Jáchymov

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For other places called Joachimsthal, see Joachimsthal (disambiguation).
Coordinates: 50°21′58″N 12°55′24″E / 50.36611°N 12.92333°E / 50.36611; 12.92333
Jáchymov
Údolí Svatého Jáchyma
Town
Joachimsthal-2007-09-04-Muzeum.JPG
Museum
Coat of arms
Country Czech Republic
Region Karlovy Vary
District Karlovy Vary
Commune Ostrov
Elevation 672 m (2,205 ft)
Coordinates 50°21′58″N 12°55′24″E / 50.36611°N 12.92333°E / 50.36611; 12.92333
Area 51.11 km2 (19.73 sq mi)
Population 3,481 (2006-07-03)
Density 68 / km2 (176 / sq mi)
First mentioned 1510
Mayor Vondráček
Timezone CET (UTC+1)
 - summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 362 51 - 363 01
Location in the Czech Republic
Location in the Czech Republic
Wikimedia Commons: Jáchymov
Statistics: statnisprava.cz
Website: www.jachymov.cz

Jáchymov (Czech pronunciation: [ˈjaːxɪmof]; German: Thal originally, later Sankt Joachimsthal or Joachimsthal: "Saint Joachim's Valley") is a spa town in north-west Bohemia in the Czech Republic belonging to the Karlovy Vary Region. It is situated at an altitude of 733 m (2,405 ft) above sea level in the eponymous St. Joachim's valley in the Ore Mountains, close to the border to Germany.

The Joachimsthaler coins minted there in the 16th century became known as thaler for short, with the word "dollar" and similar words for monetary units in many languages deriving from it.

History, mining and coinage[edit]

At the beginning of the 16th century, silver was found in the area of Joachimsthal. The exploitation of this valuable resource caused the place to grow rapidly, and made the Counts von Schlick, whose possessions included the town, one of the richest noble families in Bohemia. The Schlicks had coins minted, which were called Joachimsthalers. They gave their name to the Thaler and the dollar. The fame of Joachimsthal for its ore mining and smelting works attracted the scientific attention of the doctor Georg Bauer (better known by the Latin form of his name, Georgius Agricola) in the late 1520s, who based his pioneering metallurgical studies on his observations made here.

In 1523, the Protestant Reformation began. In the Schmalkaldic War (1546–47) Joachimsthal was occupied for a time by Saxon troops. When in 1621 the Counter-reformation and re-Catholicisation took effect in the town, many Protestant citizens and people from the mountains migrated to nearby Saxony.

Until 1918, the town (named JOACHIMSTHAL before 1898) was part of the Austrian monarchy (Austria side after the compromise of 1867), head of the district with the same name, one of the 94 Bezirkshauptmannschaften in Bohemia.[1]

In the 19th century the town was also the location of a Court, and of an administrative office responsible for mines and iron production. Mining was still significant in this period. It was run partly by state-owned and partly by privately owned firms. In addition to silver ore (of which in 1885 227 zentners [11.35 tonnes] were produced), nickel, bismuth and uranium ore were also extracted. There were also other industries: an enormous tobacco factory employed 1,000 women. In addition, there was the manufacture of gloves and corks and of bobbin lace.

On 31 March 1873 the town almost entirely burnt down.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Dr. Marie Curie discovered, in tons of pitchblende ore containing uraninite from Joachimsthal, the element radium, for which she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Until the First World War this was the only known source of radium in the world.

The first radon spa in the world was founded in Joachimsthal in 1906, joining the famous spas of the region, like Karlsbad, Franzensbad, Marienbad.

In 1929, Dr Löwy of Prague established that 'mysterious eminations' in the mine led to a form of cancer. Ventilation and watering measures were introduced, miners were given higher pay and longer vacations, but death rates remained high.[2]

In 1938, it was annexed by Germany as one of the municipalities in Sudetenland. The German-speaking population was expelled in 1945 (see the Beneš decrees) and replaced by Czech settlers.

Modern town[edit]

After the Communist party took control of Czechoslovakia in 1948, a large prison camp was established in the town now named Jáchymov. Opponents of the new regime were forced to mine uranium ore under very harsh conditions: the average life expectancy in Jáchymov at this period was 42 years.

Uranium mining ceased in 1964. The radioactive thermal springs which rise in the former uranium mine workings are used under the supervision of doctors for the treatment of patients with nervous and rheumatic disorders.[3]

Nearby attractions[edit]

Not far from here, at the foot of the Plešivec, there once stood the Capuchin monastery Mariasorg (Mariánská); it was razed to the ground in the 1950s.

From the valley of the Veseřice a chairlift goes to the highest peak in the Ore Mountains, the 1244 m high Klínovec.

People[edit]

  • Georgius Agricola (1494–1555), town doctor and chemist, the "Father of Mineralogy"
  • Johannes Mathesius (1504–1565), from 1532 Rector of the Latin School and since 1542 "mine preacher" (Bergprediger)
  • Samuel Fischer (1547–1600), professor, clergyman and Superintendent

References[edit]

  1. ^ Die postalischen Abstempelungen auf den österreichischen Postwertzeichen-Ausgaben 1867, 1883 und 1890, Wilhelm KLEIN, 1967
  2. ^ Wiskemann, Elizabeth (1938). Czechs and Germans. 
  3. ^ Details needed. Which radiation? Which isotopes?

External links[edit]


This article incorporates information from the revision as of 2008 of the equivalent article on the German Wikipedia.