Jičín - Gateway to Paradise
The city of Jičín lies at the southern end of the Bohemian Paradise protected landscape are in eastern bohemia, about 85kms (50 miles) north east of Prague and 45kms (28 miles) west of the regional capital, Hradec Králové.
Jičín’s location, its well- preserved historic centre and the range of amenities for visitors make it a popular base for people visiting the Český ráj (Bohemian Paradise).
Historic old town
Jičín dates from the 14th century, but little remains of the original settlement other than the old gothic church of St Ignatius and the rectangular layout of the main marketplace square. The original houses lining the square have been replaced by buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries, most of which have two or three floors, colourfully painted street frontages and covered walkways behind rows of stone arches.
Lookout tower and Palace
The standout buildings on the square are the 52m high Valdice gate tower, which can be climbed for the views from the lookout platform; and the aristocratic palace from the beginning of the 16th century. In 1620 the palace was all but destroyed by an explosion of gunpowder and ammunition but was rebuilt by the powerful aristocratic warlord (from the time of the thirty-years war) Albrecht of Valdštejn. The palace now takes up almost an entire city block and houses the Jičín city museum and gallery.
Good hotels and pensions
Jičín sees a lot of visitors, and has a good range of hotels and other accommodation, including the three star Hotel Jičín above the restaurant U Dělové Koule, the two star Hotel Paris, Pension Lucie and dozens of other pensions and private rooms scattered around the suburbs and centre of Jičín.
Wide range of restaurants
There are a handful of good restaurants on the main square and some others just outside the Valdice gate. Divá Bára (Wild Barbara’s) is completely non-smoking, and has some Mexican dishes on the menu. Nearby Restaurant U Dělové Koule (at the cannonball) is decorated with memorabilia from the time of the Austro-Prussian war –specifically the battle of Jičín in 1866 and offers good traditional Bohemian food for a reasonable price.
Southern gateway to the Český ráj
For anyone planning only to visit the southern end of the Český ráj, or who likes to not be too far from a good cup of coffee, Jičín is probably the best town to use as a base. The Prachov rocks are only five kilometres away, and Kost and Trosky castles are almost as close to Jičín as they are to the other main town within the Český ráj, Turnov.