Historický důl Kovárna

Historic Mine Kovárna - Obří důl


Useful Information

Location: Near Pec pod Sněžkou.
Tickets and information at: Městské informační centrum Veselý výlet Pec pod Sněžkou (Municipal Information Center Merry Trip in Pec pod Sněžkou), Hlavní ulice 196, 542 21 Pec pod.
(50.727775, 15.731211)
Open: Route A: JUL to AUG Fri-Sun 10:30, 13:30, 16:30.
Route B: JUL to AUG Fri-Sun 10, 13, 16.
[2021]
Fee: Route A: Adults CZK 250.
Route B: Adults CZK 400.
[2021]
Classification: ExplainIron Mines ExplainCopper Mines arsen
Light: helmet with headlamp provided
Dimension: L=7km, T=7°C, H=100%, A=1100m asl (Barbora adit).
Guided tours: Route A: D=1h, L=250m.
Route B: D=2h.
MinAge=10, Max=10.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Městské informační centrum Veselý výlet Pec pod Sněžkou, PSČ 542 21, Krkonoše, Tel: +420-499-736-130, Tel: +420-499-874-221. E-mail:
České speleologické společnosti 5-02 Albeřice, Stará Alej 462, 542 24 Svoboda nad Úpou, Tel: +420-603-360-993. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1511 first written mention of the mining.
16th cty Kryštof Gendorf from Carinthia mined mainly iron ore in the vicinity of Vrchlabí (Lánov, Herlíkovice), gold in Černý Důl, and iron ore in Obřím dole..
1534 a mining company of 17 entrepreneurs asks for a 12 year mining privilege in the Giant Mine.
1548 silver mining mentioned.
1569 the Hütel map by the mine surveyor Jiřích z Řásné shows several mining objects in the area.
1569 deposits of copper and lead ores discovered by the mining entrepreneur and prospector Hanse Seyfert.
1760s the owner of the Maršov region, Jacob de Waggi, finances the operation of the mines.
1827-1831 Barbora adit mined.
1847 for a few months a small deposit of lead ores is mined.
19th cty mine owned by Berthold Wilhelm Wallenstein.
1952-1955 Mezipatro (Intermediate Mine) dug.
1959 mine closed.
2004 show mine opened to the public with Route A.
2011 Route B opened to the public.
2019 mine closed for the construction of a new tourist route.
2023 scheduled reopening.

Geology

The mine has three polymetallic ore bodies named Helen, Gustav and Wenceslas lenses. The were also several smaller lenses. The deposits have a complicated cylindrical to lenticular shape falling steeply into depth. There is an older sulphidic mineralization and younger scheelite mineralization. The younger mineralization has so far only been found on the Helen lens, which is in direct contact with the granite. The lenses are mainly composed of skarn and erline, but hornfels, amphibolites and relics are present. The lenses are surrounded by crystalline limestone and dolomite, sometimes folded into the bedding bodies. The whole structure is a result of the krkonošsko-jizerský pluton, which is located on the northern side.

Description

The Historický důl Kovárna (Historic Kovárna Mine) in Obří dole is operated by the Speleo Albeřice Group of the Czech Speleological Society. The non-profit organisation is offering guided tours through the historic mine, which is made secure and developed by ladders and railings. Nevertheless the mine is not equipped with electric light and the trails are sometimes demanding. Actually the whole tour is demanding, beginning with the purchase of the tickets. They are sold only at the Municipal Information Center Merry Trip in Pec pod Sněžkou. From here it takes at least 90 minutes by foot to the mine entrance. You should be at the hut at least 30 minutes before the tour, because you have to gear up with helmet, headlamp and protective gear and then there is a safety instruction.

The mine is located at the slopes of the highest Czech mountain Sněžka (Snow Mountain). The whole area is quite popular and full of walking trails and mountain lodges. The mountain is located right south of the border to Poland, and the area is visited from both sides of the border. However, it is necessary to walk to the mine which is at least a four kilometer hike from the end of the public road at the lower station of the cable car. There is more paved road but it requires a special permit, and the second half of the trail is not suitable for cars.

Since the Middle Ages, gemstone seekers and miners have been searching for valuable resources in the Krkonoš (Giant Mountains). The were successful, and Obřím Dole (Giant Mine) was on of their discoveries. The ores underwent a fisrt sorting underground, and lower grade ores were left in piles and not transported out of the mine. The second sorting took place on the surface in the so-called Erzscheide Kaue (ore sorting hut), located at the mouth of the Barbora adit.

The mining concentrated on the bigger lenses of sulfide ores. Smaller veins were left untouched and are still visible in the walls. As a result the mine is actually a great source for a multitude of minerals. Even in the middle ages the are was prospected for minerals and gemstones. And this mine was rich in quartz and fluorite crystals. Probably a source of the numerous legends and fairy tales about treasures of gemstones.

It is unknown when the mine was actually opened, but it existed in the 16th century as it was first mentioned as an operational mine in 1511. There are stories that it was mined by Kryštof Gendorf from Carinthia, other documents tell about a mining company of seventeen entrepreneurs who asked for a twelve-year mining privilege in the Obřím dole in 1534. The permission to mine was apparently not granted as a result of an unfavourable statement by the supreme mintmaster, Kryštof Gendorf, who held the position of mining governor. The reason for the refusal was probably fear of competition with his own mines.

The mine was operated for many centuries and the mining concentrated on different ores. Finally in the mid 20th century the mine was prospected for future mining a,d a total of 7km of passages was dug. But in the end the deposits were not profitable enough, even under socialist conditions. The mining was actually quite difficult because of the altitude, the snow in the winter, the difficult access and other reasons. The mine was closed and the entrances sealed. But after only a few decades the speleologist reopened the mines to explore them. The size of the mine workings and the interesting minerals made th site quite interesting and so it was reopened as a show mine. And despite the fact that it is quite remote, it is located in a popular hiking area. After less than a decade the show mine was extended by a second route, and a third one is currently constructed [2021]. The works started already in 2019, so COVID-19 is not responsible for the closure, but it will reopen 2023 with some delay.