You won't find it on the map, but it exists: the Crystal Valley, a unique place where Czech glassmaking traditions were born and have lived for centuries. A charming corner of Czechia with many glass workshops scattered around the Liberec Region like glass beads in the grass stretches from the Jizera and Lusatian Mountains through the Bohemian Paradise UNESCO Geopark to the highest Czech mountains, the Krkonoše.
From Versailles to Dubai: Czech Glass Shines All Over the World
You will find a truly unique glass factory in the Krkonoše Mountains – the oldest, continuously operating glassworks in the world! Glass has been blown in the Novosad & Son Glassworks in Harrachov for more than 300 years!
Three centuries ago, the first chandelier workshop opened and Bohemian crystal chandeliers soon became a worldwide phenomenon. They have found their way to the residences of the most important rulers in the world, including the palace in Versailles, France.And the tradition of luxurious crystal chandelier manufacture continues to live to this day! Czech gems made of glass and crystal shine all over the world thanks to companies such as Preciosa or Lasvit, whose giant chandeliers even illuminate the Dubai underground.
No Need for Precious Stones
Making jewellery is a chapter in itself. Did you know that Czechia is one of the world'sleadingproducersofjewellery and costume jewellery? Local artisans who laid the foundation stone for the world-famous jewellery of Jablonec learned the art of making glass jewellery stones from Venetianmasters. Who wouldn’t know Czech glass beads, created in the Crystal Valley more than 300 years ago? The Museum of Glass and Jewellery in Jablonec nad Nisou has the largest jewellery collection in Czechia and even in Europe. By the way, Daniel Swarovski was born nearby. Yes, THE Swarovski!
The Same Christmas Tree as Everyone Else's? Thanks, But No!
While the jewellery and stone cutting workshops can mostly be found in Bohemian Paradise, the tradition of manufacturing Christmas ornaments from blown pearls is alive in the Krkonoše Mountains. There, in the small village of Poniklá, fine and fragile ornaments of various shapes and colours are created. You won’t find anything like that anywhere else in the world! The ornaments are even inscribed by UNESCO. Would you like to know how these small shiny works of art are made? Or would you like to make your own ornament with your own hands? Visit Rautis in Poniklá!
And if you haven’t had enough of Christmas ornaments, visit the Jablonec museum. You can admire at least a part of the largest collection of Christmas ornaments in the world at the exposition ‘World of Wonders’. WOW!
Put Your Hands (or Lungs) to Work!
Try to blow some glass, make your own jewellery or a UNESCO Christmas ornament!
From Karlovy Vary to the Emperor’s Table
The Liberec Region is definitely the Mecca of Czech glassmaking traditions. However, it is not the only place where glass gems that the whole world admires are made. One of the most famous Czech glassworks can be found in Karlovy Vary. The glass from the famous Moser Glass Factory has mesmerized emperors and kings, emirs and maharajahs! The founder of the glassworks, Ludwig Moser, was even appointed the Viennese imperial court supplier! See the heart of the glassworks and try to engrave some glass during a tour.
If Karlovy Vary is a bit far for you, visit the Moser sales art gallery in Prague, at the Old Town Square.
Glass Perfection Near Prague
The Rückl Glass Factory is synonymous with top quality cut crystal. The Rückl family of glassmakers arrived in Bohemia as early as at the turn of the 18th century! Today, they manufacture glassware as well as various trophies. The most famous trophy is probably the one for the winner of the Miami Open tennis tournament. Roger Federer and Serena Williams own a glass trophy from Nižbor in Central Bohemia. Come have a look at how such artworks are made!
Will Czech Glassmaking Make It to the UNESCO List?
Czechia has joined other candidate countries seeking to have its manual glass production inscribed in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The list could include manual blown production starting with sand and raw glass material production to manual processing methods, such as cutting, engraving, painting or the production of glass rods for jewellery and more. Will Czechia make it to the list? Let’s keep our fingers crossed!