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The Turnov area: around the guard castles above the Jizera

A trip of medium difficulty through the cliffs which will lead you to the remains of four castles and around the Jizera. It is 23 km long. The circular trip leads from Turnov to Frýdštejn, Malá Skála and then back to Turnov.

TURNOV, nám. Českého ráje – Dolánky, the Dlask Farm, the train (2 km) Drábovna (6 km) Frýdštejn (9 km) Vranov, the Pantheon (11 km) Malá Skála, the Bouček Farmstead, the train (12 km) Zbirohy (14,5 km) Zrcadlová koza (19,5 km) – the Jizera headrace (21 km) TURNOV, nám. Českého ráje (22.5 km)

It is possible to shorten the trip or to split it into two parts using the train.

TURNOV – lies at an intersection of ancient trade routes in an area with numerous traces of prehistoric settlement. At the end of the 127th century, stone working began at that time and was later expanded to include the new field of the production and working of glass compositions which imitated precious stones. Its historical monuments include: the neo-renaissance town hall (originally late gothic), the Deaconate Church of St. Nicholas (originally gothic, renovated as baroque), the former monastery church of St. Francis of Assisi on the square, the neo-gothic Church of the Birth of the Virgin Mary (one of the largest neo-gothic churches in Europe), the small Church of St. John the Baptist in Nudvojovice dating from the beginning of the 13th century (originally Romanesque, renovated in the gothic style), the Hrubý Rohozec Château (originally a castle), the Turnov synagogue (one of the oldest preserved synagogues in the Czech Republic), the Jewish cemetery and the Museum of the Bohemian Paradise with historical, ethnographic and geological collections. The Garnet Gallery is also of interest. The Valdštejn Castle and Dlask Farm with exhibitions of outdoor dwellings and agricultural tools are located near the town

DOLÁNKY – part of Turnov at the northern edge of the town at the confluence of the Jizera and the Vazovec Stream. The option of swimming, refreshments in summer, a car park, boat hire.

THE DLASK FARM – a former farmstead and village magistrate’s office built in 1716 – a typical example of a building from the Jizera area. The building includes permanent exhibitions of the Museum of the Bohemian Paradise pertaining to rural dwellings and agricultural tools.

DRÁBOVNA (the Malá Skála area) – a small sandstone cliff town with romantic nooks. Remnants from the early Stone Age have been found in the recesses. The modest remains of a medieval cliff fortress.

FRÝDŠTEJN – the remains of a cliff castle whose builder made use of a sandstone promontory extending from the cliff. There is a circular tower above it. It was established in the first half of the 14th century. The Beautification Association in Turnov bought the castle from the Princes of Rohan in 1892. This fairytale backdrop has been used by film makers who have filmed several fairy tales for children.

VRANOV – built around 1425 on a narrow rock ridge as an almost invincible guard tower. It has been abandoned since the end of the 15th century. In 1802, the Malá Skála estate with the remains of the castle was purchased by the businessman Fr. Z. Römisch. He built a neo-gothic summer house on the site of the former chapel, established a lookout point high above the Jizera and placed a number of gravestones, monuments, signs, stone urns and dates recalling mythical and historical individuals and events in the remains of the castle. The modified castle area began to be called the Pantheon.

MALÁ SKÁLA – a municipality on the banks of the Jizera under the slopes of the Vranov Ridge and Sokol. It is a starting point for trips and a tourism centre. There is the option of swimming in the river or hiring a boat, a rope park, a selection of refreshments and accommodation, a car park, a train and a bus stop. The municipality includes a number of homesteads of the Jizera area type – the best-know is the Bouček Farmstead.

THE BOUČEK FARMSTEAD – a timbered, multi-storeyed building with a gabled roof and a high end gable in the bricked section dated 1813. It houses a permanent exhibition on the history of the Malá Skála area and an art gallery. There is a stylised pub on the ground floor.

ZBIROHY – a castle from about the first half of the 14th century; it stood in steep terrain which made access difficult and enabled an effective defence. It was demolished in 1442. Remnants of the walls of the residential areas in the inner castle, the cellaring, the foundations of the watch tower, the remainder of the rampart and the water tank have been preserved in the castle.

ZRCADLOVÁ KOZA – a famous restaurant for walkers and cyclists, it was established in 1890, it is a popular destination among Turnov residents and a popular stop for hikers, cyclists and canoeists. A renewed rest area with the option of refreshments, accommodation and boat hire.

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