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Mining Towns and Villages


Oloví was founded as a mining settlement above a high-grade lead ore deposits. The oldest written account of the existence of mines in the surroundings dates back to 1314.

Town seal

In the 16th century, lead began to gain in importance – it was used in bell founding, mintage, and as pottery glaze, and primarly as an essential additive for metallurgical production of copper and silver. It is then of no surprise, that the Schlick family, who urgently needed lead for the cupellation of silver ore, became the owners of the estate. The growing town on the hill located above the valley of Svatava was named Oloví (“Lead Town”) in 1523. From 1524, it already kept a mining ledger and at the latest in the middle of the 16th century, possessed its own seal and coat of arms. In 1548, the Protestant Schlick family was stripped of its properties and the town’s ownership was transferred to the Crown. In 1558, it was granted town rights by King Ferdinand I. and elevated to the status of a royal mining town in 1561.

Cupel furnace for separating lead from silver

In the 16th century, most of the 40–50 lead-bearing veins occurring in the district, which spread from Studenec across Oloví and Hřebeny all the way to Radvanov, were known. Approximately thirty thousand tons of lead were produced during this whole century. After that, the production gradually declined and the lead mines were abandoned at the end of the 19th century. The manufacture of mother of pearl buttons, musical instruments, toys and bobbin and woven lace increased in Oloví. A factory for the manufacture of sheet glass and mirrors was established in 1892. The glass factory was also a major source of livehood after World War II, when the German inhabitants were replaced by residents from all parts of Czechoslovakia at that time. In the 20th century, the mines were reopened because of the increased demand for metals by the war industry. However, the attempts to produce lead and uranium did not bring any significant economic effect. The mysterious character of the romantic wooded landscape of the surroundings is therefore only intensified by the numerous depressions and collapsed gallery entries.

Municipal Coat of Arms

GPS position

N 50° 14.690', E 12° 33.515'