Jáchymov mining town


Historical records of ore mining in the Ore Mountains begin in 1168, when silver ores were discovered in the vicinity of today's Freiberg. More than 800 years of mining history of the Ore Mountains are based on this discovery.

The successful economic development of Jáchymov in the 16th century led to the development of its outstanding urban architecture, featuring copious late Gothic and Renaissance period buildings. It was here where the first purely Protestant church (St. Joachim’s church) was built within the Kingdom of Bohemia and Europe. Likewise of outstanding importance are the former Royal Mint, the town hall, All Saints Hospital church, as well as a series of burgher houses set in the historic centre.

Royal Mint (Královská mincovna)

The Royal Mint, located next to the town hall in the upper part of the town, is an extraordinary testimony to all periods of Jáchymov mining. From 1520 until 1671, it was a seat of a mint where the famous thalers were minted. From 1538 until 1918 the building also housed apartments and offices of the Supreme Mining Office. In 1716, the world’s first state mining vocational school was established here. In 1918, the building became the head office of the state Jáchymov uranium mines. From 1946, it served briefly as the head office of the Czech-Soviet uranium mining company, Jáchymovské doly (Jáchymov Mines). From 1964, the building houses the Jáchymov branch of the Karlovy Vary Museum.

The corner of the Royal Mint is still dominated by a beautiful oriel window with intersecting bars and a date of completion: 1536. The entrance portal leads to a vaulted hall with a passageway to inner arcade courtyards that originally housed the mint shops. Of the original technical equipment of the mint, the structure of the furnace for silver melting and a massive hood have been preserved. Under the building, large cellars with barrel vaults have been preserved, partially originating from the former mint of the Schlick lords. A two-chambered blacksmith’s furnace has also been found here that was part of the mint in the 16th century.

All Saints Hospital Church (Špitální kostel Všech svatých)

Founded in 1516, the All Saints hospital church is the oldest half-timbered religious building in the western Ore Mountains. In the interior of the church, a number of tombstones and epitaphs of prominent personalities of the 16th century are preserved. Besides royal mint masters, supervisors and mining entrepreneurs, wealthy patricians were buried here, too. Panel paintings on the altarpiece come from the workshop of Lucas Cranach.

St. Joachim Church (kostel sv. Jáchyma)

Built between 1534 and 1540, the St. Joachim church is the first purely Lutheran church in the lands of the Czech Crown. It is a testimony to the work of Johannes Mathesius (1504-1565), a pupil of Luther and Melanchthon and from 1542 Protestant pastor in the St. Joachim church, whose collection of sermons “Sarepta oder Bergpostill” (published in 1562) represents the first effort ever to educate the simple audience of miners in the field of mining and related areas. After the disastrous fire of the town in 1873, the church was restored to form a three-aisled nave based on the design by a prominent Czech architect, Josef Mocker.

Town Hall

Historically, the building consisted of two parts, the older Schlick (or Alnpeck) house from 1520–1528, and the added town hall wing with a massive tower (1538–1544). For centuries, it has been the seat of the local government of the free royal mining town.

Town House No. 4: A two-storey building with an exceptionally well-preserved Renaissance core dating back to around 1520 was originally owned by prominent princes of Bohemia, Wilhelm and Peter Wok von Rosenberg (Rožmberk).

Town House No. 8: The house dates back to the first stage of the development of the upper town at around 1520; it is attributed to the founder of the town, Stephan Schlick.

Town House No. 126: A house dating back to the mid-16th century belonged to burgrave Johann Müller.

Town house No. 131: This house dating back to ca. 1520 housed the first pharmacy in Bohemia from 1526. It was very probably in this house where Georgius Agricola lived between 1527 and 1530 when he was employed as Jáchymov’s town pharmacist and physician and became acquainted with the principles of mining.

Town House No. 143: Now two-story but originally a three-story house, dating back to the earliest period of Jáchymov at around 1520 when it belonged to the Inspector of Mines, Heinrich von Könneritz.