History - Schneeberg agreement

Founding and development of Bozi Dar

    The charter of Bozi Dar was given to it on June 6, 1546 by the Saxon elector Johann Friedrich in the form of privilege of free mining town. It allowed the town's inhabitants to mine silver and tin, to found a parish church, to trade freely, to profess crafts and to hold weekly and annual markets. This crucial town privilege was acknowledged in Prague on July 25, 1608 by the Roman emperor and Czech king Rudolph II, who also granted the town the rights of town court, of salt trade and of brewing. Five years later (January 3, 1613), these privileges were also confirmed in Vienna by the Roman emperor and Czech king Matthias II. The parchment originals of all these three documents are nowadays stored in the State District Archive in Karlovy Vary.

    In 1546-47, Bozi Dar became part of the Czech Crown Lands. After that, there were still disputes over the border areas but these were once for all over when so-called Schneeberg Agreement was signed on October 26, 1556 between the Czech kingdom and the Saxon electorate.

    The agreement outlined the exact borderline between the two countries and in summer 1558, border stones were laid. The boom of mining in Bozi Dar hit its peak in 1550s and 1560s, when the town?s inhabitants totaled over 2000. In 1580, King Rudolph II raised the status of the town to ?royal mining town?. During the Thirty-year War, Bozi Dar was left open to sacking and violence. In 1643 the Swedes plundered it. After mining declined in the 17th and 18th centuries, this lively center of mining gradually transformed into a quiet mountain town whose inhabitants earned their living doing various domestic manufacturing. Around 1800, Bozi Dar had almost 1400 inhabitants and about 200 houses. During WW1, 88 men from Bozi Dar died. To honor them, a memorial was raised on the square in 1925. After WW1, Bozi Dar became a popular summer destination as well as a center of winter sports.

History of Bozi Dar

    Bozi Dar with its height above sea level of 1,028 metres is the highest small town in Central Europe. The name of the settlement of Bozi Dar is allegedly derived from the words of the Elector of Saxony, Johann Friedrich, who, when offered a rest on a seat made from one single piece of silver, stated: - Dieses edle Metall, das ist euer Brot, das ist eine Gabe Gottes. (This precious metal is your bread, it is the Gift of God - "dar bozi" in Czech). Before this, however, there was a long history.

    The area around Bozi Dar began to be formed as early as in the Palaeozoic era, when in the place of the Ore Mountains (Krusne hory) system there was only a low range of hills. At the end of the Palaeozoic era deep-lying granite volcanic rock began to penetrate to the surface and the Ore Mountains slowly began to rise. In the course of the Tertiary Age a mighty volcanic eruption of basalt occurred not far from the place where Bozi Dar now stands and gave rise to the Bozidarskz Spicak (peak), which is 1,115 metres above sea level and the highest basalt pile of volcanic origin in Central Europe. Later, in the Post-glacial Era, the| Bozi Dar peat bogs began to form on the adjoining tectonic fault at the places where deep springs reach the surface.

    The locality of Bozi Dar still had to wait a long time, however, for the arrival of the first settlers. At the beginning of the 16th century the surroundings of Bozi Dar were still covered with dense ancient forests. But in the year 1212 the Roman Emperor Frederick II gifted the surrounding land to the Czech King Premysl Otakar I. In 1424 it was acquired by the lords of Tettau. After the death of Jiri Vilem of| Tettau there was a lengthy dispute among the heirs, which reached a climax in the summer of 1528 with the discovery of silver on the western lower slopes of the Fichtelberg. In 1529 the Elector of Saxony, Johann Friedrich, in order to support mining activity, declared the so-called mining freedom for this part of the Schwarzenberg estate, which bordered on Jachymov. In 1533 the Elector of Saxony, Johann Friedrich, acquired the ownership of these lands by signing a purchase agreement with the heirs of the lords of Tettau. In the summer of the same year the borders of a new town unit were marked out at the order of the Elector of Saxony on the hill plateau and 600 building plots were measured out.

    The settlement of the Bozi Dar locality dates, then, from the beginning of the 16th century, when mining prospectors began to reach these highest parts of the Ore Mountains, first from the Saxony side from Fichtelberg and somewhat later also from the Czech side, from Jachymov. In 1546 Bozi Dar was awarded the privilege of a free mining town, which until then came under the central mining office in Schneeberg

    In the 16th century the extraction of silver and peat, which was concentrated mainly to the south and south-east of the town, was joined by the mining of tin by the panning of sediment in the waters of the Cerny potok (Black Stream) and mining work in the area of Zlaty kopec (Golden Hill). Already from 1574 records have been preserved about the fact that additional payment had to be made for the mining of some ores. After the Thirty Years War (1618 - 1648) the mining concentrated more on arsenic and tin, the acquisition of which did not run at a loss, as was the case with other metals.

    After the Second World War Bozi Dar became almost a ghost town. The situation did not improve until 1971, when a border crossing into what was then the German Democratic Republic was opened close to the town. Since the 16th century the importance of Bozi Dar has altered fundamentally and from the lively Medieval mining town with 2,000 inhabitants Bozi Dar became an important tourist centre for both winter and summer sports in the 20th century.

    In the town there is the building of a church dedicated to St Anne. This Baroque church with Classicist traits was built in 1772 by Fil. Heger on the site of the demolished Renaissance building dating from 1593. Worthy of mention is the pewter christening font, which is situated in the building of the church. This font, together with the bell, was made in 1612 by the Jachymov blacksmith and bell-founder Hans Widdla senior. The centre of the town consists of a rectangular Renaissance square at the corners of which two streets always meet. The dominant building in this area is the Town Hall, built in 1844 - 1845 in the style of Late Classicism. The other older buildings in the town were destroyed by fire in 1808.

    Buried in the local cemetery is a native of Bozi Dar, the singer and self-taught poet Anton Günther (1876 - 1937). A further important personality is the Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis, who lived in Bozi Dar in the years 1929 - 1931.

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