In 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 that quickly flooded the pit. For decades nobody could imagine that it would be this spring, which will, after the discovery made by the Curies, make Jáchymov famous as a health spa. We consider year 1906 the start point of the local spa practice. On the beginning there were only small private baths. Soon the state takes on the main part. In 1911 the first spa house opened up where the healing water was brought down by 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 open in 1912 and belonged to the best Europe could offer in that time. Mostly 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. Jáchymov radium spa won the world fame.
The time period after World War II adversely influenced the boom of the uranium mining, which harmed the town’s reputation as well as its appearance and the fame of the spa has gone in vain. This fate took turn for the better with the discontinuation of the uranium mining in the early sixties. The spa-practice became once again the number one interest. In 1975 the modern Akademik Běhounek Spa Hotel was open and seventeen years later the Curie spa hotel followed.
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, renovated the Radium Palace and several other spa houses. It has worked purposefully to regain the world fame for Jáchymov.
History of Jáchymov
The Jáchymov spa town lies in the deep Ore Mountain valley, known for its riches of mineral resources. After prospectors hit a rich silver deposit in 1516 the original settlement, called Konradsgrün, started to develop into a mining town. For its location in the valley the miners, coming mostly from the nearby Saxony region, started to call it Thal (German word for valley). In 1520, when the king granted the town the status of a free mining town, it had about five thousand settlers and it used the name Sankt Joachimsthal (St. Joachim’s Valley). Soon it became famous for the silver coins that were at first minted in the mint owned by the founder of the town, Stephan Count Schlick, and later in the Royal Mint. The place of origin gave name to these silver coins so popular on the European markets: Thal - Thaler, which later changed to Tolar. In this era, Jáchymov belonged to the most populated towns of the kingdom and it used to be known, besides for its riches, for its contacts with European centres of culture and as the activity place of many celebrities (e.g. G. Agricola).
The drop in the price of silver accounted to the import of precious metals from the „New World”, the wars of the 17th century, the plague epidemics as well as the forceful recatholising of the local protestant community led inevitably to the town deterioration. The reminder of the local mining boom was the establishment of the „mining school” in 1716, the precursor of the later mining academies. The local experience with cobalt mining and its use in the production of dyes became useful after the discovery of uranium at the end of the 19th century. The uranium ore was locally known since the time of silver mining as the „pechblende” (the unlucky stone). In the first half of the 19th century starts its industrial mining. The local mining pit called Svornost (Concord) is the world’s eldest uranium mine. „Uranium dyes” were produced from this ore in a local state owned factory, which were used mainly by porcelain factories and glassworks. The booming production brought about an economic revival of the town, which later, together with opening of a local tobacco factory, resulted in establishing a railroad track connection.
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. The town reopened to the world in the early sixties after the uranium mining had ceased. The stormy times of the Jáchymov’s history have gone. In present times this town in the Ore Mountains valley is known for its charming spa and serene atmosphere.