Mountain town

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A mountain town is historically a settlement near commodity lagerstätten which, especially for the purpose of rapid settlement of workers and companies , with special privileges , exemptions equipped or -erlass and the like ( " Free mountain town "). In the times of the decline of the mining industry , the designation was also expressly given by the rulers in order to encourage private investments. This designation was also given to cities that were hoped for a greater mining development through this.


“Bergstadt, also Bergort - in the w. S. a city which owes its origin mainly to the mining operations in its vicinity; in the e. S. a city to which various privileges have been granted for the benefit of mining. "

- Veit, mountain dictionary

"Bergstadt, a city where mines are built, in Saxony such cities are exempted from the landaccise with half the land and drink tax decree, and the Accisemoderation, also sliding and customs, in view of what is needed for mining, on the other hand, in view of the land tax and drink tax pardon, the whole Commun has to build a tunnel to unlock the mountains, and because of the half accise to be enjoyed, every inhabitant, according to the nature of his mine, has to build a certain number of kuxes. The mining towns do not enjoy such freedom absolutely and without exception, but they must be expressly pardoned. "

- Pestle, mining dictionary

Privileges and restrictions

Although the mining towns differ significantly in terms of development, domain and time of the survey, there are similarities in terms of privileges and restrictions. The similarity of the mining regulations and mining laws, also across national borders, later norms and the migration movements of the miners had a unifying effect.

A mining town was a town that, in addition to town charter, also had extensive mining law privileges. Many mining towns were, at least for a time, the seat of a mining authority with their own mining supervisor , often with their own mining jurisdiction . Tax breaks should stimulate the economy. In Saxony, many municipalities, not just mining towns, were exempt from half the land and potion tax, but had to demonstrably invest them in their own mines, the communal pits . However, they often only performed this chore with the smallest possible workforce, but privatized the mine when it yielded yield . The freedom from customs and escort was intended to enable free access to the city and the supply of the mining towns with goods, since in many, rapidly growing mining towns, at least in the early years, the proportion of non-mining professions was too low for a balanced commercial structure. Jews, who at the beginning were of great importance for the revival of the mining towns, were soon denied access. They were also not allowed to settle in the vicinity. Either they weren't allowed to pass the mountain town at all, or they had to leave it before nightfall.

However, some of these benefits were also given to less significant mining settlements. Only the urban insignia, such as seals, coats of arms, market justice , brewing justice , mileage law, etc., made it a mountain town or, if not so important, a mountain town or small mountain town. Mountain towns only had market fairness (market towns) and were not among the "real" mountain towns.

Mountain towns as a form of settlement

Plan of Marienberg (around 1730)

Many mining towns, especially in the Ore Mountains , have a characteristic floor plan and are therefore perceived as a special type of settlement. While the late medieval , mountain town foundations such as Altenberg or Schneeberg were still unregulated, from around 1500, at the second mountain screeching , the landlord undertook urban planning design in many cases despite an often equally rapid growth. He not only endowed the settlement with the privileges of a mining town to attract miners, but also had a town built in a suitable location and of the expected size.

The architecture followed the ideals of the Renaissance with a grid-like to chessboard-like floor plan. Right-angled streets, a large, central square where u. a. the market and the mountain elevators were held are the main features. It was important that the settlement was not directly in the mining area, that it was easily accessible, that it was supplied with drinking water and that it could be built to protect itself. As a result, some of these cities were laid out on "wild roots" in previously unpopulated areas.

The most striking example is Marienberg , which was built from 1521 according to plans by Ulrich Rülein von Calw . This had already tackled Annaberg in 1496 . Though less important, this series also includes Scheibenberg (1522), Oberwiesenthal (1527), Gottesgab (1529) and Platten (1534). As the name suggests, space consisted of little more than the market square. The mountain and exile town of Johanngeorgenstadt was the last larger settlement to be built on Fastenberg after 1654 with such a floor plan .

Regional distribution and examples

Due to the legal basis, there were mining towns mainly in the Holy Roman Empire , so that these towns can be found today mainly in Germany , the Czech Republic , Slovakia , Romania as well as Poland , Austria , Hungary and Italy .

The most important mining town in Saxony was Freiberg , from where a supraregional influence on mining legislation , technology and training ( Bergakademie Freiberg ) was exercised. At the end of the Middle Ages, the still large mining towns of Schneeberg , Annaberg and Marienberg developed in connection with silver finds . Altenberg , Eibenstock , Johanngeorgenstadt and Schwarzenberg were also important as the seat of mining authorities . In the middle of the 16th century, this "successful model" was copied in the Harz Mountains in order to revive the depressed mining industry. In quick succession, the "seven Upper Harz mining towns" Clausthal , Zellerfeld , Sankt Andreasberg , Grund , Lautenthal , Wildemann and later Altenau were privileged and miners from the Ore Mountains were attracted. These cities are now in the state of Lower Saxony . Mining towns of lesser importance also existed in today's states of Baden-Württemberg , Bavaria , North Rhine-Westphalia , Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia .

