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Czech RepublicsipkaRegion by regionsipkaSouth-East Bohemia (Jihlava)sipkaJihlava district

Ancient Jihlava is one of Czech Republic's most valued towns. Founded by King Wenceslas I to exploit rich silver veins in 1237-39, Jihlava experienced a breath-taking boom during the late 13th century and took a position among the Kingdom's most important cities. The King secured the development through a wise decision. He invited the leading mining experts from Europe's centres ofmining (especially from Bavaria, Saxonia, and Tirolia.) Many craftsmen and tradesmen followed in their footsteps bringing about knowledge and experience that further boosted Jihlava's boom. The town soon became breeding ground for new forms of businesses, new mining technology, and the new Mining Rules. 13th century Jihlava embodied the triple problem of the contemporary Czech history: founding of towns, beginnings of advanced mining, and German colonisation. But Jihlava's mines did not last long and the 14th century economy found itself based on different pillars - the crafts (beer breweries, tin smitheries, millineries, and above all, draperies) and trade. 10th century Jihlava was one of Middle Europe's most beautiful towns thanks to the Renaissance architecture and humanistic culture, contemporary chronicles say. But the Thirty-Year War, especially the final period of 1646-48, brought Jihlava to its knees so that it has never recovered to its old glory since. But we still can see most of the beauty, mainly in the interiors of the 213 houses that were included in the Architectural Reserve. Surviving parts of the wall system with God's Mother's Gate also testify to Jihlava's old power as fortress on the Bohemian-Moravian border. The guildship system that developed in the following centuries proved deleterious to the emerging industrial entrepreneurship. The delay was made up for at the beginning of the 20th century and Jihlava became a centre of textile industry. The new growth promoted Jihlava to become natural centre of vast parts of the Bohemian-Moravian Uplands and is still a place of the historian's and nature lover's interest.
Jihlava lies among wooded hills in the heart of the Bohemian - Moravian highlands. Despite the fact that the town lies in the poor area of Horacko, it is quite rich in its history and its artistic and architectural monuments. Its current population is 53,000.
The Slavic village of Old Jihlava was founded in the 11th century on the hill above the Jihlava River. In 1238 large deposits of silver were discovered near the village. In 1240 King Wenceslas I purchased Jihlava from the Tisnov monastery in order to found a new colonial town. Soon around the market a network of streets developed, which has not changed for 700 years.
Soon a mint was established in Jihlava. The great amount of wealth allowed for the construction of three beautiful churches.
Along with the religious architecture, bourgeois houses were constructed. In cellars and basements of many buildings in the center, the remains of Early Gothic structures can be found.
After a great earthquake and floods in 1328, mining of silver was decreased, and merchandising and trade became predominant - first in malting and brewing, later in draperies.
During the Hussite Wars, Jihlava was against the Utraquists, and many monastic treasures found their hiding place there. In 1436, citizens gathered on Jihlava's square witnessed the announcement of the Basil Compacts, which formally ended the Hussite wars.
During the Thirty Years War, almost all of Jihlava was destroyed; but the boom in the trades assured its return to affluence. In 1846 Jihlava was still the third-largest city - following Prague and Brno - in the Czech lands.
In 1951 the historical center of the city was proclaimed a historical monument. Today it is composed of 582 buildings, of which 214 are cultural monuments.

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