Erzgebirge (ĕrtsˈgəbĭrˌgə) [key] [Ger., = ore mountains], Czech Krušné Hory, mountain range, along the Czech–German border, extending c.95 mi (150 km) from the Fichtelgebirge in the southwest to the Elbe River in the northeast. It reaches its highest point (4,080 ft/1,244 m) in Klínovec (Ger. Keilberg ) in the Czech Republic. The Ohře and Bílina rivers drain most of the range. From the 14th cent. to the 19th cent. silver and iron were mined extensively in the Erzgebirge, notably at Jáchymov. The region no longer supports the mining of such ores as uranium, lead, tin, zinc, and copper, but coal and lignite mines are exploited. Air pollution has resulted in serious environmental problems, including the death of large areas of forest. The Erzgebirge has many famous mineral springs (notably at Karlovy Vary and Teplice-Šanov, in the Czech Republic) and is an important industrial area, particularly in the manufacture of chemicals, machinery, and textiles. Embroidering and toy making have long been traditional home industries. In 1938 the Czech part of the Erzgebirge was transferred to Germany by the Munich Pact. It was restored to Czechoslovakia in 1945.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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