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Very few towns in the world have played as important a role in the development of mining and metallurgy as Jáchymov (Sankt Joachimsthal). Founded in 1516 on an escarpment in the Erzgebirge, the town is one of the cradles of mining, metallurgy and mineralogy, the main foundations of which were laid in the 16th century by Georgius Agricola. The world’s first mining school was founded in Jáchymov in 1716.

In the Svornost (Einigkeit) mine, which is still functional today, uranium ore was systematically extracted, an achievement that dates back to the 19th century. In 1898, Marie Curie isolated the radioactive elements radium and polonium for the first time from Jáchymov ores. In 1906, the first radon spa in the world was founded in Jáchymov. Radioactive water is still obtained from the Svornost mine and used for therapeutic purposes today.

The town was also of great importance for the development of coinage. The silver thalers minted in 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.

The significant profits from silver mining in the early 16th century were put into the construction of a unique ensemble of late Gothic and Renaissance town and church architecture in Jáchymov. Of particular note are the former royal mint, the town hall, the Church of St. Joachim, the All Saints’ Hospital Church, and a row of townhouses in the town centre.

In the vicinity of Jáchymov, there are a large number of sites relating to the mining and processing of ore. These include objects from the period of silver and non-ferrous metal mining between the 16th and 19th centuries as well as from the period of uranium ore mining in the 20th century – especially after the Second World War.