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Od kláštera Osek na Selesiovu výšinu, k Lomu, Libkovicům, Hrdlovce a zpět/From The Osek Cloister to Lom and back
By Samotar, 27 September 2015
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Duchcov II. - past and tomorrow
… A rainy and windy walk around the Duchcov waste pond and Bílina mines. We walked west from the center along old railway tracks, the former railway station and railway bridge, with the memorial to the clash between police and striking workers back in the 1920s. It is almost at the end of the old landscape and the beginning of the industrial terrain and territory of mining company.
We walked toward the Ledvice power station and its waste pond. The main factor shaping the town is the coal industry, in connection with electrotechnical and machine industries. Besides lignite, Duchcov is famous for the local company Vitrablock, which produced the familiar "Duchcov luxfer glass bricks", as well as the porcelain factory Royal Dux Bohemia.
For some uses, waste coal may be partially cleaned by removing extraneous non-combustible constituents. Before burning it at the power station, the coal is crushed and washed, creating waste water which is filled with toxins. Another form of liquid coal waste is the acidic mine runoff. Both forms of liquid coal waste are disposed of in a landfill near the mine site. Usually, coal production creates waste water that contains tons of mercury, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, nickel, and selenium.
The Duchcov community was probably founded in 13th century under name „Tockczaw“, later „Duchczow“. In 1460, King George of Poděbrady granted the town an escutcheon and a town seal. At the end of 15th century, further privileges were granted to the town. The Thirty Years War followed, devastating the town.
The Wallenstein Parentage came and influenced the next stages of its development. The Wallenstein Parentage deserved well of great building development in the town, reconstruction and further building arrangement of local chateau, originally town’s castle, heavy damaged during Hussite wars. Wallenstein Parentage made first attempts at mining brown coal. In 1758, Joseph Emmanuel of Wallenstein invited the well-known philosopher, adventurer and globetrotter Giacomo Casanova.
Casonova spent 13 years of this life here as chateau librarian, and he died here in 1798. He wrote on this spot most of his literary works, including his famious Memoires. In addition, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Frederick Schiller, Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederick Chopin and František Palacký also stayed at the Duchcov castle.
The second half of 19th century meant for Duchcov new developments in the form of the construction of new sections of railway lines and brown coal mining. A boom in brown coal caused further waves of the town’s development, many thousands of new inhabitants arrived, and many new houses and factories were built.
It is paradoxical that coal mining nearly meant catastrophe for the town. Duchcov was almost totally demolished, and the coal resources that St. Barbara placed in the vicinity were exploited. Nevertheless, the town has been preserved, including its important historical monuments. The most important one is, as mentioned before, the local Baroque chateau. Inside, you can see furniture on display from the Art and Industrial Museum, works of the Bohemian Baroque from the collection of National Gallery and, last, but not least, an exhibiti on the life and residency of Casanova. Also, the chateau garden, partially diminished by coal mining, has become a park in the English style.
The city centre, containing many historical sights, such as the Annunciation Lady Day Church, the Holy Trinity plague column, St. Florian fountain, Matthias Braun statues, St. Barbra chapel, with tombstone of G. Casanova, buried here, as well as the protestant chuch in the Jugendestil style, all this area is declared as a town monument area.