The Czech Republic is a country rich in unique thermal resorts. For many years, the city of Jachymov remained the only radon resort of the planet. This is a small and cozy old town, located on the slope of the Ore Mountains in a cozy valley. Jachymov was always famous for its land rich in minerals and silver, and after the discovery of radon springs it became an ideal place for the treatment and prevention of diseases of the musculoskeletal system. But do not think that active tourists at the resort will be bored. In addition to many palace-park and historical sights, Jachymov is a major center for skiing. Also, the resort has all the conditions for cultural and outdoor activities.
The history of the city
The city got its name in honor of St. Joachim and used to carry the ancient name St. Joachimstal, which was reduced to a more melodious Jachymov. Saint Joachim - the father of the Virgin, the holy God-father and hermit, to whom the angel of the Lord appeared. The land of the Czech city of Jachymov, located at an altitude of 733 meters above sea level and surrounded by valleys and mountains, has been inhabited for more than three thousand years. The mild climate, fertile soil and mineral deposits have always attracted settlers here. In the 16th century, in addition to ore mines, deposits of silver were discovered on the territory of Jachymov. Graph von Schlick, who then owned the valley, quickly became a wealthy man. After all, he was allowed to organize a mint and mint the state currency - silver tolars. The Czech king Ludwik Jagiellonian even assigned Jachymov the status of a royal city. Thanks to this, the settlement began to flourish and expand, and silver attracted many immigrants here. But the reserves were soon depleted, a wave of wars broke out in the country, an uprising broke out in the city, the count family was forced to flee, and Yakhimov's development stopped for many years.
The next round of the history of Jachymov came in 1864. Then, when mining ore in the mine, deposits were affected at a depth of half a kilometer, through which an underground spring broke through to the surface. Initially, no one pay attention to it, except that the mine was abandoned and ore mining was stopped. And only in 1906, when the Curie spouses investigated the chemical composition of the spring and identified radon in it, the history of the city as a medical resort began. Marie Curie then received the Nobel Prize and its discovery thundered to the whole world, and as a result, everyone learned about a city like Jachymov. In 1911, the first hospital was built on the territory of the city, into which mineral water was supplied from springs. Jachymov became very popular as the first in the world radon health resort.
Atractions of Jachymov
Jachymov is known not only for the unique properties of its thermal springs, but also for its rich history. The medieval castles of aristocrats, surrounded by gardens, counts' mansions, Gothic temples and chapels, ancient libraries and museums are scattered throughout its lands. Jachymov has its own ski resort. Numerous hiking trails stretch through the surroundings, inviting the traveler to a picnic, hike or to explore the glacier caves. Each tourist will find something to take free time in Jachymov. We will show some interesting, in our opinion, ideas.
On one of the heights of the resort, surrounded by forests, are the picturesque ruins of Schlick Castle, better known as the Freudenstein Castle. The fortification was built in 1517 by Graph Schlick, who owned silver mines, in order to protect their own lands. Around the fortress, a settlement quickly grew, as mushroom houses appeared from under the ground. The castle was built by the architect Jan Münich with an eye to the simplicity of decoration, but the convenience and strength of the walls. Two tall square towers were built at the corners of the fortress to observe the surroundings. Inside the spacious castle courtyard are numerous outbuildings.
The destiny of the Freudenstein fortress was turbulent. After 10 years, it was almost completely destroyed during the uprising of the peasants, who suffered from the stinginess of the rich and powerful Graph Schlick. The owner had to flee and the hetman Yindzhikh became the new owner of the fortress. He quickly restored his new home, but very soon lost it at the behest of the Czech king, who began to own the castle. Without a permanent owner, the building quickly began to fall into disrepair, and during the Thirty Years War it was captured by the Swedes and burned when they left. Since then, only the skeleton of the fortress walls, the ruins of the bastions and the remains of towers that have been restored for tourists have remained from Schlick Castle. Today, one of the towers with fortified steps is open for visiting. From its top offers an excellent panorama of the resort. Tourists can also enjoy a walk along a wooded hill and have a picnic on the slope.
The building of the Royal Mint of the XV century is located on Mintsovna street near the city center. Now the mint also performs as a museum of coins and a mining museum, being a historical value of the Czech Republic. By order of Imperator Ferdinand I, the production of state silver coins was organized here. Jachymov tolars became a popular European currency, which became the prototype of American "dollars". After the fire in the building, the mint demanded restoration. A two-story mansion, made in the Renaissance style, with high vaulted ceilings, a graceful bay window, vast halls and long passages has survived to our days. Inside there is a spacious courtyard, as well as a basement, which previously kept a stock of minted silver coins.
