|• Mayor (2015–22)||Holger Hascheck (SPD)|
|• Total||29.59 km2 (11.42 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||1,000 m (3,000 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||650 m (2,130 ft)|
|• Density||130/km2 (340/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Vehicle registration||ERZ, ANA, ASZ, AU, MAB, MEK, STL, SZB, ZP|
Johanngeorgenstadt (German pronunciation: [ˌjoːhan.ɡeˈɔʁgŋ.ʃtat] ( listen )) is a mining town in Saxony’s Ore Mountains, 17 km south of Aue, and 27 km northwest of Karlovy Vary. It lies in the district of Erzgebirgskreis, on the border with the Czech Republic, is a state-recognized health resort (Erholungsort), and calls itself Stadt des Schwibbogens (“Schwibbogen Town”). Its population decline since the 1950s has been extremely severe falling from 45,000 residents in 1953 to only about one tenth of that now.
The town stretches predominantly from the eastern ridge of the almost 900-m-high Fastenberg to where the Breitenbach, which forms part of the border with the Czech Republic, empties into the river Schwarzwasser. The nearest high mountains to the town are the 1019-m-high Auersberg, the 1043-m-high Blatenský vrch (in Czechia) and the 913-m-high Rabenberg.
Communities in Aue-Schwarzenberg bordering on Johanngeorgenstadt are Breitenbrunn, Eibenstock and Sosa. The Czech community of Potůčky also borders on Johanngeorgenstadt.
Johanngeorgenstadt consists of the centres of Altstadt (called locally Sockendorf), Mittelstadt, Neustadt, Schwefelwerk, Jugel (Ober- and Unterjugel), Henneberg, Wittigsthal, Pachthaus, Heimberg (with Külliggut), Steigerdorf (with Haberlandmühle), Steinbach and Sauschwemme. The former centre of Neuoberhaus is nowadays abandoned and has been overgrown by woods.
Owing to the town's great elevation – the road to Neustadt reaches 892 m – the winter here, with its long-lasting snow cover, often lasts half the year, making Johanngeorgenstadt one of Saxony's snowiest areas. Wind strengths of four to seven at any time of year are not a rarity, leading to the town's already becoming a well-loved summer resort by the late 19th century. Ever since the area was once mentioned in some 18th-century publications as the Sächsisches Sibirien (“Saxon Siberia”), the town has been known by the affectionate nickname Johannsibirsk.
On 23 February 1654 in Annaburg, the founding of Johanngeorgenstadt at the Fastenberg right on the border in the Amt of Schwarzenberg by Bohemian Protestant refugees driven from Horní Blatná was approved by Elector John George I of Saxony. By 1680, there were roughly 100 ore mines in the town and the surrounding area. Silver mining also branched into tin mining, reaching its high point about 1715 and declining during the 18th century.
After the two free years were up in 1656, the Elector of Saxony gave up excise, “Schock” (an old currency in Saxony) and drinking taxes until the beginning of the 18th century owing to the pervasive poverty in the town. The great famine in the Ore Mountains in 1771 and 1772 claimed roughly 650 lives in Johanngeorgenstadt.
Already in 1651 in today's constituent community of Wittigsthal, an ironworks had come into service, and by 1828, Carl Gotthilf Nestler (1789–1864) had set up Saxony's first fully functional iron plate rolling mill in the Haberlandmühle. In the 19th century also began the production of lace bands and as of 1860, of leather gloves. On 19 August 1867, a devastating great fire destroyed 287 of the town's 355 houses and claimed seven adults’ and five children's lives.
Germany's first ski jump was built in 1929 near Johanngeorgenstadt. It bore the name “Hans-Heinz-Schanze”. In 1934, the formerly abandoned mining industry was taken up again. In the Second World War, with the seizure of owner Arthur Krautmann's “Deutsches Haus” hotel across from the railway station, the town became home to a military hospital. Furthermore, the town harboured a subcamp of the Flossenbürg concentration campin which countless inmates died. Its prisoners were used as forced labour and were deported mostly from German-occupied Soviet Union, Poland and France. The Johanngeorgenstadt camp was emptied on 13 April 1945 and the inmates were sent on a death march towards Theresienstadt.
