Most foreign visitors coming to Bohemia will visit Prague and several other cities, while the Czech countryside remains nothing more than scenery behind bus windows. This is a shame because the countryside helps you understand where notes from Smetana’s, Dvořák’s, Janáček’s and Martinů’s pieces come from and what inspired the pallets of leading Czech painters.
The Bohemian countryside has a lot of different faces ranging from lowlands to wooded highlands and border mountains. Some of these features have played a special role in Czech cultural history and have become national symbols. One of them is Bohemian Paradise (Český ráj), originally spreading only in the broader surroundings of the town of Turnov. Bohemian Paradise was once covered by the prehistoric sea, whose bottom rose and cracked due to the movement of tectonic plates and volcanoes, forming today’s sandstone walls and towers.
These are characteristic features of the region similar to Trosky, castle ruins located on the top of a basalt rock high above the region, whose typical silhouette resembling two fingers can be seen in the medallions of Prague’s Astronomical Clock. They do not cease to fascinate viewers. Nor does Kozákov Hill, whose hillsides hide agates, jaspers, chalcedonies, amethysts and others. Today, this exceptionally colourful mosaic of landscape types, geological phenomena and biotopes, complemented by historic monuments and typical folk architecture, covers almost 1400 square kilometres and is situated between the towns of Mladá Boleslav, Jičín, Nová Paka and Semily.