Mining in Kutná Hora
History[change | change source]
In the Middle Ages, Kutná Hora belonged to one of the most important cities in the Bohemian Kingdom. The silver mining started in the second half of 13th century. Unfortunately, the exact date and place, where it all started, remains unknown. Because of that there are lots of legends about the discovery of silver. The most common legend tells a story of a monk named Anthony from the monastery in Sedlec. According to this legend the monk found out three silver rods at the foot of the hill.
The peak of mining in Kutná Hora was reached in 14th century. During ages there were lots of mines, but only few of them have been preserved. Last mine was closed during 17th century.
Technology[change | change source]
Mines were formed by shafts – pits going underground. Their depth varied from 20 to 150 metres.
Miners worked with simple tools. Only 50 dm3 of rock were extracted within a six-hour shift. This technology allowed them to reach depths ranging from 400 to 450 metres in 14th century. The deepest mine in 16th century was the Osel (donkey) mine, which reached the depth of 600 metres.
St. George Mine[change | change source]
Mine was discovered in 1967 during a hydro-geological exploration of the heart of the city. Originally it was thought that the legendary Osel mine had been discovered. But further exploration proved that it is St. George mine.
The mine was established around 1330’s and remained operational until the end of 15th or beginning of 16th century.
Nowadays visitors may see 250 meters long tunnel, but in total there more than 800m of stopes, drifts or corridors. During those 250 meters it’s possible to see several interesting areas. Such as drifts to other levels of mine, exploration drifts, partly flooded stope, fragments of wooden drainage or wooden props (protection against collapsing of ceiling).