Following World War II, the town was part of East Germany until 1990. Beginning in 1945, through the founding of SAG Wismut and later SDAG Wismut (Sowjetisch-Deutsche Aktiengesellschaft Wismut – Soviet-German Bismuth Corporation) uranium mining underwent growth that was both rapid and without much regard to the effects on either human beings or on the environment. A great deal of the Old Town had to be torn down between 1953 and 1960 owing to mining damage, and new residential areas were built.
From 1952 to 1957, Johanngeorgenstadt was a district unto itself, but after this the town was integrated with the district of Schwarzenberg (now Aue-Schwarzenberg).
The closure that began in 1990 of many businesses, such as the glove, textile and furniture industries as well as machine building led to a great fall in the town's population to levels below those before the war. This in turn led to the demolition of many empty factories and residential blocks (especially in Neuoberhaus, Pachthaus and the midtown). These measures even affected one of the town's few cultural monuments: The mining warehouse building, built between 1806 and 1812 and spared by the great fire of 1867, was, with town council's approval, torn down.
Development of population figures (from 1955 31 December):
1815 to 1946
1950 to 1971
1974 to 2006
1 29 October
2 31 August
Of the 5,748 inhabitants on 31 December 2003, 2,751 were male and 2,997 female.
The town's arms have their roots in the time when the town was founded.
Johanngeorgenstadt's coat of arms might heraldically be described thus: Party per fess, above argent three buildings gules with towers, below gules an inescutcheon argent, therein a sledgehammer and a cross-peen hammer sable per saltire.
The official German blazon, however (“Geteilt von Silber über Rot; oben drei rote Gebäude mit Türmen, unten ein kleiner Silberschild, darin schwarze Schlägel und Eisen”), does not mention the black roofs seen in the sample coat of arms in this article, nor does it say exactly how the charges are to be configured. It does not say, for instance, that the tools in the inescutcheon should be crossed (note, however, that this is implied if they are described as “hammer and pick”, the historical symbol of mining).
Not far from Schwefelwerkstraße lies the recreation, dedicated on 30 October 1993, of a horse gin and a hat house that may be visited. Right near the horse gin is a lapidarium featuring historic border stones and other boundary-marking stones.
Likewise on Schwefelwerkstraße in the middle of town is a Heimat-Stube, a museum of local lore.
In the Bahnhofsgebäude (railway station building), built in 1898 and 1899 and remodelled after a fire in 1993, various exhibitions take place.
There is also an “educational and entertaining” visitor mine in Wittigsthal called “Frisch Glück”
Johanngeorgenstadt is where the Ore Mountain folk group De Randfichten comes from, although only one of the three musicians, Michael Rostig, actually still lives in town.
Within the Erzgebirgszweigverein, a singing group led by retired teacher Eberhard Müller is active.
The Evangelical Lutheran Stadtkirche (“Town Church”) was built in neo-Gothic style using the old tower stonework after the town fire destroyed the Exulantenkirche from the 17th century, and it was consecrated on 27 August 1872. Inside are found, among other things, the monumental painting “Hausandacht” (“House Prayer”) – also known as “Betender Bergmann” (“Praying Miner”) and “Bergmannsglaube” (“Miner’s Belief”) – and “Exulantenschicksal” (“Exulants’ Fate”) by artist August Herrmann (1885–1962).
At the marketplace stands the Statue of the Town's Founder, Elector Johann Georg I of Saxony (1585–1656). It was carved out of Postelwitz sandstone in 1863 by sculptor Wilhelm Schwenk from Dresden and restored in 1984. Before it are some granite steps and a water-spouting bear's head referring to the Electoral hunts in the town's environs.
Also at the marketplace, the Schillerbrunnen (“Schiller Fountain”) is to be found. This was built in 1859, and dedicated on Friedrich von Schiller’s one hundredth birthday.
Other memorials at the marketplace are the light grey granite pedestal of the Warriors’ Memorial (1870/71) and several memorial stones to the sons of the town. The two-metre-tall bronze figure formerly on the Warriors’ Memorial pedestal was melted down in the Second World War.
At the corner of the marketplace at Karlsbader Straße once stood, until the town fire in 1867, the Löbelhaus in which the town's first mayor Johann Löbel the Elder lived. Here, in August 1785 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe spent the night on his way to Karlovy Vary.
At Röderplatz is found the memorial dedicated on 8 September 1901 to the Ore Mountain poet and singer, school principal Christian Friedrich Röder (1827–1900); it includes a larger-than-life bust.
