Ore mining in Kutná Hora
Underground of Kutná Hora resembles the Dutch Emmenthal cheese. The underground is full of drowned drifts, but astonishingly enough, the whole Kutná Hora was built litteraly from those places, in which nowadays you will find only water or nothing. However, many years ago those places were filled with silver. Anyway, wherever you go in Kutná Hora, you can be sure that on this or that place was a mine, or just a dross, or some miners. The whole town was built thanks to their work... and many of them died in the mines.
History of mining in Kutná Hora dates to year 985, but the real Silver Rush begun at the end of 13th Century. As we know, people during Silver Rush don´t think racionally. It is enought to give them hammers and they start mining wherever it is shiny. The activity had to resemble a grotesque here. Mines had been founded only for one purpose- to mine the greatest amount of silver as fast as possible. Miners and adventurers from surroundings went there and even German miners came here. The silver on the surface layers was very pure, but when all the surface layers had been mined, miners were forced to mine deeper and deeper. Then the silver wasn´t so pure and it was necessary to clean it in order do get rid of some impurities. In years 1290 to 1350 approximately 55 kilograms of pure silver were mined there. When we realise that there were 15 thousand inhabitants in Kutná Hora, that we come to conclusion, that one and a quarter kilogramme of silver was mined per year per capita. However the greatest amount of silver was taken away by investors or by king, so after paying for bread and beer a miner was left with his hammer again. Of course, there were some exceptions – robbery was not unusual thing here. Silver had its precios power to change an ordinary miner to wealthy aristocrat.
Unfortunately, the majority of people was still poor. As incomes from the mining were lowering, investors forced miners to mine even deeper, thus the costs were higher and higher and salaries of miners were cut short. In 1496 they striked and 12 of them were killed. The reason why the amount of silver mined was lowering was not only in the fact that the overall amount of silver under Kutná Hora was cutting short, but also underground water was a great problem. Even the richest mine, that was named Donkey, was drowned. They had never drew off the water from the mine. In that times the instruments were unsuitable, but today we even do not know, where Donkey lies. Nearly every citizen of Kutná Hora has his theory, where the mine is located. Pure silver was there even in 1845 and from Malínská drift more than 16 carriages full of silver were carried away. Alas, those last attempts were ended by the powerful water.
If you want to know more about the process of mining, mine here.