Former center of lignite mining
Sokolov is a town about 20 km southwest of Karlovy Vary, which was founded in the 13th century on the banks of the river Ohře at the confluence with Svatava. The oldest written mention of Sokolov (Falkenau in German) is from April 13, 1279, but the importance of the town increased only in the 19th century due to coal mining. At the time of the greatest expansion, 39 deep and 15 surface mines worked in the Sokolov district. The character of the city and the whole area was significantly influenced by extensive lignite mining and the chemical industry. After the decline in mining, extensive reclamation took place and lakes and parks were created in the vicinity. Today, the interesting places and monuments of this originally mining town stood out again.
The historic city center is located in the west of the city and consists of the Old Square and its surroundings. It is interesting how the square was gradually renamed according to the changes in the political situation. The original names Kirchenplatz, Marktplazt and Ringplatz were then changed to TG Masaryk Square, A. Hitler Square, May 9 Square and now to the neutral Old Square. In the northeastern part is the Jubilee Fountain, built in 1898 as a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the accession of Francis Joseph I to the throne. Behind the fountain, the square is dominated by the early Baroque church of St. To the east of the column is the Renaissance building of the historic town hall and to the southwest is a fountain with a falconer.
Fountain with falconer
The legend of the origin of Sokolov is portrayed in the figure of a falconer on a city fountain, and hop branches are referred to the hop-growing tradition. The fountain dates from 1717, but it is possible that it has an older origin. The year 1674 is located on the statue of a falconer. The fountain has an octagonal floor plan. The figure of a falconer with a falcon on his hands and a dog at his feet is, according to legend, the founder of the city.
Historic town hall
The corner building of the historic town hall has been preserved almost in its original form. The Renaissance one-storey building was built around 1540 and is one of the best-preserved town halls from this period in the region. The building served as a town hall until the middle of the 20th century, now it is the seat of the general directorate of Sokolovská uhelná as, which renovated the building in 1995.
Church of St. James the Elder
The church is first mentioned in 1240. The oldest form of the church is not known, the church was repaired after the fire of the city in 1623 and consecrated again on March 10, 1671. It is an early Baroque, single-nave building with rectangular extensions on the sides and a large advanced tower on the west side. The tower was built between 1680 and 1681 and its appearance is influenced by the so-called Saxon Renaissance. The interior of the church is mostly Baroque. The main altar dates from 1756 and is dominated by a statue of the patron saint of the church of St. Jakuba.
About 250 meters southeast of the square is located in the middle of a landscaped park Sokolovský zámek. A large two-storey four-winged building with four corner towers lined with arcades is located on the site of the original 13th-century water fortress. The castle was completely burned down during the Thirty Years' War. In 1622, the entire Sokolov estate was sold to the Nostitz family, who built a Renaissance chateau on the site of the destroyed castle between 1659 and 1663. The Nostitz family gradually modified and rebuilt the chateau until 1945, when it was confiscated and began to be abandoned. In the years 1993–1994, the castle was overhauled, which now houses the local museum.
In the courtyard there is an octagonal fountain with reliefs, in the middle of the pool there is a column with Nostic emblems on the shaft. At the top is a mussel bowl with a statue of Neptune and a fountain. The Municipal Library is also located here and the chateau premises are also used for weddings and smaller musical performances.
Capuchin monastery with the church of St. Antonín Paduánský
Just 150 meters south of the Old Square is a large Capuchin monastery built between 1663 and 1667. The complex consists of convent buildings and a square garden of paradise with a circular well. The dominant feature of the area is the monastery church of St. Antonín Paduánský. The monastery functioned here until it was abolished by the StB in 1950 and the army was based here. In 1999, the monastery and the Nostic tomb under the monastery church were reconstructed. It is currently being reconstructed and used as a concert and exhibition and social hall, and the local brewery is also located in the area.
Chapel of the Holy Trinity
Next to the monastery stands the Chapel of the Holy Trinity. Originally a Baroque cemetery chapel, it was rebuilt in the late Baroque form between 1772 and 1774. During the city fire, the chapel and its interior were damaged, but were immediately repaired again. At the end of the 20th century, the chapel was newly renovated and is now used by the Orthodox Church.
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