The town of Jicin lies approx. 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Prague on the main route to the Krkonose mountains. It is the southern gateway to a famous area called Cesky raj ("The Bohemian Paradise"), a large natural reserve known for unspoiled forests and beautiful landscape. In 1998 the town had approx. 17,000 inhabitants. Besides the Town Council, the town as the capital of the District of Jicin (78,000 inhab. / 886 sq.km) is also the seat of the District Council.
The town was founded in the 13th century and its heyday was at the times of Duke Albrecht of Valdstejn (known as Wallenstein, approx. 1590–1620) who planned to build here his residence and make the town the capital of his Duchy. This failed due to the Duke's assassination; however, the town's historical centre was given its present look by Italian architects invited by Wallenstein around the year 1600 to fulfill his grandiose building scheme. This scheme comprised a much larger area and its features can be traced as churches, chapels, monasteries and tree lines around the town.
The town is situated on the intersection of various landscape types: the plains around the river Labe (the Elbe) on the south, the forests and lakes of Cesky Raj on the west and the hilly area on the foots of the Krkonose mountains on the north-east. This makes it and the adjacent area attractive for tourists. The two hills near the town, Zebin on the north and Velis on the south, provide magnificent view all around the region and farther when ascended. The nearby Prachov rocks are bizarre sandstone rock formations, frequently visited also by rock climbers. The land is ideal for bicycling, camping and relaxation. Accommodation is provided in a multitude of guest houses ("penzion") or small hotels.
Jicin and the proximity of unspoiled nature have always attracted artists, especially poetry writers and music composers. Origins of many famous works of art all along Czech history are somehow related to the area. The town has always been rich in cultural life. Jicin also has a long tradition of schools (4 primary + 4 secondary + 2 specialised schools) and the local Gymnasium (a grammar school) is celebrating its 375th anniversary in June 1999.
As for production, the region has always been rather farming-oriented due to the geographical and climatic conditions. Still there are a minority of industrial plants, such as AGS (farming machinery), Dental (teeth and chemicals for medicine), LPH (plastic moulding and pressing) or Kobit (road maintenance machinery). Other large plants are the Krkonosska dairy and CSAD transport service. Besides this, automotive parts (brake pads, brake discs, cylinder linings), plastic windows, machining tools and devices, software, electric switchboards and furniture are produced in Jicin or nearby. – Jicin is located on an intersection of 4 main and 3 smaller routes, making it quite a good location to reach by public transport. There are frequent regular busses to/from Prague, Hradec Kralove and the Krkonose area, and also to Turnov and Semily. Fast trains go to Turnov, Hradec and Prague, though not as often as busses. The area code for Jicin is 0433.
The latest history of town has been connected to the good thief Rumcajs, a famous character created by the illustrator Radek Pilar upon children stories by Vaclav Ctvrtek, a local writer. What should also be mentioned is the nearby prison of Valdice, formerly one of the worst prisons of the past regime. The Russian army troops which had been seated in Jicin for more than twenty years withdrew in 1991.
The town has a good atmosphere and if you want to become familiar enough with the local specialities you can improve your skills in local pubs and restaurants. The town's surroundings are attractive and we are sure that there will always be beautiful places for you to discover during your holiday or on travels in this marvellous region.
back to the English index