Jizera Mountains

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Jizera Mountains
View of Liberec and the Jizera Mountains from Ještěd

View of Liberec and the Jizera Mountains from Ještěd

Highest peak Wysoka Kopa ( Hinterberg ) ( 1126  m npm )
location Poland, Czech Republic (Liberecký kraj)
part of Sudeten
Jizera Mountains (Sudetes)
Jizera Mountains
Coordinates 50 ° 50 ′  N , 15 ° 15 ′  E Coordinates: 50 ° 50 ′  N , 15 ° 15 ′  E

The Isergebirge (Czech: Jizera , Polish: Izerskie ) is a part of the Sudeten and forms the connection between the in Germany located Zittau Mountains / Lusetian Mountains and the Czech / Polish Giant Mountains . The Jizera Mountains are located in both the Czech Republic and Poland and are the headwaters of the Iser ( Jizera ), Queis ( Kwisa ) and Lusatian Neisse ( Łužiska Nysa ).


The Jizera Mountains have been called the Jizera Mountains since the 19th century; It is named after the Iser River ( Jizera in Czech , Izera in Polish ). Until then, the mountains were counted as part of the Giant Mountains . The name Iser probably goes back to an Indo-European root es or is in the meaning "(flowing) water", from which the names of other European rivers originated. The Czech name of the Jizera river is first recorded in 1297. Today many Czechs refer to the mountains colloquially as Jizerky.


The highest mountain is the Wysoka Kopa ( Hinterberg , 1126 m) in Poland, but better known is the Smrk ( table spruce , 1124 m) on the Polish-Czech border, whose summit is in the Czech Republic. The Jizera Mountains foothills join to the north .

The Jizera Mountains within the geomorphological division of the Czech Republic and Poland

The table stone (Czech Tabulový kámen , 1072 m) on the northern slope of the table spruce marked the borders of the rulers

In the time between 1742 and 1815 it became the triangle of Saxony / Bohemia / Prussia .

In the last decades of the 20th century, the Jizera Mountains became known to many mountaineers and hikers, but also to opposition from the GDR and the Czechoslovakia , thanks to the manure house .


The typical rock of the Jizera Mountains is the porphyry-biotitic granodiorite (Jizera Mountains granite ). Its coarse grain with distinctive crystals of reddish feldspar is striking . It originated a good 250 million years ago. It is particularly visible in the bizarre cliffs on the northern slopes of the mountains, but also installed in some stations of the Prague subway , in older buildings in Liberec or Jablonec nad Nisou , in lookout towers on mountains of the mountains and at the port facilities of the city of Kiel . Impressive granite blocks can also be found on the peaks of Taubenhaus ( Holubník ), Vogelkuppe ( Ptačí kupy ), Robbery Rocks ( Pytlácké Kameny ) or Klein Iser ( Jizera ). Crystals of various minerals such as rubies and sapphires found their way into the sand deposits of the mountain streams . They come from gesture entrances in granite (weathered pegmatite ). The so-called Jizera Mountains sapphires are among the most beautiful in Europe and have been collected in the deposits of Safírový potok or in the Jizerka river since the Middle Ages.

In the central part of the mountain range volcanic rocks stand out ( basalts and olivine - and nepheline - volcanics ). The conical Buchberg ( Bukovec ) is particularly striking . The basalt mountains near Friedland ( Frýdlant v Čechách ) are also important .

In the south-western part of the mountains near Neustadt an der Tafelfichte ( Nové Město pod Smrkem ), mica schist and phyllite can be discovered. H. Rocks from the earliest ages . The character of the mountain range here differs from the rest of its parts. Non-ferrous metal ores were found south of Neustadt, especially the tin ore cassiterite . A number of abandoned mines as well as the chessboard-like layout of the city are evidence of the once flourishing mining industry. Rock formations made of quartz can also be found in the mountains . Quartz mining began in part as early as the 13th century.

A variety of the titanium iron ilmenite is the deep black Iserin , which was first found in the form of loose, unrolled grains on the Iserwiese near the municipality of Jizerka in the Czech Republic. There is also found gems like sapphire , topaz , zircon , emerald and ruby .


