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Historical Background of the City


Jáchymov (Czech pronunciation: [ˈjaːxɪmof]; German: Thal originally, later Sankt Joachimsthal or Joachimsthal: "Saint Joachim's Valley") is a spa town in north-west Bohemia in the Czech Republic belonging to the Karlovy Vary Region. It is situated at an altitude of 733 m (2,405 ft) above sea level in the eponymous St. Joachim's valley in the Ore Mountains, close to the border to Germany.


The Joachimsthaler coins minted there in the 16th century became known as thaler for short, with the word "dollar" and similar words for monetary units in many languages deriving from it.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Marie Curie discovered, in tons of pitchblende ore containing uraninite from Joachimsthal, the element radium, for which she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Until the First World War this was the only known source of radium in the world.


The first radon spa in the world was founded in Joachimsthal in 1906, joining the famous spas of the region, like Karlsbad, Franzensbad, Marienbad.


In 1929, Dr Löwy of Prague established that 'mysterious eminations' in the mine led to a form of cancer. Ventilation and watering measures were introduced, miners were given higher pay and longer vacations, but death rates remained high.


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