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Žula v Geoparku

The Caspar Pflug Hereditary Gallery

The fame of the mining towns in the area of Slavkovský les was based on silver and tin. While the mining of silver never surpassed the local interest, the Slavkov tin became a very important commodity in Central Europe. After the exhaustion of tin bearing placers in alluvial sediments at some time in the 13th century, this valuable metal also began to be extracted from the ore bodies of rock massifs.

Tin ore, tungsten and other metals are bound to the upper parts of the granite pluton and to the veins that run out into the surrounding gneisses. The richest mineralization is developed in places where the granite creates elevations called “stocks”. By effects of volatile substances released from the solidifying granite melt there originate the so-called greisens, rocks composed mainly of quartz and mica.

The mines had to be drained when proceeding to greater depths. The groundwater was pumped out using cleverly designed mechanisms or drained separately by galleries driven specifically for this purpose. The drainage galleries served all adjoining mines and were driven by several generations of miners (and are therefore referred to as hereditary galleries).

In 1539, a gallery was begun to be driven in order to drain the mines between Horní Slavkov (Schlaggenwald) and Krásno (Schönfeld). This work was financed by Caspar Pflug, wealthy townspeople and the mining associations. It was not an inexpensive matter and even though the work was also financed by taxes assessed on high grade silver veins, the costs reached the level of 65,856 guldens at the end of the 16th century. In order to speed up the process, the mine was given extra privileges and tax holidays, which were acknowledged by all subsequent Bohemian rulers.

On the 22 August 1587 and after 48 continuous years of uninterrupted work, the gallery reached the Huber stock at a length of 3,393 m. At the end of 1580s and a length of 5,800 m, it became one of the longest Bohemian mine works. At the start of the 17th century, it was again lengthened and, in 1655, its overall length measured 5,920 m. Its face was at a depth of 117 meters.

The „hereditary“ Pflug Gallery had 7 of its own cross adits, 13 openings providing light and 4 shafts. Serving as the district’s main drainage line, it had to be constantly inspected and maintained in good condition. Failure in its maintenance could cause a collapse, thereby impeding the drainage of mine water and ending the mining operations in the Hub and Schnöd stockwerks was required. The gallery was still used to drain the uranium mines in the 20th century.

GPS position

N 50° 8.866', E 12° 47.750'