The multitude of watercourses, springs, dams and bog pools indicate the abundance of water in the Jizera Mountains. It was estimated that the water stored here corresponds to around one tenth of the total consumption of drinking water in the Czech Republic. The watershed between the Baltic and North Seas runs across the mountains . While the rivers on the south-eastern mountain side ( Iser , Desse and Kamnitz ) flow into the North Sea, Lausitzer Neisse , Wittig and Queis are looking for their way into the Baltic Sea on the west and north sides. The multi-level water cascades with rapids and waterfalls are typical of this area due to the granite rocks.

View from the promenade near Jizerka to the Darretalsperre (Souš)

Significant for the appearance of the Jizera Mountains are its moors, which have formed since the end of the Ice Age 10,000 years ago. With a few exceptions, they are all under nature protection. They used to be used to extract peat. The highest moor is about six meters thick.

Climate and Weather

The very rough climate is typical of the Jizera Mountains. Foggy days and drizzle are not uncommon. The mountains are sometimes covered with snow for up to 160 days. The summers are short and moderately cool, so that the temperature in the summit zones sometimes falls below freezing point. Long and persistent winters characterize the area.

Average temperatures

The average temperatures depend strongly on the sea level, so that differences of up to 2 ° C for an altitude difference of 100 meters are considered normal. Due to the reduced air circulation, in contrast to the environment, a constantly low temperature determines the so-called "ice kettle". The best known of these places is the village of Klein Iser (Jizerka). In 1942, the absolute cold record was measured here at −42 ° C.

The temperature inversion in the winter months is typical for the mountains. While it is warmer in the higher areas, cold air forms in lowlands such as the Liberec Basin “lakes”. Pollutants in increased concentration worsen the view, which, however, improves with every meter of altitude and reveals the blue of the sky.

Precipitation conditions

Due to the prevailing north-westerly winds, more precipitation falls, especially on the plateaus. On this higher part of the Sudeten massif, the daily, monthly and annual precipitation amounts in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are striking. The absolute record was measured in Klein Iser ( Jizerka ) (2201 mm in 1926). The months of July and August have the most water, and February and March have the lowest rainfall. It is clear that the amount of precipitation increases with increasing altitude. The water level of the largest mountain rivers rises, especially in the summer months. The worst flooding in northern Bohemia in 1897 is still in memory.

Spruce forest in July 2006

Air pollution

The essentially unfiltered combustion of lignite in the coal-fired power plants of the GDR and Poland in the Upper Lusatian mining area has polluted the air considerably for decades due to insufficient emission protection. In the 1980s in particular, the sulfur dioxide concentration exceeded the critical level for the forest, so that the basic prerequisite for healthy tree development no longer existed. The death of individual trees was followed by the death of entire spruce stands. After the renovation of the lignite power plants in Poland and in the Ore Mountains and after the switch to gas from 1989, the SO 2 concentration fell by more than a third of the values ​​in the 1980s. Rapid regeneration of the forest began. Nevertheless, in the long run, both the change in the composition of the tree population and the increase in car traffic appear problematic.



Up until the colonization in the 13th century, spruce and fir made up two thirds of the tree population, and beech, sycamore, elm and birch grew. The settlers built houses and cleared forests for agriculture. The emergence of the glass industry in the 17th and 18th centuries was particularly dramatic. The ashes from the wood burned in the glass furnaces were also used in glass production. However, the authorities issued various decrees in the 18th century that were intended to restrict mining. So the glassmakers withdrew to the foreland and used the trees of other forests. This also began a certain amount of reforestation, with spruce trees already accounting for 90 percent of the forest in the 19th century. However, the monoculture did not prove to be resistant, so that in 1906 the Jizera Mountains were hit by a plague of nuns for the first time . Bark beetles and hair curlers had a particularly destructive effect in combination with the pollution caused by emissions from lignite mining. The current composition of these forests can be described as 75 percent spruce, 10 percent beech and bare areas or other tree species. It is clear that only small exceptions reflect the original tree population of the mountains. However, forest and nature conservationists are trying to revitalize the original forest, for which funds from the European Union also flow.