Also worth seeing is the Platz des Bergmanns (“Miner’s Square”) with its music pavilion.
In the New Town (Neustadt) stands a Saxony postal milestone from 1728, which once stood at the market.
In Wittigsthal, next to the border crossing and the visitor mine, is the mansion of the old Wittigsthal ironworks, from 1836.
There is an old powder tower in the town known locally as the Pulverturm.
A Naturbad (“natural” swimming pool), fed by the Schwefelbach, draws summertime visitors. The natural ice stadium not far from the pool at the ski jumps is open in the wintertime.
The cross-country skiing centre in Schwefelwerk was completed in 2004 with a new building and recognized as a Nordic-Aktiv-Zentrum of the German Skiing Federation. Here begins the ridge ski run by way of Weitersglashütte and Mühlleithen to Schöneck, much loved in winter. Furthermore, in the Külliggut lands there are lifts at skiers’ disposal.
The widely wooded surroundings offer hiking enthusiasts a broad area for their pastime. Many marked trails lead to local sightseeing spots, among them in particular the Anton-Günther-Weg, which was dedicated in 1995 and which crosses the border. Also popular are outings to the Czech Republic, among these a trip to the 1043-m-high Plattenberg.
Johanngeorgenstadt was included in the postal road system of the Electorate of Saxony as the town lay on a pass in the Ore Mountains. Hearkening back to this time are the postal milestone from 1728 before the post office in the New Town (Neustadt), although originally it stood at the marketplace, and also a full milestone opposite the powder tower and a quarter-mile stone in Steinbach, both of which date from 1725. There are furthermore several Kingdom of Saxony milestones near the town that were placed from 1858 onwards, for example on the old postal route from Auerbach by way of Carlsfeld and Wildenthal (today part of Eibenstock) to Johanngeorgenstadt.
In 1883, the railway to Schwarzenberg began running, and from 1899 until its closure in 1945 the railway ran through to Neudek (Nejdek) and Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary). There are bus connections to Schwarzenberg and by way of Eibenstock to Rodewisch. With the reopening of the railway on 30 June 1991 and the opening of a pedestrian border crossing, which may also be used by motorscooters, it became possible to reach the neighbouring Czech community of Potůčky.
The Rathaus (Town Hall) is housed in a former barracks building on Eibenstocker Straße in the middle of town. The old town hall lay right on the marketplace, but it was destroyed in the great fire of 1867, and its successor was torn down in 1955.
Right near the town administration is the Haus der Jugend (House of Youth) built in 2004.
The Kulturhaus Karl Marx built in the New Town (Neustadt) in 1956 has been shut down for many years.
Since 1927, at Hospitalstraße 5, there has been a youth hostel with 60 beds at its disposal. In 1986, the title “Most Beautiful Youth Hostel” (Schönste Jugendherberge) was bestowed upon it. Until 1990, the hostel bore the name Ernst Schneller, after a prewar Communist member of the Reichstag who died at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
The gymnasium built in 1930 and 1931 on Eibenstocker Straße was opened once again in late October 2004 as the Franz Mehring Sport and Meeting Place after renovation and expansion.
The Ore Mountains or Ore Mountain Range in Central Europe have formed a natural border between Bohemia and Saxony for around 800 years, from the 12th to the 20th centuries. Today, the Czech Republic–Germany border runs just north of the main crest of the mountain range. The highest peaks are the Klínovec in the Czech Republic, which rises to 1,244 metres (4,081 ft) above sea level and the Fichtelberg in Germany.
Aue-Schwarzenberg is a former district in the Free State of Saxony, Germany. It was bounded by the Czech Republic and the districts of Vogtlandkreis, Zwickauer Land, Stollberg and Annaberg.
Aue is a small town in Germany at the outlet of the river Schwarzwasser into the river Zwickauer Mulde in the Ore Mountains, and has roughly 16,000 inhabitants. It was merged into the new town Aue-Bad Schlema in January 2019. Aue was the administrative seat of the former district of Aue-Schwarzenberg in Saxony, and is part of the Erzgebirgskreis since August 2008. It belongs to the Silberberg Town League
Eibenstock is a town in the western Ore Mountains, in the Erzgebirgskreis, Saxony, Germany. It is situated near the river Mulde.