In the Czech Republic, too, you will find a particularly large number of former mining towns, because the Bohemian kings, and for many centuries also emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, liked to use this remedy. As early as the Middle Ages, Kuttenberg was given special rights, which, in a modified form, were transferred to other cities. Also owl ( Jílové u Prahy ) was at times very significant. In the 16th century, many settlements were given city rights , especially in the then almost undeveloped Ore Mountains . The most important and at times second largest city in Bohemia was Sankt Joachimsthal ( Jáchymov ). Other high-altitude cities such as Gottesgab ( Bozi Dar ) or Kupferberg ( Měděnec ) could not maintain their importance. The medieval Jihlava ( Jihlava ) is located in what was then Moravia , and with its mountain jurisdiction also had a great impact throughout the empire.

In Slovakia, at that time mainly part of the Kingdom of Hungary , there are two regions. In central Slovakia are the so-called Lower Hungarian mountain towns , such as the "golden Kremnitz " ( Kremnica ), the "silver Schemnitz " ( Banská Štiavnica ) and the "copper Neusohl " ( Banská Bystrica ), which formed an alliance with 3-4 other towns . In Eastern Slovakia, the Upper Hungarian mountain towns such as Göllnitz ( Gelnica ), Schmöllnitz ( Smolník ) and Zipser Neudorf (Spišská Nová Ves) are located in the Spiš , which also formed a Heptapolitana (Seven Alliance).

There are two regions in Romania. In Transylvania there are large gold and silver deposits near the cities of Frauenbach ( Baia Mare ), Mittelstadt ( Baia Sprie ) and Offenburg ( Baia de Arieș ). In the Banat , where copper was mainly extracted, Orawitz ( Oravița ) was the seat of the Oberbergdirektion.

The Polish mining towns, which were predominantly privileged under Bohemian rule, are mainly in Silesia . Larger cities are Georgenberg ( Miasteczko Śląskie ), Goldberg ( Złotoryja ) and Tarnowitz ( Tarnowskie Góry ), as well as Olkusz in the Lesser Poland region . Since salt also falls under the regalia , the towns of Groß Salze ( Wieliczka ) and Salzberg ( Bochnia ) in Lesser Poland are also referred to as mining towns.

In Austria, the cities of Schwaz , Brixlegg , Kitzbühel , Rauris , Eisenerz and Rottenmann are particularly noteworthy. Rottenmann received the privileges in 1320 and is now known as the "Thousand-year old mining town".

The Hungarian mountain town of Ruda ( Rudabánya ) was privileged by King Louis the Great in 1351. Furthermore Telken ( Telkibánya ) should be mentioned here.

In Italy we find the oldest mountain towns, Massa Marittima and Trento .

In the Norwegian town of Kongsberg , silver and in Røros copper were mined by German miners in accordance with German mining regulations.

See also


  • Sven Rinman : General mining lexicon . Adapted from the Swedish original and, according to the latest discoveries, increasingly by a society of German scholars and mineralogists. First part. Contains A to Berg. Chr. W. Vogel, Leipzig 1808, Bergstadt, p. 747 ( Google books - Swedish: Bergwerks Lexicon .).
  • Ferdinand Hautzinger: The copper and silver blessing of the resin . Berlin 1877, Special description of the mining towns, corridors, pits, tunnels and water systems, p. 67-97 .
  • Volker Wahl : Mining, mining courts and mining administration in the area between Suhl, Steinbach-Hallenberg and Schmalkalden . In: Staatliche Museen Meiningen (Hrsg.): Südthüringer Forschungen . tape 13 . Free Word, Meiningen 1979, p. 7-48 .
  • Klaus Kratzsch: Mining Cities of the Ore Mountains - Urban Development and Art at the Time of the Reformation . In: Munich art historical treatises . tape IV . Schnell & Steiner, Munich / Zurich 1972, ISBN 3-7954-0453-3 .
  • Wilfried Ließmann : Historical mining in the Harz . 2nd Edition. Springer, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-540-62930-0 .
  • Wolfgang Schwabenicky : Mining towns of the 12th to 14th centuries in Saxony . In: Yves Hoffmann, Uwe Richter (ed.): The early history of Freiberg in a national comparison. Urban early history - mining - early house building . Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle / Saale 2013, ISBN 978-3-95462-132-3 , p. 211-224 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ City and Mining , Karl Heinrich Kaufhold
  2. ^ Heinrich Veith: German mountain dictionary with evidence . Wilhelm Gottlieb Korn, Breslau 1871, p. 89 .
  3. anonymous: Mining Dictionary . it shows the German names and idioms and at the same time the Latin and French used by writers. Ed .: Johann Christoph Stößel. Chemnitz 1778, p. 84 .
  4. Franz J. Schopf: The Jews denied entry into the mining towns of Bohemia . In: Archives for civil justice, political and cameralistic administration in the German, Bohemian, Galician and Hungarian provinces of the Austrian imperial state . Volume II, 1838, p. 110-113 ( digitized version ).
  5. Bergstadt. Retrieved August 27, 2017 .
  6. K. Kratzsch, 1972, p. 53.
  7. Rudabánya official website accessed on May 26, 2019