The town of Semily lies at the foot of the mythical Kozákov, a hill wreathed in legend, where the River Jizera meets the Oleška. It lies in a large basin, surrounded by the hills of the Podkrkonošská pahorkatina Uplands. The first written mention of Semily dates back to 1352; however, as this is about a church, we may assume that Semily existed long before that.
For centuries Semily was the seat of the nobility. The estate belonged to the Smiřický family for a long time, then to Albrecht von Wallenstein, and after that it was owned by foreign aristocratic families. The remnants of the Semily estate were purchased by the town of Semily in 1890. In the past centuries, Semily saw a boom in agriculture, trade, crafts, small-scale production and then later industry, harnessing the power of the river. Mills were built, as well as factories producing yarn and canvas, printing fabrics and, from 1515, a brewery. In the past much of the town was made of wood and as it was ravaged by several devastating fires, not many of its historical buildings have been preserved.
Thanks to its position Semily is an ideal starting point for trips to the Bohemian Paradise, the southern part of the Jizera Mountains and the Podkrkonoší region.
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