I’m going to make a guess that the Czech Republic’s Crystal Valley is not on your bucket list. In this post, I’m going to tell you why it’s worth visiting and what kind of travelers should consider a trip there.
This summer I had the amazing opportunity to visit the countries of Central Europe (Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary) as a guest of the tourism departments of these countries. They wanted to show a select group of travel advisors the tourism potential of these countries.
The first stop on the trip was the Czech capital of Prague. Unfortunately, due to airline issues this summer, my trip was delayed by 2.5 days and I arrived in Prague around 11 pm on the last night. 🙁 (I guess I’ll just have to go back.) But, I was very fortunate that I didn’t miss the Czech Republic entirely. We still had a stop in the Czech Republic’s Crystal Valley planned on our way to Poland.
The Czech Republic’s Crystal Valley, in the region of Bohemia, is known for its glass and jewelry production. It’s been produced there for hundreds of years. You may have heard of Bohemian Glass or Bohemia Crystal. This is where it comes from. The Crystal Valley is also a beautiful, mountainous region. So, let’s get on with the good stuff–what you can do there.
1. View the world’s largest collection of jewelry
What?! The world’s largest collection of jewelry is in some city in the Czech Republic that you’ve never heard of?! Yes, that’s correct! It’s in the city of Jablonec nad Nisou.
Why there? Many of the glass artisans in Jablonec nad Nisou specialize in the production of glass jewelry. The artisans there started by copying some of the techniques of jewelry makers in Venice, Italy, but then improved them and developed their own style. They invented cut glass beads which look like gemstones but are a much more affordable option than the real thing.
A museum in Jablonec nad Nisou displays the best of its collection of jewelry, which is the world’s largest.
Many different styles and types of jewelry have been produced in the region. I absolutely love these flower brooches and earrings that were made between 1855 and 1860.
I also love this jewelry that looks like opals.
I should have warned you that I took a LOT of photos in this museum. Everything was so beautiful!! Here are some beads.
I found out that buttons are considered jewelry. They also have the world’s largest collection of buttons.
And here’s an artistic display of bangle bracelets.
There were also displays that show the tools used to craft beads and jewelry.
2. View the world’s largest collection of glass Christmas ornaments.
The same museum also has the largest public collection of glass Christmas ornaments-more than 15,000 pieces. This exhibition is named the World of Wonders (WOW), and yes, you will be wowed!
You might know that I collect Christmas ornaments on my travels, so I was very excited to see this exhibit.
They had so many different kinds of glass ornaments. I have seen pickle ornaments before, but I don’t remember ever seeing a broccoli ornament before, and this museum had three different broccoli ornaments!
In addition to jewelry and Christmas ornaments, there were also displays of other glass pieces. The technique used on this crystal vase reminded me of some vases and wine glasses I purchased the first time I visited the Czech Republic, back in 1995.
And the detail on this antique is just incredible.
No matter which way I turned, there were pretty things to see all over the museum. And pretty things make me happy. 🙂
I love this figurine of Winston Churchill.
While there were lots of antiques, there were also some very modern designs.
3. Get creative in a glass or jewelry workshop
All of that creative inspiration from the museum fueled us at our next stop, where we participated in a couple of workshops.
We were able to watch an artist produce bird ornaments from glass tubes. It was fascinating to watch.
After she shaped the ornaments, each of us got to paint one.
Then we got to make a bracelet from their selection of beautiful glass beads.
4. Shop for beautiful (and affordable!) jewelry made in the Crystal Valley
After satisfying my creative urge, I looked forward to shopping for some souvenirs. For crafters who like to make their own jewelry, they had lots of beads to choose from.
I preferred to buy jewelry that was already made for me. I fell in love with this collection of glass ball jewelry. They almost look like bubbles.
And, of course, they had Christmas ornaments for sale too, but I forgot to take a picture of those. Here are the items that I brought home with me.
5. Tour a Crystal Valley glass-making factory
Perhaps because I used to be an engineer in a manufacturing plant, I love factory tours. So, I was thrilled when I found out we were going to visit a Bohemian Glass factory.
They had several glass ovens fired up and in use.
It was fascinating to watch the artists at work. We watched from a catwalk above the factory floor.
In a different building, we watched another worker grind designs into the glass. All of their grinding wheels were water-powered, which was really interesting.
They showed us a selection of the gorgeous products they make in this factory.
6. Go hiking in this beautiful region
Our final stop in the Czech Republic’s Crystal Valley was at a charming restaurant in the mountains.
We enjoyed some incredible views while we ate. We didn’t have enough time to go hiking, but the next time I am back in this region, I am definitely going hiking. So pretty!
I thoroughly enjoyed my brief visit to the Czech Republic’s Crystal Valley. The people and businesses there are very welcoming to travelers. I think it would be an excellent destination for couples and families. I also think it would make an excellent girlfriends’ getaway trip. I think many of my friends would have an outstanding time here.
Are you interested in visiting the Czech Republic’s Crystal Valley?
I can help make it happen. Read about how my services work here. If you think we might be a good fit for each other, send me an email and we’ll schedule a Zoom call to get started.