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Duchcov

The town of Duchcov (Dux) originated apparently on the site of an older market hamlet of Hrabišín. The designation of Duchcov may be etymologically associated with the toponyms Doksy and Doksany, indicating a place in a swampy landscape. The first mentions of Duchcov come from a book of copies of documents from the Osek Monastery called Codex Damascus and dates back to 1240.  In the 14th century, Duchcov was a town surrounded by bulwarks with three gates. In the town there was an original small Romanesque Church of St. George and a convent of female members of the Dominican Order, which is remembered in a manuscript of the Duchcov necrology in 1380, during a plague epidemic. From 1389, the first municipal book was maintained in Duchcov. At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, Duchcov became the residential town of the owners of the demesne, the Kaplířs of Sulevice. The Lobkowiczs came to Duchcov in the 16th century. The town passed into the possession of the Wallenstein dynasty allegedly through the marriage of the widow of the last of the Lobkowiczs from the Duchcov branch. Of them, Johann Friedrich, a later Prague Archbishop and Baroque intellectual who provided the town of Duchcov with a number of privileges and cultivated contacts with the ecclesiastical elite of Europe of that time, deserves extraordinary attention. There were at least eight craftsmen’s guilds, two religious brotherhoods and a shooters’ association active in the town back then. The surnames of Duchcov townspeople show that Duchcov was predominantly German at that time. The first coal mine was opened near the town in 1763. In 1785, an Enlightenment scholar named Giacomo Casanova, came to the Castle of Dux and spent the last years of his life there and went down in European literary history through his works. The mid-19th century saw the town affected by industrialisation: a sugar factory from the Baron Coudenhove family was built in the suburbs and there is an Eichler porcelain factory in the town. The railway advanced into the town following the Austro-Prussian War and it facilitated the rapid development of coal mining. Duchcov, which still had almost purely German character, then began to be slowly “Czechified” mainly through the influx of workforce from inland. This upward trend made the town one of the most significant centres of Czech life in the foothills of the Ore Mountains. However, a significant German component of the population remained there up until the displacement of the Germans in 1945. In the post-war period, the appearance of the Duchcov area was affected by an increase in coal mining and the liquidation of many surrounding historical residences. A Baroque manorial hospital in the castle garden was knocked down. The growth of industry and the plundering of the landscape was slowed down only by the events of 1989.