Only a few towns in the world have played such an important role in the development of mining and metallurgy as Jáchymov (Joachimsthal). Founded in 1516 on a rock slope in the Erzgebirge, the town is one of the birthplaces for the sciences of mining, metallurgy and mineralogy, the main foundations of which were provided in the 16th century by Georgius Agricola. In 1716, the world’s first mining school was founded in Jáchymov. In the Svornost mine, which is still functional today, uranium ore was extracted systematically for the first time in the world, an achievement that dates back to the 19th century. In 1898, Marie Curie isolated the radioactive elements radium and polonium for the first time in Jáchymov ores. Up until the outbreak of the First World War, Jáchymov was a world leader in the production of radium. In 1906, the first radon spa in the world was founded in Jáchymov. Radioactive water is still extracted from the Svornost mine for curative purposes today.
The town was also of great importance in the development of coining. The silver thalers minted in Jáchymov Royal Mint influenced the development of the early modern currency system in Europe. The “thaler” gave its name to the most important global currency of the modern age, the dollar. Of outstanding importance are the former Royal Mint, the town hall, the Church of St. Joachim, the All Saints’ Hospital Church and a row of town houses in the town centre.
In the vicinity of Jáchymov, there are a great number of sites relating to the mining and processing of ore. These include monuments both from the period of silver and non-ferrous metal mining from the 16th to the 19th century and from the period of uranium ore mining in the 20th century, in particular after the Second World War.