Light in an abandoned mine
Find this place on the map of Japan quite difficult. In the prefecture of Symna, located in the west of the island of Honshu, there is a town of Iwami, sandwiched between the negligent ridges of Tijukok. However, Mine Iwami Gindzan, which will be discussed, is located far enough, 30 km north-east of this place. The center of mining ore at one time became the village of Omori (she had previously called it). She rushed on the cluster shores of a little mountain river, rather even a stream, aspiring to the Japanese sea. Now these quarters are administratively owned by the sea city-port Oka. However, subsequently, mining activities have spread to the entire adjacent area, capturing and the narrow mountain valley of Jersu. Probably hence the name of the mine.
Typical little-saved zhulestie. Local residents have long been settled in narrow mountain valleys, lacked places for fields and gardens. Feed out the gifts of the earth was difficult, and many men had to go to earnings in Central Japan. But it went on until the middle of the XVI century, when in the streams that brought water from the mountains, found small gray rollers – silver nuggets. Searches for the main cores were successful, but there were no money for the development of the field. Here, by the way, a rich merchant from the city of Khakata was turned up, which came to Kyushu, who came to the mantis in the temple Izumi (now – the territory of the prefecture of Symna). His name was Ztya Kamia. So, this pen and began to develop a detected silver deposit from 1526.
This company seemed to be small from the very beginning. The production technologies and processing of ore were primitive. However, the mine was not closed, not only the feudals owned by the district were tested in silver, but also the country’s government. The point went to the way only from 1533, when two masters were appeared in SAME – Caidzi and Sotan, who had experience in ceremonies in Korea. They brought with them progressive for that time technology enrichment of silver ore. The new method allowed sharply increase the output of precious metal.
The mine began to bring significant profits that he immediately led to the exacerbation of civil workers between Princes-Daimyo, dreamed of fill their wallets with silver coins from Iwami. At first, he embroidered a low-born entrepreneur Kamia, who founded the mine, then for the possession of the assistee, the Samurai Clans Outi, Amako and Mori. More successful in this confrontation was the Mori family, which captured in the 40s of the XVI century power over 10 provinces of the south-western part of Honshu. But luck smiled by the princes of Mori not long. In the battle of Schigaghare (1600), they opposed the troops of the successful policy and the commander IEYASU Tokugava. Victory went to Tokugava, who, declaring himself a signeous – military ruler of the country, in full "Chaired" on their opponents. Silver mines of Iwami were announced by the property of Sögunat and during a number of decades replenished the treasury of the government.
However, it happened later. In the meantime, the shaft owned the princes of Mori, fame "Silver Soma" (For some reason, the name of the village itself several reeded) spread far beyond the province. The reason was simple. The quality of silver mined here, and his quantity, was much higher than on other silver mines of the country.
Moreover, about a promising mine quickly learned abroad, first in Korea and China, where part of the extraction in payment for various supplies was transported, and then in Europe. Already in 1552, the well-known Catholic preacher Francis Xavier, who addressed the inhabitants of the inhabitants of Kyushu Island, wrote to Portugal: "Castillas call these islands (Japan. – Ed.) "Silver Island"". Then mention of the village of Iwami appeared on Spanish (1561) and Portuguese (1568) geographical maps, and the neighborhood of the mines began to call the silver mountain or the kingdom of silver kopecks. A whole round of merchants and adventurers spoke around. From the nearby Hanoney of the OMR (now the port of the city of Oda), Mazzi Tomoguar (now the port of Nima) and the young man became one after another to go to the West, in the countries of Asia and Europe ships loaded with silver both in the ingots and in the coin. They were called silver ships, and they were subjected to constant raids of Chinese and Spanish pirates.
Had to take security measures. At the beginning of the XVII century, the mine zone Iwami Gindzan (Gindzan – Silver mines) was surrounded by a high fence, the approaches to it were filled with faded trees. In the center of the zone (Sakunuchi was called) erected the castle of Yamabuk, where the armed detachment of the guards was constantly abandoned, with all the dangerous directions she was covered with additional fortresses less. In total, in Sakunuuti, there were up to half a hundred and galleries dug in 300 hectares. Silver Mountain began to resemble the head of cheese, hardworking with mice. Underground formed a whole labyrinth, outgoing down one hundred meters.
We can judge at least such numbers about the scale of silver production. In the first half of the XVII century, Japan accounted for a third of all silver products in the world. And the volume of deliveries to the global market "Silver Soma" Reached 38 tons per year. It was the fifth of all world production!
The scope of work required the influx of labor. During the greatest activity of the mine in the valley of Iwami, up to a quarter million people worked both in the mine and at the auxiliary production. The village itself turned into a fairly large village, a long ribbon stretching along the river. Mine, processing plants and export ports were merged by Dear Gindzan Kaido.
Working conditions on the mine were, of course, very heavy. Mortality among miners was very high. This, in particular, explains the unusually large number of Buddhist temples (almost 200), settled on the adjacent territory. After all, it was Buddhist monks on the tradition of the traditions of the kept Japanese in a different world. But there were a lot of beautiful private houses built by employees of the mining administration, which significantly improved the provincial appearance of the village. However, everything comes to. From the end of the XVII century, the reserves of ores began to be exhausted, which led to a drop of production. In 1823, silver mining in the mines of Iwami Gindzan ceased. But as it happens, silver veins flowed in the mountain near the copper. The development of copper pyrite began. It was no longer so profitable, so the mines in 1895 were transferred to the Office of the Commercial Group Fujit-Gumi. In 1923, the mine was completely closed. But the village with his "Silver roads" stayed. Something from the infrastructure of the richest mine went into oblivion. Did not stand natural disasters and human greed of the Yamabuk Castle with the surrounding fortresses. Now only on huge stones, once lighter in the foundation of the citadel, you can guess where they stood. Walls solid disassembled building materials. Burned and made some residential buildings and office buildings, rich factories collapsed. Fortunately, the town of the miners went around the American bomber in the years of World War I, because the pilots did not want to spend the warheads for an unpromising mine. In the post-war years around the abandoned mine, new houses were erected little, but it is rather not a lack, but luck for historical development. And today, the village itself (now it is called Omori) is striking by the original architecture rich in wooden carvings of residential and temple structures, as well as a unique museum exposition telling about the Days of Glory Iwami Gindzan.
In the spring of this year, UNESCO experts replenished the list of world heritage new objects. This honorary list was entered this time Sydney Opera, the Red Fort of the Emperor Shayakhan from the Mughalov dynasty (India, XVII century), the Parthian fortresses in Nisa (Turkmenistan), where the artifacts of the Parthian Empire are. Included Gindzan with surroundings in this list and mine. These places are turned into an extensive natural archaeological reserve area of 442 hectares. It includes the remnants of large-scale mining and copper, swimming and processing enterprises, dated XVI-XX centuries, the town that has arisen in the mines, and the port for the shipment of silver in the ingots. Mine Iwami Gindzan became the 13th object in Japan included in the world heritage list. 10 of these objects have cultural significance, 3 – are considered natural monuments.