Our fascinating mining towns with their historic centres and splendid churches are the perfect way to discover the history of the Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, our quiet mining towns have a peaceful and tranquil air, but you can still see and sense the spirit of innovation of centuries gone by. In their heyday, they were major centres of research and development, and of art and culture. It was here that silver, cobalt and tin were traded to Europe and the rest of the world; where the world’s number system was revolutionised; and where pioneering mining innovations blazed a trail across the globe. Mining towns attracted many scholars and artists. The towns' magnificent churches reflected their wealth, and illustrate the closeness of the relationship between mining and religion.
Being designated a mining town was a privilege granted by a town’s territorial lord, and it came with special rights and tax exemptions. While early mining towns such as Freiberg developed out of existing settlements, during the second “Berggeschrey” (mining rush) in the 15th century, towns were planned from scratch. The first of the Erzgebirge’s towns to be designed on the drawing board in this way was Annaberg. Perhaps the most striking example of the approach is Marienberg, which was built in 1521 and modelled on Renaissance towns. Its most distinguishing features include streets laid out at right angles to each other and a large, central square where the market and mining parades were held.
Today, you can explore our mining towns both above and below ground. The visitor mines are an impressive illustration of the working conditions of miners and highlight their innovative spirit. Above ground, the churches, museums and exhibitions provide a vivid depiction of the history and everyday life of the Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region.
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