The origin of the settlement called "Mědník", later renamed Měděnec ("copper"), was closely connected to the mining activities that probably started on the local hillock in the 10th century. The hillock, which is completely pierced by old mining galleries, dominates its surroundings and on the top there is a village chapel. The first documented references of mining dates back to the year 1449. At that time there were mainly argentiferous coppers ores extracted, and other minerals, such as silver, tin, pyrite and chalcopyrite.
Mining towns and churches
It is said that the town was established in 1550 when a strong storm uprooted a robust fir tree and under its roots was found a rich argentiferous streak. Very soon thereafter, a deep mine was built there together with iron-mills for processing iron ore. Since the 17th century rifles were manufactured there.
The history of the Hora Svaté Kateřiny village is closely connected to silver and copper mining. The fact that especially copper - the ore that other parts of the Krušné hory Mountains were low on - was mined there and also facilitated the growth of the Hora Svaté Kateřiny and made it of great importance. Practically since the 1540s Hora Svaté Kateřiny has supplied this raw material to international markets.
Mikulov is first mentioned at the beginning of the 15th century when silver was sought after here. Sometime after that, silver was found there and the village (later the mining town) started to develop. Silver and lead were both mined there. In 1597, the village was promoted as the Royal mining town. Nowadays, the town is known for winter sports. There are ski slopes and well-maintained cross-country tracks and you can also take the Krušnohorská magistrála trail. In the summer, the area is great for all hiking and cycling lovers.
Mainly tin was extracted in the area surrounding Cinovec but in 1547 they found silver in the Nevěřící Tomáš (Doubting Thomas) mine. Other elements such as molybdenum, wolfram, and tin of course, were extracted there in intervals till 1990. In the village, there are two border crossings and a border path for cyclists and pedestrians. In winter, the tracks of the Krušnohorská magistrála trail pass through the village.
Though ore mining started in the Krušné hory Mountains, it also affected the town itself. It became a trade centre supplying the mountain villages. The Thirty-Years´ War had tragic consequences since the town held a strategic position. After the war, the town was recovering from war losses for a very long time and it was the coal mining that helped it to fully recover. Finally, coal became the town´s doom. In 1962, the Czechoslovak Communist Party decided to demolish the town since there were hundreds of millions of tons of coal under it.
Adventures in the silver mine The unusual feature of the Alte Hoffnung Erbstolln visitors' mine is that access to the pit is by boat through the entrance tunnel. There visitors will discover all kinds of evidence of the 800-year mining history of the middle Zschopau valley area. This is the region where the first steam turbines were used underground for mining, and many interesting technical innovations were put into practice. You will be able to see a demonstration of how to use the miner's hammer and pick, and the accurately reconstructed water pumping machine.
The Erzgebirge Mining Area It is rather unusual to find a cross-border cultural landscape that has been formed by 800 years of mining activity, giving it a unique and multi-faceted appearance and identity. The Saxon/Bohemian Erzgebirge mining area has all these attributes and is therefore applying to be recognised as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The project covers not only technical monuments above and below ground, but also landscapes formed by mining such as collapsed shafts and waste dumps.
Freiberg Christmas Market Get into the festive mood and experience true Erzgebirge traditions and mining customs at the authentic Freiberger Christmarkt. Against the backdrop of medieval merchants' homes, there are over 100 brightly illuminated and traditionally decorated stands offering locally made Christmas ornaments, crafts and delicacies. Freiberger Christmarkt puts on a daily stage show and offers lots of entertainment for children, making it one of the most attractive and authentic of its kind in Germany.