In the spruce forests, bilberry , wiry Schmiele , worm fern and other types of moss are typical of the soil. The swallow-root gentian is also common. Real daphne , wild silver leaf , Turkish lily , monkshood and alpine milk lettuce thrive in beech forests .

Most of the moors are covered with rather undemanding peat moss. If the water level of the bog falls, the surface of the bog is hindered so that the growth of dwarf shrubs is encouraged. Furthermore, cranberry , crowberry , bog rosemary , juniper , sedge , cotton grass and sundew found.

The mountain meadows, which have been laid out for 800 years, characterize the Jizera Mountains in a way that seems natural today. In addition to a number of flowering plants, rare species of orchids also thrive on them. Especially on the northern slope of Bukovec there is a large deposit of Trollblume . The ragwort was used by the inhabitants of the mountains as a panacea, which they also sold to Germany when dried.


Originally bears, wolves and lynxes also lived in the Jizera Mountains. However, humans saw them as an economic threat, so the last bear was shot in 1741 and the last wolf around 1800. Furthermore, the ecological catastrophe in the 1980s did not necessarily lead to a decimation of the natural diversity of animal species, but their habitat was severely restricted. Nowadays, however, the remaining animals are looking for new territories. They include the lynx, crane, raven and falcon, but also deer, roe deer, fallow deer and mouflon.

The last wild boar was shot in 1924, but some fled Silesia after the end of the Second World War, so that today they make up a population of several hundred again, especially in the area of Frýdlant v Čechách .

In the past, capercaillie and black grouse also belonged to the hunted game of the mountains, of which only the black grouse survived. Their habitat are the plateaus with the moors. Other bird species of the mountain are owl , boreal owl , black redstart , pied flycatcher , spotted flycatchers , nuthatches , tree pipit and chickadees . Sometimes black stork , black and green woodpecker , dipper and white wagtail can also be found. Due to the ecological catastrophe, the number of buzzards and hawks in particular fell , but there are conservationists who have set up wooden boxes, so that an increase in the population has been recorded.

Smaller mammals are the common shrew, small shrew, mountain shrew, wood mouse, dormouse and dormouse. You can also meet fox and pine marten. Salamanders, ground beetles, longhorn beetles and stag beetles are particularly common in the beech forests. Butterflies typical of the mountains are nail spot, Limenitis archippus and mourning cloak.

Spiders, dragonflies and beetles mainly characterize the fauna of the bogs, such as the wolf spider, the high-moor flat-leaf grasshopper Agonum ericeti , the small ground beetle Patrobus assimilis and the swimming beetle.

Mountain streams, ponds and reservoirs are rich in a wide variety of fish. Fish farming began in the 17th century. The Šolc fishpond near Raspenava dates from this period . Wallenstein promoted this and had new hydraulic structures built. In the upper mountains the inhabitants hunted the brown trout. The brook trout was released in the reservoirs, but the population of the reservoir at the Černá Nisa died out in 1949 due to the sudden thaw. In the 1960s, water acidification led to general fish deaths. It was not until the 1990s that some fish species were reintroduced to the waters.

There are seven species of bats , hundreds of which overwinter in old overflow tunnels and mine tunnels.


Early history

Before the Second World War, archaeologists dug up fragments of vessels at the Hruškové Skály that probably date back to the late Stone Age. Finds of a similar nature were found both on the Pohanské Kameny in the Friedland region ( Frýdlant v Čechách ) and on the Chlum near Raspenau ( Raspenava ), where axes and other implements from the period between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC were discovered. It is unclear whether these are of Germanic, Slavic or Celtic origin.

middle Ages

Initially, Sorbian Slavs settled in what is now Friedland ( Frýdlant v Čechách ). Place names like Černousy or Horní Řasnice remind of this. It was also Lusatian Sorbs who worshiped the deity Flins in what is now the Polish part , after whom the white quartz rocks on the Wysoki grzbi were named. Intensive settlement of the Bohemian foreland began in 1278, when the von Bieberstein family acquired the castle in Friedland (Frýdlant v Čechách) and brought German colonists into the country. On the streams they built the half-timbered houses typical of the Germans. Behind them were the strip-shaped fields ("tub"). These so-called won settlements determine the image of the villages in the Friedland area to this day.

