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The Izery Mountains cover almost 1000 km2, of which about 400 km2 is on the Polish side - almost half of their area*. They form an extensive and wide system of crests, missives and separate peaks. Flat, copula-like tops turning into initially gently and later steep slopes reflect complex geological and tectonic processes which influenced and shaped this mountain range. Divided by deep river and creek valleys, ornamented by sharp rocky edges with, here and there, huge rocky blocks create an unusual landscape. The Izery Mountains are slightly asymmetric and slant towards the south-east. In the same direction, from their north-west part spread major peaks of The Izery Mountains.

Northern slopes, especially of Oldrzychowski and Hejnicki Crest are very steep. Southern ones are much more gentle in their highland part which in the east forms The Karkonosze Mountains. Vast areas of The Izery form wide and flat upper parts, covered by grasslands and dwarf mountain pine. The biggest one is Izerska Łąka [The Izerska Grassland] meandered by the river Izera. It is probably one of the most extraordinary rivers in Poland, since its top part looks like a bottom one in case of other rivers. Such peculiarities make The Izery Mountains an outstanding region which has to be visited by all means!

The Izery Mountains are characterized by a complex formation. Geologists associate it with Izerski metamorphic form. This geological formation is joined and transformed into another one – the crystalline form of The Karkonosze and The Izery Mountains constituring both The Karkonosze and part of the Czech Izery Mountains.
Polish part of The Izery is mainly rich in gneiss, granite-gneiss and mica slates. There is a small quarry in the valley where pyrites used to be excavated.
However, among typical rocks there are also hidden more precious rocks stones for people: quartz in its pure form, tourmalines, garnets, tin and cobalt ore, some gold and many others.
A few places found on The Izery Mountains map turned out exceptionally generous. The Walloons pointed to Wieczorny Zamek (Zwalisko) [The Dark Castle (The Rubble)], Jagnięcy Potok [Lamb’s Creek], Złota Jama [The Golden Cave] and Dolina Małej Kamiennej [Small Kamienna River Valley].
However, the most famous from its “treasures” was the estuary of Šafirovy Creek to Jizerka River along Small Izerska Grassland. The list of minerals occuring there is long: amphiboles, apatites, diopsites, tytanites, amethysts, aventurines, chalcedonies, beryls, mountain crystals, garnets, zircons, tourmalines and black ilmenites also called izerynes. Recordings from 1845 confirm that izerynes were the major source of income for Jizerka and Gross-Izer area inhabitants. Women and children were picking them from creeks and streams in order to sell them to mourning jewellery craftsmen in Berlin or Dresden. The most precious, but at the same time the most rarely occurring minerals in The Izery Mountains are rubies andsapphires. However, if found the stones are up to 1 cm in size and are famous for their unique beauty all over Europe.

Practically pure quartz turns out to be the mineral of most important industrial significance in Polish part of The Izery Mountains. It is found in the form of several hundred meters wide and 10 km long vein. It is the closest to the surface at the top of Biały Kamień [The White Rock] (1088 m above sea level). The excavation of quartzite in this place commenced as early as in the 13th century and until recently was continued in “Stanisław” mine. Till 1902 it was used for the production of crystal glass in local glass factories.

Another great resource of this area are mountain water springs spouting from the inside of the mountains. Creek and river springs in The Izery are abundant in delicious water. However, the most valuable ones are mineral waters. There are a few mountain resorts in The Izery Mountains characteristic for mineral, therapeutic waters. The Czech part is proud of their spring waters inVratislavice nad Nisou, in Libverda Láznie and nearby Nowe Miasto pod Smrekiem [New Town at the foot of Smrek] in the valley of Zatracèny potok [The Lost creek]. On the Polish side radon oxalates (very rare in Poland) occur in the area of tectonic downcast near Świeradów Zdrój, while waters rich in magnesium have their springs near Czerniawa Zdrój. Probably there are more of them, but they have not been detected so far.

Mineral composition of springs in Świeradów and Czerniawa is quite rich and has therapeutic value. Despite slight metallic taste of the water it is quite good, therefore while visiting the walking hall in the Resort House of Świeradów it is worth to take a sip or even empty a glass.

Climatic conditions of The Izery Mountains distinguish them from other Sudeten ranges. Exceptional annual level of rainfall, up to 1600mm, is the highest in the whole range of The Sudety Mountains. It is important that rainfalls are evenly spread all over the year which makes The Izery permanently wet and snowy.

Snow cover is unusually thick, 150cm on average. In the range central part, where wide plateau areas occur – around Orle, Izerska Łąka [The Izerska Grassland], Mala jizerska louka, Velká klečová louka, the area of Rozdroże pod Cichą Równiną[Cross-roads at the foot of Quiet Plain] – it is up to 4 meters. Owing to low temperatures snow cover persists very long: from November till May, but there happen Summers when the last patches of snow melt as late as in June.

Landscape and water conditions result in frequent fogs. At night cold air often comes down from upper mountain parts and persists for a long time in land pits. At Izerska Łąka [The Izerska Grassland] it results in the, so called, areas of cold air draining, very peculiar for this region and not observed at such scale anywhere else in Poland.

Big temperature amplitudes within 24h frequently exceed 25°C. Even in the middle of summer the temperature at dawn drops below zero!
It is a very harsh climate. Not surprisingly Izerska Łąka [The Izerska Grassland] is sometimes called “small Syberia” and Jakuszyce “Jakucja” [“Yakutsk region”] (but may be it is just the phonetic similarity).

*) For comparison the area of Wrocław amounts to 293 km2, of Warsaw 518 km2 and of The Karkonosze Mountains 650 km2 (of which 185 km2 in Poland).

more on the side of Jizera www.goryizerskie.pl
See pictures in the gallery of the author Zygmunt Trylański

Jizera News - Summer 2012 [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 7.02 MB]