The Lusatian Mountains and Ještěd Ridge
The Lusatian Mountains are part of a tranquil, yet very jagged, landscape. Their peaks are of volcanic origin and very often quite sheer, but they rise from gentle ridges. Clean streams flow out of the valleys to picturesque villages with well-preserved rustic architecture, and many mountaintops are crowned with lookout towers and rock observation decks. In the Lusatian Mountains there are several castles and chateaux open to the public, and in the foothills you will find towns with historical centres. Ještěd Mountain overlooks the entire region. Atop it stands a very well-positioned tower – beneath it, Liberec extends to the east, while a sea of forests stretches out to the west. The region is very popular among campers, hikers, cross-country skiers, cyclists and mushroom pickers.
There has not always been a great deal of interest in the Lusatian Mountains. That is why they have remained relatively untouched by the negative impacts of industrial production, the presence of which is very uncommon in the district. Therefore this touristic district is healthy, valuable in terms of natural science, and most of all it is charming to the eye. Dominant volcanic rock mountains, including Luž, Hvozd, Jedlová and Klíč, rise out of the dense forests that cover them.
In many of the smaller villages, beautiful examples of local rustic Lusatian architecture remain well preserved. These include timber or strut-frame structures with trestles, several of which still have slate roofs or slate-panelled walls. In later eras eternit (a brand of roofing and panelling material made of fibres and cement) was used for the same purpose, often in imaginatively coloured adornments.
The 32 kilometre-long Ještěd Ridge has a mountainous to highland surface. Ještěd Mountain is 1012 metres high and its sheer slopes drop down into the Liberec Basin. The residents of Liberec thus have access to a breathtaking natural landscape directly outside the town – they only need to hop on a tram to get to it.
Both the Lusatian Mountains and Ještěd Ridge are interlaced with a very dense network of well-marked hiking trails that allow for many pleasant, short and easy, as well as more challenging, excursions. Keep in mind that those who want to conquer the highest mountain here will work up a good sweat.
Most bike paths run along highways with little traffic, through forests and fields, and along footpaths. Considering the fact that the terrain is relatively jagged, medium-difficulty paths prevail and their steeper sections will easily vanquish casual cyclists. Bike paths here are arranged in such a way that they allow cyclists to become thoroughly acquainted with the countryside and its natural splendour and cultural and historical monuments.
It’s obvious that if a region appeals to mountain bikers, winter tourists will enjoy it as well for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. The most beautiful terrain in the Lusatian Mountains can be found around the Luž and Jedlová Mountains. Also, the area around Ještěd and its ridge offers excellent conditions for all kinds of winter sports, and its slopes leading down towards Liberec form the basis of a very popular ski resort.
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