In close proximity, Reichenberg ( Liberec ) was founded under the reign of the Friedland nobility - the church has been attested since 1532. While agriculture was increasingly practiced in the northern area, textile production developed in addition to pasture farming due to the less fertile soil in the Reichenberg area.

The area of ​​Gablonz ( Jablonec nad Nisou ) was administered partly by the Hradiště monastery and partly by the Bohemian nobility. After 1300, the first churches were built in the southern foothills in villages such as Reichenau ( Rychnov u Jablonce nad Nisou ), Držkov or Zlatá Olešnice u Tanvaldu . The Hussite Wars in the 15th century interrupted settlement in the higher areas of the mountains.

Early modern times / 16. – 17. century

In the 16th century, traces of human activity can be found in both the Bohemian and the Silesian parts, which are largely due to tin mining, especially under the reign of Melchior von Redern , but also to the economic use of the forests. The rafting industry also found its way into the mountains. Both branches of the economy led to a densification of the population. In addition, the search for precious stones attracted, so that the place Klein Iser ( Jizerka ) became popular as a gemstone burial settlement . Because of the finds there were disputes about the border between the lords of Friedland and Navarov ( Návarov Castle ).

From the 16th century onwards, glass production also developed into a large branch of industry , through which the area's population continued to grow. Associated with this was deforestation of the mountains. The first glassworks were in the forest near Grünwald ( Mšeno nad Nisou ; 1548), Labau (Huť, see Pěnčín u Jablonce nad Nisou ; 1558), Reiditz (Rejdice, see Kořenov ; 1577) and Friedrichswald ( Bedřichov u Jablonce nad Nisou ; 1598).

At the beginning of the 17th century, the name Wallenstein was inevitably associated with the mountains . After him, the area was divided between the generals Matthias Gallas and Nikolaus von Desfours , whose families owned large estates until the 20th century. In the course of their rule, glass production expanded, which resulted in the reforestation of the monoculture spruce. Many former lumberjacks and weavers also found new jobs in glass production.

Likewise, after the Battle of White Mountain in the first decades of the 17th century, many Bohemian exiles found a new home in the Silesian and Lusatian part of the mountains. Among other things, they founded the places Groß Iser (Polish Izera ) and Schwarzbach (Polish Czerniawa-Zdrój ), which are now part of the municipality of Bad Flinsberg (Polish Świeradów-Zdrój ).

18.-20. century

multi-storey mountain house, formerly a glassblower villa

Even if there has been an economic rise in the previous centuries, it was at the expense of the population. It was inevitable that at the end of the 18th century the tensions that had arisen in the Friedland area ( Frýdlant v Čechách ) were released through peasant uprisings. Nevertheless, in the 19th and 20th centuries, the foothills in particular developed into an extremely industrialized area. Many factories still bear witness to this time. Canals were built to them, which led the water to drive textile machines.

In the region of Gablonz ( Jablonec nad Nisou ) the production of glass took on a remarkable industrial scale. On the one hand, a number of huts were built, on the other hand, the emergence of the manufacture of jewelery goods can be observed in Kleinskal ( Malá Skála ) and Morchenstern ( Smržovka ) . Glassworks were also built in the Silesian area, for example in Karlsbad (Polish Orle ) or in Schreiberhau (Polish Szklarska Poręba ).

The mountain huts and lookout towers built with the development of tourism , which began in the 19th century, were initially the destinations of rich sections of the population, but over time more and more workers' associations organized trips to the mountains.

From 1900 onwards there were conflicts between nationalist Germans and Czechs in Bohemia, which intensified especially after the First World War. An expression of this was the proclamation of the province of German Bohemia on October 29, 1918 in response to the one day earlier founding of Czechoslovakia . This also includes the reprisals against the Czech population, so that they left the area after the military occupation of the Sudetenland by the German Reich as a result of the Munich dictate in 1938.