Guests are invited to explore the collection of old coins, medals, prints, minerals, rock ore samples and craft tools. Tourists will also be interested in the extensive exhibition devoted to the history of the city of Jachymov and the mining of silver ore in the XV-XVI centuries. Do not neglect the exhibition of archaeological finds discovered by scientists on the territory of the Mint itself. A separate exhibition hall is dedicated to local residents and miners, there are traditional Czech clothes, household items, ancient tools and even medieval treatises on the production of coins and ore mining. Please note that depending on the season, the mint is open on different days. Therefore, before you go on a tour, you should clarify the days and time of the coin museum.
The town hall of Jachymov is housed in a 16th-century mansion purchased from Graph Eronim Schlick for the needs of the city municipality. Previously, the town hall was located in a small wooden structure, but with the development of the settlement it became too crowded. Unfortunately, the original building was destroyed back in 1538 due to a fire that spread to the building with a nearby mint. The municipality had to build a new building, which was once again reconstructed in the 18th century and acquired a modern classic look. Tourists, having glanced inside the building, will be able to see the original Renaissance vaults, and the most attentive on the facade will see the old coat of arms of the city with its patron saints - St. Joachim and St. Anna. Now in the city hall there is a library with modern literature and a city council. The building is open daily for visitors.
The first library in the city appeared in the XVI century at a Latin school, which is why it received the name. Thanks to the patronage of the imperator and wealthy philanthropists, the library’s book fund was constantly replenished and soon it turned into the largest Czech book depository. But in 1627, the library could not escape the charge of possession of heretical writings and it was closed, and its fund was either plundered or taken out. The remains of ancient scrolls and books hidden by librarians were accidentally discovered only in the 19th century.
The current invaluable collection of the Latin Library has more than two hundred rare book copies that visitors can see. The collection of the library contains antique classics, theological treatises, books on law, natural sciences, astronomy and astrology. All books are unique and amazing with their Gothic and Renaissance bindings of the XV-XVII centuries. Inside, the specimens are decorated with color prints, and some medieval folios are still chained to prevent theft.
Church of All Saints
The Church of All Saints, located on Belogorskaya Street in the city center, is a unique religious building, preserved from the 15th century in almost unchanged form. In the XX century, the temple was strengthened by external supports in order to preserve it. The main building of the temple with one nave was built in the Renaissance style, before it was adjoined by a hospital building with a baroque facade. Unfortunately, it was not preserved, but the place where the doctors worked was reflected in the name of the historical monument, because the Church of All Saints is also known as the Hospital Church. The gabled pitched roof of the temple is visible from afar, so it’s easy for a tourist to find a church. When inspecting, it is worth paying attention to the wooden bell tower, in which there is an original bell cast in 1520. Going inside, the visitor will be able to see the church altar, decorated with a unique painting by the master Lucas Cranach, and donated to the church by the hetman Jindzhikh in 1519. The decoration of the temple is complemented by a sculptural group of the 15th century made by the Dresden craftsman Walter. Also inside, medieval tombstones of famous Czech figures of the 16th century have been preserved. The temple is active, divineservices and concerts of symphonic music are held here.
Temple of St. Jahim
The Roman Catholic Church of St. Jachim is the main temple of the city. The church stands in the heart of the resort, and its tall spire above the tower is perfectly visible from anywhere in the city. Already on the way to the building, vacationers are met by sculptural groups of Czech saints and symbolic compositions, for example, a group of stones reflecting the desire for freedom of prisoners in the surrounding mines. The church was built in the 15th century with a single nave in the late Gothic style, the facade was made with Renaissance elements: arched windows and stucco molding. The construction began with Graph Schlick, who hired the then-famous architect Kopp and chief builder Müller for his project. The unique and priceless interior of the temple, unfortunately, has not been preserved; it was destroyed by the fire of 1873. Josef Motsker took up the reconstruction, because of which the design of the facade was radically changed. The construction increased in size, became a three-nave and a new marble altar was built with a relief image of the patron saint of the city, a tower appeared with a high bell tower and clock dial. The ancient bells of the temple were stolen by the Germans during the war and sank in the Baltic Sea together with the steamboat carrying them. New bells were cast already in the 20th century. Now the church is active, and opens its doors not only to parishioners, but also to guests of the city.
