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Karlovy Vary
Mariánské Lázně
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The History of the Town 

After the discovery of great silver deposits in 1516 the settlement of Konradsgrun became a mining town. Due to its valley lo­cation, miners coming mostly from neighbouring Saxony, started calling it Thal. When the town was proclaimed a free mining town by the King in 1520, there were five thousand inhabitants living there and it was called the Valley of St Joachim (Sankt Joachimsthal).

Soon it became famous for the silver coins that were first minted in the mint of the founder of the town, Count Stepan Slik, and later in the Royal mint. As the silver coin came from a town called Sankt Joachimsthal, a Thal or Thaler became the standardised name for the coin in European markets, and allegedly the word for the American dollar was derived from this name. At the time Jachymov belonged to the most populated towns in the kingdom and it was known both for its wealth, and for its contacts with cultural centres all around Europe and for the celebrities visiting the town (G. Agricola, J. Mathesius).

The days of its mining fame were commemorated by the establishment of a mining school in Jachymov in 1716, the first of futu­re mining academies. The local experience with mining cobalt, and its use for the production of paints, was utilised after the dis­covery of uranium at the end of the 19th century. Pitchstone has been known since the time of the silver mining under the Ger­man name of 'Pechblende'.

In connection with the discovery of uranium nuclear fission, the start of the Second World War and the use of the first atomic bomb, Jachymov became a strategically important mining place.

In 1864 during the mining of ore in the Svornost Mine, the minors were taken by surprise when a strong spring of water gushed out half a kilometre beneath the surface. The water slowly flooded the shaft. Nobody could have known at that time that it would be precisely this mine that would turn Jachymov into a renowned spa town thanks to the later discovery of radium by the Curies. The spa was founded in 1906 when very small scale private baths were put into operation. In 1911 the first spa building was constructed with healing water that came via several kilometre long pipes from the mine.

The good therapeutic effects led to the decision to build a spa hotel, Radium Kurhaus, the present Radium Palace that was ope­ned in 1912. It was the very best Europe could offer at the time. Therefore it attracted many celebrities from political, industrial and cultural life. The radon spa became renowned throughout the world.

During the period after the Second World War the spa was negatively affected by a radical increase of uranium mining that im­pacted on the fame and appearance of the town, and the good name of the spa was lost. Better times came when the mining of uranium ceased at the beginning of 1960s. The town and spa were reopened to the public and the world and balneology was revived.

The public limited company Lecebne lazne Jachymov was incorporated at the beginning of the 1990s and it started its work with the reconstruction of the Svornost mine, the springs, the Radium Palace and many other spa houses. Thanks to its devoted work the town is becoming world famous yet again.