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Uhelná trasa

Minerální závod Svaté Trojice

The economic development of Sokolov is based on the industrial use of the brown coal seams. So far, the oldest remark of the coal occurrence in the region of Loket (Elbogen) dates back to 1545. At that time, the coal was separated into mineral coal (fossil, underground) and charcoal (pile charring). The first reports mentioning the extraction of fossil coal date back to the middle of the 17th century, when primarily used for the manufacture of torches. The development of coal mining was closely linked to the mining of pyrite shale and its processing in the first chemical factories – the mineral plants.

The Holy Trinity mineral plant in Staré Sedlo was established in the middle of the 16th century. According to an entry in the Falknov (Sokolov) town chronicle, the plant was fully operational in 1573. At first the alum and later on the vitriol as well as vitriol stone were obtained for the production of fuming sulphuric acid (oleum).

Human urine, collected in barrels in the town surroundings and transported to Staré Sedlo for processing, was at first used in the production of alum. Yet when this locality was hit by the plague in 1582, the population rebelled against this unsanitary practice ordered by the authorities. The production then switched to pyrite shale, which was abundantly present in the surroundings.

Early in the 19th century, the region of Sokolov became an important centre of the Bohemian alum industry. Two mineral plants, which were located in Staré Sedlo, developed into modern industrial operations thanks to industrialist Johann David Starck (1770–1841).

The lower Holy Trinity mineral plant stood next to the John the Baptist gallery on the right bank of the Ohře River. Pyrite rich coal was carted there from the gallery. Part of the material was burned in blast furnaces to produce sulphur and the rest was deposited on to piles. Then due to the effects of weathering and water spray, the pyrite rich rock disintegrated into acid soil, which was used to obtain a sulphur extract for production. In 1888, the production of sulphur ended, as well as alum and green vitriol in 1896. Operations were terminated and the equipment dismantled in 1899. In the period of 1902–1945 the plant was used to burn rouge called potée, which was mostly exported to Bavarian and Prussian grinding mills and glass factories.

Situation of the mineral plant in 1872. Kieswasche = pyrite wash plant; Schwefelhütte = sulphur works; Beamten-Wohnung = officials apartment; Eisenvitriolmagazin = iron vitriol (copperas) magazine; Vitriolhütte = vitriol plant; Schloss = Castle; Stollen in Felsen = Adit in rock

The mineral plant early 19th century

The mineral plant in 1872

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GPS position

N 50° 11.052', E 12° 42.877'