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Čistá - Jeroným Mine 

Čistá – Jeroným MineThe historical Jeroným Mine is located in the cadastral territory of the village of Rovná in the Sokolov district. In the past, it belonged to the cadastral territory of the once thriving and now deserted royal mining town of Čistá (German: Lauterbach Stadt, literally meaning "Pure Brook"). The Jeroným Mine is a significant monument documenting the level of development of mining in the 15th and 16th century when the local mine-owners mainly focused on tin ore mining.

Preserved records first mention the town in the 13th century. Its development was closely associated with the development of mining activities in the Jeroným Mine and the town was raised to the status of a royal mining town (German: Königliche Bergstadt Lauterbach) by Ferdinand I Habsburg on 20 August 1551.

The town owned tin scales, tin smelting works and it was granted the right of timber felling in royal forests. In 1772, the town was devastated by a disastrous fire, which, apart from burning down town houses and other buildings, committed all written records to the flames. Even today, in consequence of the destruction of written records, particularly archival documents, it is very difficult to document the historical continuity of the town and its mining industry. The town survived until the end of World War II.

Following the end of the war, the town was struck by a chain of disastrous events, the consequences of which were far worse than the aftermath of the 18th century fire. Its German inhabitants were displaced as a part of the solution of the "German Issue" and the town was deserted. The town and its outskirts became a military training area and were deliberately demolished during military training.

Unique evidence of the existence of the town vanished due to undermining of the territory of the town by uranium mines. With the cessation of sub-surface mining activities, the undermined terrain was gradually sinking, which resulted in total land degradation. The deliberate devastation of the town was completed by the deletion of its name from all maps.

Only scarce information about the town may be found in post World War II encyclopaedias. Today, only a small memorial stone standing by the road from Sokolov to Krásno (No. 210) commemorates the existence of the town. The Čistá cadastral territory was dissolved and all land was allocated to the cadastral territory of Rovná.

The mineralized tin ore deposit, on which the Jeroným Mine was built, represents a peripheral deposit located in the southwest part of the Čistá-Krásno zone of the Slavkov gneissic block. The beginning of underground mining dates back to the first half of the 16th century and its golden age was triggered by the gradual depletion of surrounding placers. Following rapid development, however, mining activities in the Jeroným Mine began to slowly decline.

A report on the condition of mine workings from 1847 indicates that the mines in the vicinity of the town of Čistá are depleted. Initial attempts to restore mining activities in the Jeroným Mine took place from 1887 to 1905. Nonetheless, the mine was abandoned after the end of World War I and further explorations aimed at renewing mining activities continued in the course of years from 1940 to 1943.

In 1990, the Jeroným Mine was declared a cultural monument based on Decision No. 4291-89-PPM of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic of February 16, 1990 and it is listed under No. 4515 in the Central List of Immovable Cultural Monuments.

Restoration work has been underway at the mine since 1992. The central part of the deposit houses beautiful chambers from the 16th century. Further underground premises (denoted today as old workings) were discovered in 1982 next to the known section of the mine, which is designated today as abandoned workings. The old workings are dry and drained by means of the Jeroným drainage adit. 

In the past, both the workings were connected with a complex of mine workings in the main section of the Jeroným Mine. The separation was probably caused by caving of access drifts from the main part of the deposit in the late 16th century or in the first half of the 17th century. In many places, the walls and ceilings are black due to soot sediments, which are the remnants of the "fire planting" (i.e. hot mining) mining methods. The premises are "decorated" with traces of bills and pickers used by miners in those times.

For several years, restoration work has been underway in the Jeroným Mine complex and it is coordinated by the Georgius Agricola Foundation for the Region of the Slavkov Forest, with registered office in Pluhova ulice, land-registry No. 211, Horní Slavkov.

The entire mine complex was thoroughly documented in order to facilitate the due inspection of all executed work. A matter of course was also the drawing up of a plan for the exploitation of the mine in the area of mountain tourism, geology, etc. Concurrently, a project solution has been developed in order to tackle technical and mining issues associated with cave-in recovery to re-connect both parts of the historical mining workings, as well as with the recovery of the Jeroným drainage adit that are all implemented to the maximum possible extent by the manager of the mine designated as abandoned workings, i.e. by SUL o.z. Příbram, a branch of the state enterprise Diamo, s.p., which has taken over the mine after the liquidation of the former state enterprise, Rudné doly Příbram s.p. (Ore Mines Příbram).

In the near future, the Jeroným Mine complex should become one of the main pillars of the planned Czech-Bavarian Geopark, which will include a number of significant localities in the Czech Republic and in the adjoining districts in Germany.

For the time being, unfortunately, the Jeroným Mine is not accessible to public and the restoration work will continue for several more years – depending on the available funds.