The oldest written proof about the existence of Pribram originates in 1216 when the archbishop of Prague Ondrej III. had bought it. In the reigning period of the Czech King and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Charles IV. the archbishop Arnost of Pardubice had in the original wooden stronghold site a stone small castle constructed, today's heart of Pribram's chateau (Zamecek). It is there where recently a ceremonial hall and an art gallery are to be found. Here there was a seat of educational mining equipment, then the Mining Academy and finally the College of Mining Engineering during 1849 - 1945.
The archbishop Ernest of Pardubice
built a stone castle instead of wooden one in the reigning period of Charles IV. The town grew around the castle. In 16th
century Pribram became a royal mining town and silver was mined here. Emperor Rudolf II. promoted Pribram to a free royal mining town in 1579. The biggest development of mining activities came in 19th
century. Silver, lead later on uranium were here. There were some tragedies too, after a great fire 319 miners lost their lives. Uranium was mined in Pribram after 2nd
world war (1948), the mines ended all in 1991. Charles Hoyden
painted scenes from miners life and work.
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.