Chapel of St. Anne
A small stone chapel in the classical style, dedicated to Anna, the patron saint of the city, is located in the historical area of the resort. The original wooden building of the XV century burned down, it was persistently restored, and it treacherously burned down again in a whirlwind of medieval wars. Chapel of St. Anne folded from the stone only in the 18th century. And again, the construction was not lucky, because the legendary fire of 1873 again completely destroyed it. The current building was built in the XX century on an old foundation using the remaining frame, but it is only a pale shadow of that majestic chapel of the past. But you need to add a chapel to the tourist map, if only because of its unfortunate history.
Palace Park is a favorite place for walks and relaxation for both locals and tourists. The magnificent Italian gardens in Jachymov were built in the 16th century thanks to the Saxon Duke Julius Heinrich. Gardens are located on the hills of a picturesque islet surrounded by the riverbed Ohře. The park was generously decorated with fountains and sculptures made in the Baroque and Renaissance style. By the XIX century, the park was forgotten and abandoned, many sculptures were lost, and the fountains were broken. Large-scale reconstruction began only in the 20th century, and now the Palace Park has found at least part of its former charm. By the way, at the entrance to the main avenue, tourists can see the ancient building of the chapel dedicated to St. John of Nepomuk.
In the center of the Palace Park stands the Summer Palace, also owned by the Saxon Duke Julius Heinrich. The mansion in the Renaissance style on three floors with a pitched roof, an elegant veranda and a colonnade was built by the Duke to relax with his family in the 16th century. Now the State Art Gallery is located in the building of the Summer Palace. The exposition consists of unique pieces of painting, also hosts exhibitions of works by artists from different countries and other cultural events.
Klashterec nad Ohri Castle
For vacationers who want to spend a day outside the resort and explore the surroundings of Jachymov, a trip to the Klashterec nad Ohri town is an excellent option. The main attraction of this small town is a beautiful medieval castle on the shore of a lake fed by the Ohře River, surrounded by the Ore Mountains and the English park. The castle was built in 1514 by the Czech knight Wolf Fitztum. Initially, it was an impregnable and powerful fortress, but over the past centuries it was actively rebuilt and finally acquired the renaissance appearance of a romantic palace. From the knight's fortress there was only a family coat of arms on the gate, which was left by the following owners of the count Thun-Hohenstein.
After the war, the castle moved to the state, and now it is one of the largest museums of porcelain. Porcelain compositions from the Czech Republic, Europe, China and Japan are located in 30 rooms of the mansion. In addition to porcelain exhibits, there are paintings, a collection of old dolls, handed over to the museum by the Kopetskikh family, and in the park you can see classic sculptures of the 18th century and unique flora samples. Tourists who love dark stories and Gothic tombstones can visit the graph crypt.
The Jachymov resort lies at the foot of the mount Klinovec, a visit to which is included in the obligatory program of every tourist. It is worth noting that in summer this mountain turns into a great place for a hiking trip, picnic in the fresh air or climbing to the observation deck, from where you can take wonderful panoramic photos of the surroundings. In winter, the mountain Klínovec is a major European ski resort. Vacationers in the Jachymov city can take advantage of equipment rental points and try ski slopes with various barriers, jumps and natural downhills. By the way, you can ski in Klinovec from any age, for beginner skiers and children there are simple slopes and, of course, instructors who will help you quickly get skiing. At lunch, skiers are invited to break off on a hike to a restaurant or a snack bar, and also visit sky-bars and pavilions for relaxation and communication, organized directly on the downhills of the mountain.
If a tourist has a lot of free time, then you can see the mine of rare metals, silver mines. "Svornost" Mine, still operating, is Europe's oldest functioning mine. Its supports and floors, holding the overhanging earth, are of such amazing strength that they have been preserved since the 16th century. Already in the third millennium, the mine acquired modern equipment that allowed it to pump mineral water from underground springs and bring it into Jachymov spa hotels. Also, scientists often visit the "Svornost" mine, since a seismograph is installed here to track the fluctuations of the earth's crust. Tourists are allowed inside the mine, its halls are shown as part of the tour and they talk about ore mining.
"Wolf Pits" Caves
Another interesting idea for a short trip in the vicinity of Jáchymov is a visit to the glacial caves. They are called “Wolf Pits” and are located near the Lenora village, located on the border of the Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia. Caves were discovered in the 16th century. The uniqueness of “Wolf Pits” lies in the fact that the snow lies in them all year round. You should approach the caves carefully, as their depth exceeds 20 meters and their length reaches 120 meters. After visiting the "Wolf Pits", you can walk along the tourist trail laid here and climb to the top of the mountain to admire the panorama that opens from the observation deck.
