The town was founded in the 13th century by Jaroslav and Havel from the Markvartic family on a headland above Jizera river. It developed into an important center of trade and crafts. Cutting of precious stones and unique production of jewels from the Bohemian garnets made Turnov world-wide known. In 1884 Secondary school of Applied Arts was founded here as the only one of this kind in the whole Europe. Several times reconstructed Renaissance town hall from 1526 has been preserved. The Gothic church of St. Nicholas from the 14th century was reconstructed in the Renaissance style and finally in the Baroque style in 1722. The Neo-Gothic church of the Virgin Mary from the 19th century with an unfinished tower is the dominant of the town. The Church of St. Francis from Assisi from the 17th century was burnt down several times and finally reconstructed at the beginning of the 19th century. The town´s theatre from 1872- 1874 is a reduced-size copy of the Prozatimní theatre in Prague. There is a huge exposition of precious stones, jewels, geology, archeology, history and ethnography in the Museum of the Bohemian Paradise and also a seat of the administration of the Bohemia Paradise.
In this museum you can find a unique collection of precious stones from Czech and international sites, exhibitions about the past and present of gem processing in Turnov, including gold-smith work. The museum has collected documents about the mineral and cultural wealth of the region since 1886. There is a jewel case of Czech garnet, an exhibition of significant personalities of the region and folk culture of central Jizera river. Arranged in the gallery are exhibitions of creative arts, regional history, ethnography, mineralogy and stone masonry. The most famous exhibit is certainly the panoramic painting „Pobití Sasíků pod Hrubou Skálou“ (The Massacre of the Saxons under Hrubá Skála) – one of the largest oil paintings in Europe. The painting is 10 x 8.5 metres in dimensions and was painted by M. Aleš, V. Jansa, V. Mašek and V. Bartoněk. The museum is the organizer of many traditional folk celebrations and events enlivening the craft tradition of the region.