HISTORY OF THE SPA
The first and unique spa
KIn 1864, when the miners were excavating the ore at the Svornost mining pit in the depth of about half a kilometre, a strong spring of water burst out and quickly flooded the pit. The water was warm and the miners, who normally suffered from rheumatism, observed effects of the water on their joints. For decades nobody could imagine that this water will soon make Jáchymov famous as a health spa. We consider year 1906 as the starting point of the local spa practice. In the beginning there were only small private baths. In 1911 the first spa house Agricola opened. The healing water was piped down to this place from the mine by a several kilometres long pipeline. The remarkable healing effects induced the idea of building the Radium Kurhaus Spa Hotel - today known as the Radium Palace - which was opened in 1912 and belonged to one of the best hotels in Europe in its time. Celebrities of political, industrial and cultural life used to come here for treatment. Gradually other spa houses and private bed n’ breakfasts were built, which, by the thirties, enabled accommodation of up to nine thousand spa guests a year. The radium brought world fame back to the Spa Jáchymov. In relation to the discovery of the uranium nucleus fission, the outbreak of the World War II and the use of the first atomic bomb, Jáchymov became the mining place of strategically important mineral resource. However this fact harmed the town’s reputation and the fame of the spa has gone in vain. This fate took turn for the better with the termination of the uranium mining activities in the early sixties. The government of Czechoslovakia started focusing on the local spa treatment again. For this reason the modern Akademik Běhounek Spa Hotel opened in 1975 and seventeen years later the Curie Spa Complex started to offer its spa service. In the early nineties the health spa company, called „Léčebné lázně Jáchymov Joint-Stock Company” was established and restored the Svornost mining pit and its springs by hundred million Crowns investments. Radium Palace and several other spa houses were restored and refurbished. The current Spa Jáchymov company started a new chapter of history based on top service and gaining back the glory and fame. The stormy times of the Jáchymov’s history have gone and the place is known for its charming spa, unique treatment and friendly atmosphere.
Glory and Shadow of the town Jáchymov
The spa town of Jáchymov lies in a deep valley of the Ore Mountains, which have been known for their mineral wealth since time immemorial. After the discovery of a large silver deposit, the original settlement of Konradsgrün was transformed into a mining town in 1516. Because of its location in the valley, miners, coming mainly from neighboring Saxony, began to call it Thal. When it was declared a free mining town by the king in 1520, it had five thousand inhabitants and used the name Sankt Joachimsthal (Valley of St. Joachimsthal).
Soon the town became famous for silver coins, minted first in the mint of the town's founder, Count Štěpán Šlik, and later in the royal mint. According to the place of origin, the silver coin from the town of Sankt Joachimsthal was called Thal – Thaler and subsequently Tolar on European markets. At that time, Jáchymov belonged to the most populous towns of the kingdom and was, in addition to its wealth, famous for its contacts with the cultural centers of Europe and the activities of important personalities (G. Agricola).
The drop in the price of silver due to the import of precious metals from the "New World", the war events of the 17th century, the plague and the harsh recatholization of the local Protestant community meant the decline of the city. A reminder of the miners' glory was the establishment of a "mining school" in Jáchymov in 1716, the predecessor of the later mining academies. Local experience in mining cobalt and using it to produce paints found application after the discovery of the element uranium in the late 19th century.
Uranium ore has been known here since the time of silver mining under the name "pechblende" (pitchblende). In the middle of the 19th century, its industrial mining begins. The Svornost Mine (Einigkeit) is the oldest uranium mine in the world. "Uranium paints" were produced from the ore in the state factory, which was mainly used by porcelain and glass factories. Growing production brought economic revival of the city and, together with the establishment of a state tobacco factory, later contributed to the introduction of a railway connection.
In connection with the discovery of the fission of the uranium atomic nucleus, the outbreak of World War II and the use of the first atomic bomb, Jáchymov became a place of extraction of strategically important raw materials. The city reopened to the world only in the early 60s, after the end of uranium mining. The turbulent periods of history that passed through Jáchymov are already a thing of the past. Today, the town in the Erzgebirge valley is famous for its spa and peaceful atmosphere.