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Tabibito's Czech-travelogue

  • Name: Liberec. The German name, quite common as well, is completely different: Reichenberg.

  • Location: Liberec is around 90 km north-northeast of →Prague. Both the German and the Polish border are only 20 km away. The town is sandwiched between the Ještěd (German: Lausitzer) mountains and the Jizera (Iser) mountains - both of them more than 1000 m high. Between the mountain ranges, the Lužická Nisa (Lausitzer Neisse) river flows northwards, where it marks the border between Poland and Germany. Liberec and the surroundings belong to the Polish-Czech-German Euroregion Neisse.

  • Orientation: Liberec has around 100,000 inhabitants and therefore it's the sixth biggest city of the Czech republic. The main train station is quite far away from the centre. To get to the centre, you need to walk down the broad 1. máje (1st May) street to the north-east for a while. This part of the town is called Nové Město (new town). After crossing the bridge over the Nisa (Neisse) river, you will see the dům kultury (house of culture) and a large Tesco shopping center to the right. The main bus terminal is right behind the shopping center. To the left, two ascending streets, the Pražská (Prague) str. and the Moskevská (Moscow) str., both of them pedestrian zones, lead to the central square called Benešovo nám. (Beneš-square). The area around the square is Liberec' Staré Město (old city) with many beautiful buildings, shops and restaurants. In the right corner in the back, the tourist information can be found. The old city underwent a massive face-lift during the last years, which was worthwile. Today, the centre of Liberec is a lovely and pleasant place.

  • History: Liberec was first mentioned in 1352, but remained a small settlement for a king time. It was mostly used by travelling merchants as a place for a rest. In the 15th and 16th century, Liberec became a small town. The real boom started in the 19th century thanks to the massive industrialisation of the area. Mainly the textile industry developed quickly, and so Liberec was even the second biggest city of Bohemia, only outdone by →Prague of course. After 1900, around 50 textile factories, 60 metal processing factories and one car producer settled in Liberec.
    Today, the town is favourite with day-trippers from near Saxony. To push international cooperation and the economy, the Euro-Region Neisse was founded some years ago. The area includes the region around Liberec, Jelenia Góra and surroundings in Poland and Görlitz in Germany.

  • Liberec (Reichenberg)
    The beautiful city hall of Liberec...
    Liberec (Reichenberg)
    ...looks splendid at night

  • Sights: When you walk through the centre, you will definitely stumble across the huge city hall facing the main square. This beautiful neo-renaissance building was planned by F. Neumann and built between 1888 and 1893. The middle tower is 65 m high. The lit-up city hall at night is an attraction of its own.
    The buildings behind the city hall are very nice as well - among them, there is a big theatre. Additionally, Liberec offers a zoo, a botanical garden, a small palace built in the 16th century and now used as a glass museum, and much more. All in all Liberec is worth to stay a day or two.
    The 1011 high and very distinctive Mt. Ještěd (Jeschken) is almost as famous as the city itself. The mountain itself is nothing special, but the white, cone-shaped tower on top of the mountain makes an excellent landmark. The structure houses a hotel and telecommunication facilities.

  • Liberec (Reichenberg)
    The theatre behind the city hall
    Liberec (Reichenberg)
    The Jeschken south-west of Liberec is a famous landmark

  • Getting there: The train connections are not the best. Although Liberec is less than 100 km away from →Prague, the fastest connection takes an incredibly 2¾ hours! I guess buses are much faster. There's a local train from Liberec to Zittau in Eastern Germany. It takes 35 minutes only, the fare is 93 Kč per person. It's necessary to change trains in Zittau if you're heading for Dresden.

  • Accommodation: Liberec offers the usual choice of hotels and pensions, but not many visitors stay in town overnight, and so it's more expensive than in other cities except for Prague. The cheapest option is the Unihotel. The Unihotel is part of the University of Technology. One floor of the building is reserved for guests. Very basic but clean rooms with bathroom and toilet cost 300 Crowns per person in a double and 350 in a single. It's only ten minutes to the city hall on foot. The building faces the Voroněžská-Street and can't be missed. However, it's better to refer to the tourist information first, since they can check whether there are beds available in the dorm. If not, they will gladly offer alternatives.
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