Festivals and events in Jachymov
Various cultural events are regularly held in Jachymov. These are live music concerts, symphony and organ concerts, and dance evenings, poetry evenings, fashion shows and creative contests. The schedule can be found at the reception of your spa hotel. For example, in early May the city celebrates the opening of the holiday season, in June, a competition of fine art and musical art starts, and in October the "Jachymov Musical Autumn" Festival takes place in Jachymov.
What to bring from Jachymov?
Not a single guest of Jachymov will refuse to buy gifts before leaving home that will remind you of a wonderful vacation. In order not to puzzle what souvenir to buy and what to bring to friends, you can steal one of our ideas:
Porcelain and crystal products of local production. In the Czech Republic, the production of crystal and porcelain is widely developed, and the city of Jachymov was no exception. Here you can buy at an affordable price both an elegant set of crystal glasses with the thinnest legs and gilded edges, and a cute porcelain tea set, from which it blows homeliness. And you can not be afraid to bring such products from the rest, since with proper packaging nothing will happen to them. Modern production technologies have made Czech crystal and porcelain very durable.
Gift sets of tinctures or alcohol. In Jachymov there is no own production of alcohol, but here you can buy rare and classic varieties of Czech beer, for example, "Wallenstein" or "Karlovy Vary". But various tinctures on herbs, flowers, berries and fruits are made here. Such a beautifully packaged tincture will be a great gift.
Sweet Waffle Set. Czech waffles have a special piquant taste and spicy aroma. Gift sets with various fillings for every taste, for example, chocolate, vanilla, nut or caramel, will be an excellent souvenir for family and friends. And most importantly, do not forget to buy a package on the road for yourself, because there are never too many Czech wafers!
Natural cosmetic. You can buy a variety of body, skin and hair care products in souvenir shops and cosmetic stores in Jachymov. The uniqueness of these products is that they contain healing mud and healing water from radon springs. In addition, such natural cosmetics are suitable for any skin type and age, do not cause irritation and at the same time have only a positive effect. So a set of cosmetics made from natural ingredients will be a great gift for all women.
Aromatic herbal harvests. Having bought a porcelain service for homemade tea parties, it’s worth buying a fragrant, aromatic and therapeutic herbal harvest for it. Tea from herbs, flowers and dried fruit pieces comes out not only delicious, but also very useful, calming nerves, relieving fatigue and relieving insomnia.
Works of art and products of local craftsmen. Jachymov is located in very picturesque places and it is not surprising that the panoramas of the city can be seen on the canvases of artists. Vacationers can purchase romantic paintings with medieval castles in the mountains, graceful mansions in blooming gardens or cityscapes with spiers of towers and temples. Moreover, works of fine art for decorating a house in Jachymov can be negotiated quite inexpensively. For tourists looking for more expensive souvenirs, also smaller and more convenient for transportation, it is worth paying attention to handmade smoking pipes, which will become an unusual and memorable gift. Even in souvenir shops you can find old maps and engravings with a view of the city.
How to get to the resort
The easiest way to get to the Jachymov resort is from Karlovy Vary, where there is an airport, but it doesn’t take many international flights. From Karlovy Vary to Jachymov is only 17 km, which can be overcome in 20-30 minutes by regular buses, constantly running between these resorts. By the way, this allows vacationers to see not only the sights of Jachymov, but also to have time to explore all the interesting places of Karlovy Vary during a vacation.
Another quick and easy way to get to the Jachymov resort is to fly to Prague by plane, and then take the direct bus service from "Florenc" Station. This route runs only 2-3 times a day, time should be specified in advance. On the road with a length of about 140 km it takes no more than 2-2.5 hours. You can also reach Jachymov, for example, from Prague by rail, but there are no direct flights, so you will have to change trains, which increases the travel time. By the way, when choosing a bus, it makes sense to give preference to the more expensive, but also comfortable option - express buses. In addition, they have a more spacious luggage compartment, which is suitable for tourists traveling with a large suitcase.
From Prague and Karlovy Vary airports you can get right to the door of your hotel in Jachymov by ordering a transfer on our website.
Useful advices for tourists
If you are going to spend your vacation in Jachymov and want everything to go perfectly, then the following recommendations will be useful to you:
- When choosing a month of rest in the Jachymov resort, it should be borne in mind that spring comes here early - from February there has been an increase in temperature. So you can not wait for the summer season, but go at competitive rates in March - May. By the way, Jachymov is a year-round resort, because throughout the year the city has a mild continental climate.
- Upon arrival at the resort, you should immediately change the currency to local, since you can not do without shopping at the resort. The cheapest way is to make an exchange at the nearest bank or at your hotel. Changing money at an airport in the Czech Republic is not profitable, but you should not approach street money changers either, since you can get into fake banknotes.