Reservation of darkness
Protected reserve of darkness. The only cross-border area in the world where darkness is safeguarded. That’s JOTO (in Czech), or Jizera Dark Sky Area. View the night sky as you don’t know it. With the perfect conditions, you’ll have the extraordinary spectacle to observe up to 2,000 stars. We’ll prepare this unique experience for you here at Jizerka.
Where you’ ll find the Jizera Dark Sky Area
Along the upper banks of the Jizera River, around the Czech-Polish border, there is an area of protected darkness. Almost 75 km2 of the marked area can be found around the Martinský valley and Václavík’s well, surrounding the village of Jizerka (which is overlooked from the hill of Hotel Jizerka 4) up to the highest peak of the Jizera Mountain Smrk on the Czech side. On the Polish side it continues to Stóg Izerski, surrounds the Great Jizera Meadow and leads to Wysoka Kopa and Kozi Grzbiet.
What makes the Jizera reserve of darkness special
Since October 2009, Czech and Polish nature conservationists have been working together to protect the exceptional darkness of the Jizera Mountains. The darkness here is not disturbed by the typical strong urban light smog, lasers or other artificial lights that humans use to fight the darkness. Cities typically spread their light pollution tens of kilometres away, but in the Jizera Mountains it is successfully contained by the mountain ridges. Even astronomers from the Liberec region come here to observe the stars. For comparison, at Jizerka you can observe 1 to 2 thousand of them with your own eyes. In the city there are usually around 200 and in a big city often less than 20.
Areas of dark sky in the world
The Jizera Reserve is not the only one of its kind in the Czech Republic. You’ll find darker skies in Šumava and western Bohemia. The officially protected areas of night sky in the Czech Republic can be found in Manětín and Beskydy. In Central Europe, you will find similarly fascinating areas in the Poloniny National Park on the Slovak-Polish-Ukrainian border and in Hungary. Worldwide, you will find more than 20 of them, mainly in Canada and the USA.
Why it’s important to protect the dark
Light and darkness are as important to the balance of nature as water or air. However, humans disrupt the natural alternation of light and dark with artificial lighting, which often is not even needed. Lack of darkness and overexposure to artificial light is harmful to all animals, plants and humans. Medical research shows that night lighting can even result in the development of cancer in the body. Headaches, stress or insomnia caused by artificial light affect thousands of people every day. Light pollution is also reflected in economic losses (wasted energy), cultural and aesthetic aspects (starry skies have always inspired works of art) or safety (blinding drivers). Darkness is as important to life on Earth as oxygen in the atmosphere, and everyone should protect it as best they can.
Universe under the telescope
Astronomers from the Liberec region organize viewing events several times a year. The biggest of them is the Day and Night on Jizerka, which traditionally takes place in August. The program will interest everyone in the family from preschoolers to the oldest ones. You will observe the Sun, Moon, Jupiter and Saturn and the more distant universe together with experts who will also lend you large telescopes. If you missed this year’s Day and Night in Jizerka, follow the events of the Liberec Planetarium in iQLandia or the Turnov Observatory.
To make sure that you can enjoy the night sky at Jizerka as much as possible, we’ ve bought telescopes for our guests, which we will be happy to lend you for your romantic evening. Come and enjoy your dinner under the stars at the Jizerka 4.