Bohemian Paradise (Czech: Český ráj) is a Protected Area. It was declared in 1955 as the first nature reserve in the Czech Republic. At first it was 95 square kilometres in area; today it is almost 182. This area is in the north of Bohemia and north-eastward from the capital city Prague. Borders of this district are not given, but there are some towns which could demarcate rough borders, for example, Turnov, Jičín and Mnichovo Hradiště. This piece of land is popular thanks to a beautiful and varied countryside. There are a lot of places which should be seen. People can go for a walk and admire many natural beauties; they can drive to many castles, chateaus, ruins, museums, and other sights.
The Bohemian Paradise truly refl ects the historical development of the Bohemian basin. Travelling around the Bohemian Paradise you shouldn’t miss the symbol of this region, the castle Trosky. Moreover, you should see the castles Kost, Valdštejn or Hrubý Rohozec in the Turnov region, Humprecht in the Sobotka region, or the majestic castles Sychrov and Mnichovo Hradiště.
Albrecht of Valdštejn, a controversial personality of Czech history, played a signifi cant role in the development of the Bohemian Paradise. A warrior, conqueror and looter on the one hand, an extraordinary builder, enlightened ruler and a rich patron on the other. Owing to this man, the baroque scenery of the Jičín region started to develop, with the town of Jičín becoming the architectural pearl of the Bohemian Paradise. To fi nd out more about the charismatic Albrecht of Valdštejn when travelling around the region, make use of a special guide book called “Following the steps of Albrecht of Valdštejn” („Po stopách Albrechta z Valdštejna“).
Apart from historic buildings, castles and chateaux, the Bohemian Paradise is also popular for its very specifi c vernacular architecture. The local half-timbered houses contribute greatly the picturesque atmosphere of the country.