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Why Walloons?

Walloons - the Roman people, who arrived during conquest of Gaul by the Romans and remained in the area, which proved rich in natural resources, in what is now Belgium, Northern France, the Saar. They were professional miners and processed natural resources, including from the exploitation of silver, gold and precious stones. Thanks to this, they were much appreciated at all courts, princely, royal and imperial. In the Middle-Ages there were few of them. They formed a special caste of people, possessing secret knowledge, like alchemists, and astrologers. They had a big influence on the rulers. They were called engineers. They did not carry out hard physical work, but took samples instead and evaluated the contents of deposits. Only later all those who participated in the work of mining, regardless of nationality, came to be called Walloons, even if they had nothing in common with these Roman people. Anyone searching for treasures was called a Walloon.

From the documents we know that Walloons already had worked for the princes of the Piast dynasty in the region of the Sudetes as early as the 11th century. In the basin of the Szklarka and Kamienna rivers, as well as the High Jizera Ridge, not only had they found deposits of gold and precious stones, but also discovered deposits of pyrites (iron sulfides), used in iron smelting as well as in the production of sulfuric acid. What remains of pyrite exploitation, are the several hundred years old mining pits in the Zbójeckie Skały region. Whereas, at the mouth of the Szklarska Struga and Kamienna rivers, there are the foundations of the old sulfuric acid plant.

Contrary to the fantasies, the greatest wealth were not gems, but glass-making, based on the deposits of quartz and numerous water courses, which became the foundation for the development of settlements. The most important base for treasure hunters was Lower Szklarska Poreba which was then called the Old Village. It was lying by the oldest route from Silesia to Bohemia. This was the route in the western Karkonosze, the earliest mentioned in medieval legends and writings, the so-called Czech Path. There were two important places in the area of Old Village. The first was the Eagle Rock with a chapel, in which each Walloon held a 7-day fasting and attending seven Masses, before heading out for work. Here, too, all his tools were consecrated; and after the Confession and Communion they promised a fair distribution of the goods found. Half went to Schaffgotsch, the owner of these lands. The other half had to be divided between the church and the finder. For their quarter, they were still obliged to give something for the alms, and to maintain the parish. Not much was left to them. Those who have not kept their promises were punished severely. Once a year, sentences were issued by the Reeve arriving from Jelenia Gora. These were issued in the Court Inn, in next to the old linden tree. The tree is still here. It is a monument of nature, and is called the court linden.

Near the chapel at the Orla Skala, there is a second place called the Walloon signpost or "the sugar head", today known as theWobbling Stone (Chybotek). Pagan sacrifices (bloody ones as well) were made there, as the Walloons believed that they must win favors not only of heavenly powers, but also of the powers of evil, according to the principle of "light a candle for God and a candle-stub for Devil".

Although the main "treasure" of Szklarska Poreba was always glass and not the gold - which was here and remains here so far. The largest quartz deposit found in Europe is the one that runs from near the Izerskie Garby next to the Jizera Crossroads, to the Kamieniecki Ridge. It has several kilometers long, and is still exploited without interruption since the early Middle-Ages. It is known that where quartz of hydrothermal origin is, at high pressure and with aqueous solutions at work the selection of different chemical compounds take place. Therefore, crystals in the Jizera Mountains are gold-bearing, although extracting them is not profitable anymore.

There are also precious stones here: crystals - like amethyst, mountain crystal and golden-and-brown smoky quartz. Garnets - pyrite and chalcopyrite, as well as pyrope - a red garnet gem. Sapphires, emeralds, rubies and zircons were also washed here. They are still here today - but small fragments mostly, more of a curiosity.

Walloon books have great historical value and prove the eternal human yearning to gain wealth. To this day, there is no shortage of amateurs looking for various minerals, as evidenced by the numerous collections, beautiful specimens of the treasures of our mountains in the Museum of the Earth and the Mineralogical Museum.

Author of the text: Juliusz Naumowicz - Grand Master of the Walloon

More in the texts of Juliusz Naumowicz, published in the bulletin "Under Szrenica:

The Walloon treasure hunters (PL)
Treasures of our mountains (PL)
Walloon truth continued (PL)
Walloon truth continued /2 (PL)