The town of Liberec, located 112km north of Prague, is the largest and most important town in north Bohemia, located at the foothills of the Giant Mountains and a center for skiing and nature.
Though Liberec has declined somewhat since the days in the 19th century when it was Bohemia's second largest town, it continues to be the queen city of north Bohemia. Settled in the 14th century by German and Flemish merchants, is grew to become a leading producer of textiles, once called the "Manchester of Bohemia." After World War II and the expulsion of a large part of its population, the town declined in popularity, but is still the largest and most important in the region. The old town center still possesses a few nice buildings that can be discovered during a downtown stroll. For instance, the Church of the Holy Cross is a beautiful baroque building dating from the 18th century. The Chapel of Saint Salvador, built in Renaissance style, is also worth seeing, as are some small half-timbered houses dating from the 17th century.
Liberec's Town Hall was designed by Viennese architect F. Neumann in a Flemish Renaissance style. Indeed, it is a copy of Vienna’s town hall. We can admire beautiful stained glasses and visit interiors, a ceremonial room and the view from the tower.
The Liberec Regional Gallery, located in a beautiful neo-Renaissance edifice, is now on UNESCO World Heritage list. Once the residence of the industrialist Liebig, it now houses a gallery with exhibits of Dutch paintings from the 16th to the 18th century, French landscapes and modern Czech artwork (impressionist, cubist and surrealist).Liberec Castle is one of the town's oldest buildings, built in 1582-1587.
Also worth visiting are the Zoological and botanical gardens. At 4500m², the botanical garden contains exhibits of many rare and exotic plants. The Zoo, established in 1929, is the country's oldest. It is home to white tigers and the largest collection of predatory birds in Europe. And if you have had enough history and are looking for entertainment, head to Babylon Center, a veritable city within a city! Babylon features an aquapark, amusement park, bowling, nightclub, rumpus room, laser games, casino and hotel all in one.
Out of town, you can take a cable care to the top of Ješted Mountain, which rises unmistakeably above town. (You can't miss it for its unique mountaintop television antenna, complete with restaurant and hotel, resembling someting like a spaceship.) And if you're here in winter, drop everything and head for the ski slopes.