After the Second World War was a result of the Benes decrees of the majority of Germans from Bohemia marketed . As a result, many villages remained uninhabited and a number of production sites came to a standstill. The end of the centuries-old traditions of the Jizera Mountains was sealed. It was not until the end of the 1960s that the villages began to be revitalized, when both the foothills of the mountains and Prague converted the traditional houses into weekend houses, thus helping to preserve the basic architectural substance.

The year 1945 also marked a significant turning point for the Silesian region. This part was now under the Polish administration. The German population was evacuated. In addition, the development of a lively tourism proved to be difficult in the following decades, as it was forbidden to cross borders on hiking trails. Many huts and inns fell into disrepair, so that only agriculture could establish itself.

The ecological catastrophe that began in the 1980s did not prevent people from taking advantage of winter sports, especially in Bohemia. In addition, after the collapse of the communist regime, mountain huts, inns and other facilities opened their doors not only to employees, but to all tourists. An important branch of the Czech Republic was able to establish itself and give the mountains a corresponding character. This was supported by the opening of the Czech-Polish border. International cooperation in the field of tourism is already showing good results.


In terms of tourism, the Jizera Mountains are primarily open to winter sports, hiking and cycling. Centers for downhill skiers are located on Tanvaldský Špičák (Tannwalder Spitzberg) in Albrechtice (Albrechtsdorf) and in Bedřichov (Friedrichswald).

For cross-country skiers , the Jizera Mountains run on the Jizera Magistrale over 50 km , which has been taking place every January since 1968 . It has been held since 1971 as Memorial Expedition Peru 70 in memory of the Czech mountaineering expedition that crashed in 1970 on Huascarán in the Peruvian Andes . It was initially co-organized by Gustav Ginzel .

A lot of information about glass production in the mountains can be found in the Glass and Jewelery Museum in Jablonec nad Nisou (Gablonz) as well as in the former Liščí bouda (fox hut) in Kristiánov (Christiansthal), the "Glass Heart of the Mountains". In Kristiánov (Christiansthal), not far from the museum, there is an impressive cemetery for many glazier families. The Nová Louka hunting lodge (Neuwiese) is also significant for the history of glass production and a tourist magnet .

In the Silesian part of the mountains, the medicinal springs in Świeradów-Zdrój (Bad Flinsberg) are the main destination for guests. In addition, hikes on the Sępia Góra (Great Geierstein) or on the Smrk (table spruce) are popular in the summer months, and some ski lifts open in winter.

Significant mountains

Rocks on the top of Jizera

Major moors

  • Velká jizerká louka in the Rašeliniště Jizery nature reserve
  • Na Čihadle
  • Černá jezírka ( Black Ponds )
  • Rybí loučky
  • Malá jizerská louka
  • Klečové louky
  • Vlčí louka ( Wolf Meadow )

See also:



  • Walther Dressler: The Silesian Mountains Volume 1: Giant and Jizera Mountains, Bober-Katzbach Mountains, Landeshuter Bergland. Storm travel guide. Berlin 1931.
  • Lillian Schacherl: The Jizera Mountains. In: Bohemia - cultural image of a landscape. Prestel-Verlag, Munich 1966, pp. 231–248.
  • Bernhard Pollmann: Giant Mountains with Jizera Mountains. Rother hiking guide. Munich 1996, ISBN 3-7633-4222-2 .
  • Marek Řeháček: The Jizera Mountains. Hiking guide through the mountains and its surroundings. First edition published by Kalendář Liberecka, 2003, ISBN 80-239-2300-5 .
  • Karlheinz Blaschke: History of Saxony in the Middle Ages. Verlag CH Beck, Munich and Union Verlag, Berlin 1990.
  • Pavel Akrman (Ed.): Jizerské hory včera a dnes - The Jizera Mountains yesterday and today. 2nd edition, TAVA books, Liberec 2005.
  • Erich Huyer: Jizera Mountains. Augsburg 1979, ISBN 7-100-11213-3 .

Web links

Commons : Jizera Mountains  - Collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Friedrich Klockmann : Klockmanns textbook of mineralogy . Ed .: Paul Ramdohr , Hugo Strunz . 16th edition. Enke , Stuttgart 1978, ISBN 3-432-82986-8 , pp. 517 (first edition: 1891).