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Královské Poříčí - Rural Monument Zone 

Královské Poříčí - Rural Monument ZoneKrálovské Poříčí lies in the district of Sokolov on the left bank of the Ohře River between the towns of Sokolov and Loket nad Ohří. The municipality covers an area of 1,220 hectares and almost 80% of the cadastre will be affected by brown coal strip-mining planned by the mining joint-stock company Sokolovská uhelná a.s. The borders of the Jiří and Družba pits are only 500 metres away from the municipality. The only underground mine in the Sokolov coalfield was located on the territory of Královské Poříčí. The Marie Mine had been in operation for 100 years before it was closed down in the early 1990’s. Following the cessation of the planned mining activities (which is estimated between 2030 and 2040) the abandoned pits will be reclaimed and the creation of a lake covering an area of several hundred hectares is contemplated.

Královské Poříčí - Rural Monument ZoneThe foundation of Královské Poříčí dates back to the 1220’s or 1230’s. A church dedicated to the then very popular Saint Kunhuta was built soon after its foundation. The exceptional, almost dominant status of the church in the early centuries of the existence of the village is documented by the fact that no historical records of Královské Poříčí have been preserved from the three centuries following its foundation other than records pertaining to the church itself.

The original German name of the village was Königswerth and it is a combination of the noun "königs" meaning "king's" or "royal" and "werth" meaning "waterside". It undoubtedly reminds us of the fact that, at the time of its foundation, the land was in the direct possession of the king and that it was colonized under the king's supreme supervision. The name Královské Poříčí is first mentioned in a deed dating to 1240, whereby King Václav I (also denoted as Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, 1230 – 1253) grants the right of patronage in relation to the church in Sedlec and affiliated churches in Loket and Královské Poříčí to the Order of the Knights of the Cross with the Red Star founded by his sister Anežka in Prague. Even though the deed disappeared, Romanesque elements, which clearly confirm the extraordinary age of the church and correspond to the early 13th century, were revealed during the reconstruction of the Church of St. Kunhuta in the early 1990’s.

The church surely was not a solitary structure in Královské Poříčí, nevertheless, the first list of the village inhabitants is recorded in the Loket land and duties register for the year 1522 when the village belonged among the largest in the demesne of the Šliks of Sokolov. First local schools were founded at parsonages. The existence of a school in Královské Poříčí is documented by a record from 1596 and later historical resources testify that the village school was running well and that it was not substantially affected by confessional changes. The only source of livelihood of the villagers was agriculture until the 1870’s.

With the new political structure of the country introduced in 1850, the village of Královské Poříčí was declared an independent local municipality. At that time, agriculture began loosing its dominant position due to rich brown coal beds known as Josef and Antonín – immense natural wealth that had lain untouched under the village.

The first Meluzína Mine with a 26.5 metres deep working shaft used for extracting coal from the Josef coal bed was put into operation in 1867. Further development was accelerated by the commissioning of the Buštěhrad railway line between Cheb and Karlovy Vary on September 19, 1870. Another mine known as Bernard was opened near the railway line in 1872 and its working shaft was initially 75 metres deep. In 1877, its annual output was 5,370 tons and 20,610 tons of coal in 1880. Further efforts aimed at increasing output led to the sinking of a new working shaft known as Marie I, which was 99 m deep and in which coal from the Antonín coal bed was extracted. In 1898, Marie II was opened with a 185 m working shaft penetrating into the Josef coal bed.

However, a breakthrough of thermal water at the pit resulted in a reduction of the yields of thermal springs in Karlovy Vary by almost 30%. The Mining Authority therefore banned further mining in the Josef coal bed and the ban has remained in effect up to the present. Average thickness of the Josef coal bed is 25 metres. In more than 100 years of its existence, i.e. from 1884 until 1991, the output of the underground Marie Mine amounted to 39 million tons of brown coal.

Several rural houses that are typical representatives of the folk architecture of the foothills of the Ore Mountains and the Sokolov district have been preserved in Královské Poříčí. For this reason, the village was declared a rural monument zone. The most valuable example of folk half-timbered architecture is undoubtedly house No. 11, a two-storey half-timbered house. The ground floor of its forefront facing the village green is decorated with ornamented pilaster belts with a segmental arched wicket on the left side of the gable adjoined by a double-wing gate.

The village of Dolní Rychnov near Sokolov with a well-preserved complex of half-timbered farmstead and granges has also been declared a rural monument zone.

In 2007, the village was awarded the Golden Ribbon as the winner of the regional round of the Village of the Year contest.