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Mining Towns and Villages

Sokolov

The economic development of the Sokolov region is based on the industrial use of the brown coal seams. So far, the oldest report of the occurrence of coal in the region of Loket dates back to 1545. Yet in the Middle Ages, the coal was not of such interest as pyrite, which the seams also contained. It was used to produce alum, vitriol, sulphur and sulphuric acid in the so-called mineral plants. The highly visible phenomena, which accompanied the spontaneous combustion of coal at the seam outcrops, gave rise to folk tales and ghostly stories. It is possible to speak of the beginning of brown coal mining only from the middle of the 18th century, when coal began to be used as fuel. The existence of a mining association, whose member also was Count František Václav Nostic, was recorded in 1760. The actual expansion of the coal industry is associated with the work of entrepreneur Johann David Starck (1770–1841). In the 19th century, coal was used to heat industrial factories. Coal was used to produce briquettes, soot for the manufacture of paints, natural wax, tar, light oil and brown coal coke. In 1871, a significant development in mining occurred after the building of a railway line from Northern Bohemia to Cheb. In 1880, the last hop field succumbed to the production of coal – Sokolov, once an area of agriculture, hop growing and craftsmanship, developed into an important centre of industry.

Historic Town Hall in the Old Town Square

The Miner’s House, the most significant landmark commemorating mining (built in 1923–1924, architect Rudolf Wels)

After World War II and the resettlement of the German population, serious thought was given not to rebuild the damaged city and to let it give way to the production of coal. 39 underground and 15 surface mines operated in the district. Shafts were gradually closed and operations turned to large-scale surface mining, which climaxed in 1983, when more than 23 million tons coal were produced. During the present decline in mining, the primary task is the reclamation and revitalization of the landscape. Therefore, devastated areas are turning into forest and agricultural stands, forest parks, golf courses and extensive bodies of water.

Municipal Coat of Arms of Sokolov

GPS position

N 50° 10.860', E 12° 38.709'
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