A look at the history of the watching tower Kopanina
The watching tower Kopanina was built on the hill of the same name, located on the boarders of the Bohemian Paradise and Jizera mountains, in 1894. The construction was realized by the Czech Tourist Club according to the project of Ing. František Dub from Turnov. The idea of building the watching tower on the 667 m high hill Kopanina came already in 1892. The Turnov’s branch of the Czech Tourist Club bought the needed estates and collected more than 3000 florins, which they used for realization of the building. In charge of the construction was Mr. Knop from Turnov and the cornerstone was laid on 29th October 1893. The watching tower was completed in spring of the following year and opened in June 1894. The original watching tower had 18 meters and on the top was a roofless crenellation.
The stone watching tower commanded a beautiful view to all the cardinal points and at that time, since the top of the hill wasn’t as wooded as today, it was possible to see the ridge of Ještěd, the Bohemian Paradise with the dominant feature – castle Trosky, and also the Giant and Jizera Mountains with the watching tower in Černá Studnice. But the aim of the construction wasn’t only to build a watching tower with such a beautiful view, but also to create an imaginary “guarding place” between the northern, at those times mainly German populated borderland and southern “Czech” area by the Jizera River and the further inlands.
The ceremonial opening of the watching tower was on Sunday 3rd June. Hundreds of people from the vicinity and guests attended this event, not even from the areas nearby but also from Prague, from where was even set up a special train, carrying the delegates from the central and regional branches of the Czech Tourist Club. It is said, that during the first day more than 400 people visited the tower and the daily takings were 20 florins.
The watching tower was for a few years after its opening called “Paclt’s” – after Čeněk Paclt, an enthusiastic promoter of hiking, living in Turnov. However, the name didn’t get as much popular among the public as expected, and in the end was the tower named after the hill on which it stands – Kopanina.
In 1936 was the tower heightened by few meters and got a glass extension and roofing which has remained the same till today, so the current height of the watching tower is 21 meters. After the Second World War administered the tower TJ Sokol Frýdštejn and in 1956 passed the care of the building to local authority in Frýdštejn, which has been taking care of it to date. In the last 20 years is in progress a regular maintenance of the watching tower and also partial needed reconstructions.
We believe, that the watching tower in Kopanina will remain a popular and well-kept destination of tourist visiting Malá Skála region, the Bohemian Paradise and Jizera Mountains.