Schwarzenberg is a town in the district of Erzgebirgskreis in Saxony’s Ore Mountains, near the German–Czech border. The town lies roughly 15 km southeast of Aue, and 35 km southwest of Chemnitz.
Schneeberg is a town in Saxony’s district of Erzgebirgskreis. It has roughly 16,400 inhabitants and belongs to the Town League of Silberberg. It lies 4 km west of Aue, and 17 kilometres (11 mi) southeast of Zwickau.
Grünhain-Beierfeld is a town in the district of Erzgebirgskreis in Saxony, Germany lying 8 km east of Aue. It came into being on 1 January 2005 through the merger of the town of Grünhain and the community of Beierfeld.
The town of Lauter lies in the district of Erzgebirgskreis in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, between the two towns of Aue and Schwarzenberg. It lies in the Ore Mountains, 4 km southeast of Aue, and 4 km northwest of Schwarzenberg, has 4,927 inhabitants in an area of 21.55 km² and belongs to the Town League of Silberberg. Since 1 January 2013, it is part of the town Lauter-Bernsbach.
Oberwiesenthal is a town and a ski resort in the district of Erzgebirgskreis in Saxony in Germany. It is situated in the Ore Mountains, on the border with the Czech Republic, 19 km south of Annaberg-Buchholz, and 23 km northeast of Karlovy Vary. At 914 metres (2,999 ft), it is the highest town in Germany. The Olympic and World Championships goldmedalist in ski jumping Jens Weißflog competed for SC Tractor Oberwiesenthal and Oberwiesenthaler SV.
Bockau is a community in the district of Erzgebirgskreis in the Free State of Saxony in Germany. The community is known for growing and researching herbs. Owing to its centuries-old cultivation of angelica, whose roots are used in making liqueurs, Bockau is also known locally by the nickname Wurzelbucke.
Breitenbrunn is a community in the Ore Mountains in the district of Erzgebirgskreis in the Free State of Saxony in Germany.
Markersbach is a former municipality on the river Große Mittweida in the district of Aue-Schwarzenberg in Saxony, Germany. Since 1 January 2008, Markersbach and Raschau have formed the municipality of Raschau-Markersbach.
Schönheide is a community in Saxony's district of Erzgebirgskreis. It lies in the western Ore Mountains, and was founded as an industrial village.
Sosa is a former municipality in the western Ore Mountains, in the Erzgebirgskreis, Saxony, Germany. It is a state-recognized health resort, that has belonged to the town Eibenstock since 1 January 2011.
SAG/SDAG Wismut was a uranium mining company in East Germany during the time of the cold war. It produced a total of 230,400 tonnes of uranium between 1947 and 1990 and made East Germany the fourth largest producer of uranium ore in the world at the time. It was the largest single producer of uranium ore in the entire sphere of control of the USSR. In 1991 after German reunification it was transformed into the Wismut GmbH company, owned by the Federal Republic of Germany, which is now responsible for the restoration and environmental cleanup of the former mining and milling areas. The head office of SDAG Wismut / Wismut GmbH is in Chemnitz-Siegmar.
A mining community, also known as a mining town or a mining camp, is a community that houses miners. Mining communities are usually created around a mine or a quarry.
The Zwickau–Schwarzenberg railway is a main line railway in the German state of Saxony. It extends from Zwickau through the valleys of the Zwickauer Mulde and the Schwarzwasser via Bad Schlema and Aue to Schwarzenberg. It opened in 1858 and it is one of the oldest railways in Germany. It is now served by Regionalbahn trains, operated by Erzgebirgsbahn between Zwickau and Johanngeorgenstadt.
Wildenthal is a village in the town of Eibenstock in the district of Erzgebirgskreis in the Saxon Ore Mountains of Central Germany.
Jugel is a municipality in the borough of Johanngeorgenstadt in the German district of Erzgebirgskreis. This dispersed settlement is surrounded by woods, is divided into Ober- and Unterjugel and runs along the German-Czech border from the Lehmergrund to the crest of the Western Ore Mountains. In the vicinity lies the 980 metre-high Scheffelsberg. Jugel is a tourist destination for hikers and winter sportsmen.
The Erla Ironworks has its origins in one of the oldest hammer mills in the Upper Ore Mountains, which was first recorded in 1380 as the Hammer in der Erl, making the ironworks the oldest existing business in the German state of Saxony.