Planýrka to Paseky nad Jizerou. The dense network of cycling trails repeatedly crosses over the Jizera River in the area of Semily. Hikers are attracted by trips to the Jizera valley along Riegrova Stezka near Semily linked with the Palackého Stezka in Pospálov (the trail along the Kamenice) . Another popular resort is the region of Maloskalsko, which is rich in lookout points high above the river. In addition to hiking and cycling, there are excellent conditions from climbing.

The Jizera River attracts lovers of water sports, too. In spring, the Jizera canyon from the meeting point with the Mumlava to Horní Sytová is a real paradise for people who love wild water and rafting. The section between Malá Skála and Turnov is popular especially amongst those who enjoy recreational water sports. The Jizera River is passable from Spálov to its meeting point with the Elbe River.

The Jizera is one of the cleanest rivers in the country and is abundant in fish. For this reason, it is popular with fishermen.

Řeka Jizera, author: Milan Drahoňovský
Řeka Jizera, author: Milan Drahoňovský
Řeka Jizera, author: Milan Drahoňovský
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