Jihlava is the oldest mining town in the Czech Repbulic, older than Kutna Hora and the historic part of town is protected as an Urban Monument Reservation
Jihlava has around 50,000 people living there, it is the capital of the Vysocina Region
This was an important mining town surrounded by rich deposits of silver but later the town became well known for its handicrafts
13th-14th c. Jihlava was originally a slavic market village
15th-19th c. end of 14th c the importance of mining declined and became a centre of trade and crafts especially cloths
During Hussite Wars, Jihlava managed to resist a number of seiges
20th c. in 1921 there were 54% german speaking people living here and mostly everyone spoke German – the Jewish population were deported and killed around 1939 due to the Holocaust in Boemia and Moravia – 1945, German speakers had to wear a white arm band and couldnt catch public transport and most were expelled out of the area – Sad history 😦
I walked from Camp Pavov, 7km away and took me 1hr 10mins – nice walk got to see the outskirts of the town and the nice farmlands as well
As I came into the city, I was in AWE of how beautiful it was!!!
Church of St James the Greater – early Gothic church dated around 13th c.
The church of Saint James the Great was first mentioned in documents, which are dated to 1256, when the previous church, which stood in its place, was burned down. In the same year the construction of the new church began
In 1523 a fire hit and the 2 towers were heavily damaged
Having a beer while waiting for the rain to slow down
The Masarykovo Square is the 3rd largest city square in the country (36,000 sq m) and in the middle of the square is a plague column from 1690 and 2 fountains from 1797
Jihvala Underground tunnels
One of the exciting adventures today was finding an underground exploration! I didnt know about this but Jihvala has a 25km underground tunnel system that covers pver 50,000 sq mteres!
The origin of Jihvalas underground is dated back to the end of 13th c. and the underground was used for mainly the below 3 points:
- economic purpose i.e. storing goods, food, beer wine etc
- 2) shelter during wars or natural disasters
- 3) drainage system connecting all the corridors in the underground
The tour only took us to 250m 😦 The underground is located under the historical town centre and it is hollowed in 3 levels.
The map of the tunnels under Jihvala
The 1st floor is at depth of 1-4m, the 2nd floor is 4-7m, 3rd floor is 7-12m deep
There is also a mining shaft around 10m deep which was used to excavated rock which was lifted up to the surface and used to build the buildings, repairing town walls and streets etc
The miners had a really hard job, they died pretty young at about 30 years old
During a shift they would hollow out 2 or 2.5 cms of rock!! these tunnels would have taken forever to create
One of these tunnels leads to the bank – (dodgy much!!?) but now its closed up (apparently) I dont know if these tunnels were used for good or bad tbh and I think there is more to it…
The last part we went to 12m deep and here was usually absolute darkness, the guide turned off the torches… EXCEPT… there was a light glow coming from the walls – this soft glow was coming from somewhere and it took them ages o figure out that the wall coating contains 3 minerals
- Wurtzite (reacts to normal light)
- Willemit (reacts to UV rays)
They dont know exactly but it could be the phosphous from the bones of monks buried above the undergound as there was a monastery right above where we were standing, it could be something unnatural, it was said that the Nazis were looking for a window to the 3rd dimension during WWII or it could be a special paint produced by the Nazis in a factory IG Farben, helped them navigate the undergrounds
Masarykovo Square – In Jihlava there is a beautiful mix of gothic, renaissance and barqoue buildings all working together so nicely making this such a picturesque town
I climbed to the top of the tower which ended up being a museum and I just snuck in as it was about to close, great views from the top and best was that it started really pouring outside so I was inside the whole time – perfect timing
1525 – There were massive fires that destroyed the town, there was one in 1523 which basically destroyed everything but the Dominican Monastery and a few houses, but thne 2 years later another fire broke out and destroyed the Dominican Monastery (sounds suss to me) – then there were 2 more fires, one in 1535 and 1538 destroyed other areas of the town
While rebuilding, they used Gothic Renaissance and Renaissance elements which were new and modern at the time – such a shame, I would have loved to have seen teh old architecture
The beautiful old city walls and there was a walking trail all around which was beautiful to explore!
Walking back to my camp site
Passing by local homes, weathered yet beautiful, you can tell that some have original parts of the building still
Nearly at the camp grounds, the farms and farm houses were becoming more scattered as going further out of the centre
I really loved Jihlava, it was a colourful, typically European little town with cobblestones and surrounded by historical city walls with exciting undergound tunnels with such a rich and interesting past.
What I really enjoyed was walking those streets and basically being on my own with not many people around, it was relaxing and the whole town and the inhabitants had a really relaxed and easy feel to it