A Phenomenon of Bohemian Glass
Updated: Feb 27
Are you thinking about the right souvenir which you want to bring from the Czech Republic? Or are you just genuinely interested in the traditional bohemian handcraft which conquered the world? Read about the traditional Bohemian glassmaking and find some tips for your next visit!
Glassmaking has a very long history in the Czech countries. Glass was processed here since the time of the Celts already, at the beginning of Christian calendar. The wild beech forests, river streams and the sand in the Czech basins offered the ideal conditions for the first glassworks which were established mostly in the mountainous areas of Šumava, Krkonoše, and Jizerské hory. The beech wood was used in the furnaces for melting glass as the fuel and also for the production of the wooden forms used in the process. In the 14th century, during the reign of Roman emperor and Czech king Charles IV, mostly the window-glass fabrication prevailed for the churches and cathedrals, but also for town houses. The popularity of the Bohemian glass has permanently increase during the 16th and 17th century under Emperor Rudolf II. At that time Bohemia became the center of glass artists and many new processes and techniques were explored.
The next biggest boom of the production occurred in the 18th century when the production of crystal glass developed in the Czech Lands. Bohemian crystal became unique and well appreciated worldwide. By the time, Bohemian crystal chandeliers could be found in the palaces of the French king Louis XV, Maria Theresa, empress of Austria and Elizabeth of Russia. The 19th century brought the Industrial Revolution and the ability to mass-produce. Bohemian crystal became easier to produce, sell and export. Also, by the middle of the 19th century, Czechs established several schools of glassmaking throughout the country and they taught the skill in other states. Despite the devastating two world wars and the iron curtain in the former Czechoslovakia in 20th century, the crystal production was maintained and many excellent works turned out very well. Finally, after the 1989 the worldwide market opened again and Bohemian crystal started to be exported again.
If you are interested in the excursion in the Bohemian class factory or if you simply want to buy some not overpriced items of good quality, here are some tips where to go:
1. Moser Visitor Center in Karlovy Vary
Factory museum that covers the 150-year history of the famous glassmaking firm which poses over 2,000 pieces on display. You can buy souvenirs here or just learn about the history and the process of glassmaking.
2. Glass museum Huť Jakub Tasice
The glasswork in Tasice was founded in 1796 and it is the oldest preserved glasswork complex in Central Europe, nowadays it serves as a museum. It is situated in the region of Vysočina, not far away from Prague.
3. Ajeto Glass Lindava
Here, you can get to know the process of glassmaking really closely. This glasswork produce a luxurious and exclusive glass which can be seen in art galleries around the world. You can make a tour here and see the work of the masters and later on relax in glass restaurant Ajeto in Nový Bor.
4. Glassworks Novosad in Harrachov
This glassworks is the second oldest in Bohemia. Nowadays it contains a glass museum, a microbrewery with a restaurant and a hotel with a beer spa! The glasswork was founded in the early 18th century and it features a historic glass cutting room powered by transmissions and water turbine!
5. Crystal Bohemia glasswork in Poděbrady
Not far from Prague, this place offers a great excursion. You can learn here about the glassmaking history and the whole process. Definitely recommended!