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Vlčí jámy – Wolf Hollows 

 

Category: Technical Monuments Region: Krušné hory – Ore Mountains Town: Horní Blatná

 

On the slopes of Blatenský vrch (Blatná Hill) we may find the Vlčí Jámy (Wolf Hollows) Nature Monument, which is a remnant of the extraction of tin ores in the Wolfgang Mine.

In the 16th century, a large room was excavated into a depth of 25 metres, the ceiling of which later collapsed. Over time, rock from the sides broke loose and widened the gorge even further. Old groves from the 16th century reached a maximum depth of 35 metres below the surface. In the 18th century, the local lode was mined down to the depth of up to 60 metres and it was step-mined down to the depth of 80 metres, which was quite extraordinary at that time. Today, we may observe this interesting natural and technical monument from a lookout point at the beginning of the gorge. Remains of old chimneys and drifts, hardly allowing the miners to squeeze through them, may be seen from the top edges.

If you continue up the hill a several dozen meters, you may find another remnant of mining, i.e. the Jiří (George) tin mine. It also dates back to the 16th century. The former mine caved in and formed a depression stretching to the distance of approximately 150 metres with an open and very narrow ravine, which is almost 80 metres long and up to 20 metres deep. According to historical annals, the mine reached the depth of 50 metres. It is now a protected nature monument and it is better known under the name of Ledová jáma (Ice Pit). Due to being so deep, a special microclimatic environment has been created in the ravine, with hardly perceptible air circulation. In the summer, light warm air stays on the surface and does not descend into the ravine. In wintertime, on the other hand, the ravine is cooled by heavy cold air and thus, ice is formed, which stays at the bottom of the pit even throughout the summer. The relatively high elevation of the locality also helps maintain the one-of-a-kind climate.

At present, you may climb down the stairs into the narrow ravine to a place from where you may see the ice layer even in the summer.

The nature monument is located on the Horní Blatná – Vlčí jámy Nature Trail.

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