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Bílý Kámen

Bílý Kámen

Contact

Bílý Kámen 12, 588 41 Vyskytná nad Jihlavou
bily-kamen@seznam.cz
www.bily-kamen.cz

History

The foundation of Bílý Kámen will forever remain under a shroud of secrecy. It must have happened sometime around the mid-13th century, when Jihlava’s surroundings became heavily populated by prospectors seeking silver. Their attention was also focused on the areas in vicinity of old roads and in one of such places, virtually along an old path from Humpolec to Ostrava, miners uncovered a vast silver discovery. The ore was found in white quartz and the name of the settlement came forward – Biley Kamen (White Stone), or Albo Lapido, Weissensteyn. Those were the names that appeared in the first mentions of the village in written sources. The oldest one dates back to 1359.

While the royal town of Jihlava was flourishing and the fortune of the Želiv Monastery was growing, silver deposits around the settlement were slowly running out and mining was dying down. Eventually, the miners left and the last inhabitant of Bílý Kámen soon followed. Mining structures started to cave in and houses overgrew with vegetation. Records in the Jihlava´s municipal book from 1503 and 1509 only talk about tree-felling in the local forests. Trček’s Urbarium from 1554 refers to Bílý Kámen just as an abandoned settlement . In this relation, it should be mentioned that the first mining settlement was found at less than one kilometer north of the present village, on the south-western slope of Kamenitý vrch where you can see an orchard today.

Life returned to the place in 1712 when the entire area belonged to Jihlava. The city bought it in 1596 from the Trčeks of Lípa to use the land that was lying by. With the help of the city, first five houses and a forester's lodge were built, this time in a more suitable location where they can be seen to date. In the 1730s, two new ponds were founded and a large yard with a granary and barns for young cattle and sheep were built. In 1 778, the yard closed down and the land was passed on the people in hereditary tendency and since 1848 in possession. Thirteen houses were registered in the village at that time and there was a little chapel in the square.

A hand-painted map of Bílý Kámen by geometrician C. J. Hromádka is found in the Jihlava archives where you can learn about a number of local names that are not used anymore. Some of them are worth mentioning: The large ponds used to be called Kiefer Teuch (Pine), Tanne Teuch (Fir), Dorf Teuch (Square) and Krum Teuch (Curved). The last one was found below the largest excavation and was certainly used to secure a sufficient amount of water for the silver ore washing device. With the exception of Fir Pond, all the ponds were drained and the Square pond dike is currently used as an access road. North above the village, you can still see Strassen Teuch (Road Pond), located along the road to Větrný Jeník which also used to be part of the mining structures and today is sought after by fishermen . To make the picture complete, there used to be about fifteen small ponds without names around the village and some of them are used in gardens to date.

Sights and places of interest

A place of interest is Kaufmanns Brunn (Merchant's Spring). As its name indicates, it used to provide refreshment to wanderers and traveling merchants on the Humpolec road.

The Chapel of St Peter and Paul was built towards the end of the 18th century in late Baroque style. It houses an original altar and a typical Baroque painting with an illusionary altar.

There is also a cross stone with an engraved cross and a stone cross with a double arrow in the village; both objects can be classified as conciliatory crosses (stone).

A silver memory: reminders of medieval silver mining remained preserved in the village surroundings. The most beautiful location referred to as the Bílý Kámen excavation is found on the woody hill of Kamenný vrch, about 500 m north of the crossroads past the eastern village border. The load, stretching from the north-west to south-east used to be followed by 225 meters of shafts from which 27 pits of 10 meters in diameter and up to 5 meters deep have preserved.

Shafts used to be dug only as deep as daylight allowed. Slag heaps along the shafts formed a continuous belt. The entire mining structure of Bílý Kamen has preserved untouched. It certainly deserves to be proclaimed a technical monument and appropriately conserved.