Berlin’s celebrating the Erzgebirge World Heritage? That’s right! - Roofing copper from Grünthal was used and can still be found on some of Berlin’s most iconic buildings. The Cathedral, for example, or the Pergamon Museum, or the Hotel Adlon. The roofing copper was produced at the liquation works in Olbernhau in the Erzgebirge.
It all started back in 1537, when it was discovered that copper and silver could be separated from silver-bearing copper ore by means of the liquation process. For a time, this accounted for more than ten per cent of Saxony’s entire silver production. The liquation works was also the centre of copper processing in Saxony. Refined copper was processed into sheets, tanks and rods at the plant’s four hammer mills, using 15 hammers. The first rolling mill began operation in 1847. Top-quality Grünthal roofing copper, which before long would be covered in its inimitable green patina, was highly sought after. The liquation works is Europe’s only remaining example of this kind of processing plant, and is still open to visitors today.
The Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region bears extraordinary witness to the far-reaching influence of mining on all aspects of society, including the traditions, ideas and values that are both living and intangible parts of Erzgebirge culture.
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