Lying beneath the mountains, with infertile soil and a harsh climate, this region was not among the first to be settled. But the terrain's unique geological composition long attracted ore-diggers searching for deposits of silver and iron, and the location, close to an ancient trade route, quickly attracted the attention of a Prague bishop. As early as 1216 Prague's Bishop Ondrej bought "Pribram Manor"
from a monastery in Tepla, and began building one of his estates. A town was grew around the Bishop's seat with market privileges and a St. James Church, which represented the center of the manor and several villages.
In 1278, when Czech King Premysl Otakar II. was killed, many lengthy conflicts arose in the country, and at their conclusion in 1291, the bishop had to call new settlers, led by the finder Premysl, to the destroyed Pribram. A long period of peace and prosperity followed. Prague Archbishop Arnost of Pardubice had a new castle built of stone in Pribram, and he established a hospital with a second Church of St. John in the outskirts.
After the Hussite Reformation, Pribram, which had rid itself of Church authorities, became the property of the king, who did not govern it directly but gave it as a pledge to his creditors, who were often changing. For this reason the citizens focused their hopes even more on silver mining, which developed here very rapidly and to an extreme extent after the beginning of the 16th
century. After the Thirty Year War, Pribram recovered only thanks to successful iron mining, from which the city received a significant source of income at the end of the 17th
century and the beginning of the 18th
century. Pribram, known world-wide as
the most successful silver mining site in the Habsburg Monarchy, gradually became the seat of the central mining institutions and, in the middle of the 19th
century, the seat of a mining academy.
In the history of Pribram, the middle of the 20th
century meant new change. The beginning of the uranium age there began a new epoch of local mining - fast development of uranium mining, and a subsequent redevelopment of the city. After November 1989, the big mining plant's silver mines and lead mines, as well as its modern uranium ore mines, disappeared. The city today, with its 40,000 inhabitants, is no longer a mining city, but remains a pilgrimage city and a memorial for rich mining traditions.
When entering Pribram, St. Mountain Cathedral appears immediately on the left side. Here originally stood a chapel (created in the 14th
century) whose administration was taken over by the Jesuits in 1647. Large-scale reconstruction of the cathedral occurred in the second half of the 17th
century according to the design of Italian architects - added to the originally simple Church were arcades with four corner chapels. St. Mountain Cathedral
is the most beautiful architectural landmark in Pribram - it has held its current appearance since the beginning of the 18th
century (balustrades with statues of Saints, four stairways descending from the terrace into the arcades, and a long covered stairway, which connects it to the city). Also recommended to tourists is a visit to the geological museum and the memorial of Antonin Dvorak, which is located in the chateau in Vysoka u Pribrami.