What do Ulm Minster, the Dresden Zwinger building and St. Stephan’s Cathedral in Vienna have in common? Their copper roofing comes from the Erzgebirge, where the technique for extracting the metal was perfected. Just one of many technical innovations that started out here and made their way around the world – but why not see for yourself?
Whether it’s gold, silver, coal or rare earth metals that are being mined, one thing above all is certain: there will be a whole host of technical challenges to overcome. What should be done with the groundwater in the pits? What’s the best way to process and smelt the extracted ores? The mining engineers in the Erzgebirge worked out the answers – and their approach was so innovative and pioneering that the inhospitable uplands became a technological hotspot in the 16th century and a world leader in mining. Experience technological history up close!
How about a pit tour (“Grabentour”) of some tunnelling masterpieces? Completed in 1877, Rothschönberg Adit was once the longest subterranean construction in the world. And the Markus-Semmler Adit, which boasts a length of 220 kilometres, is today the longest operational adit in Germany. The Ehrenfriedersdorfer Kunstgezeug water system at the tin mine here is a prime example of the art of pumping water, for instance. The pumping technology that was pioneered underground here continued to be state of the art for over 200 years! Or you could visit the Grünthal Liquation Works, where the era’s most innovative process for metal extraction was deployed. The completeness of this restored monument complex makes it unique in Europe. And the Freiberg ‘terra mineralia’ has the largest collection of minerals in the world, with exhibits of stunning beauty. The Erzgebirge – a paradise for the inquisitive!
Did you know that German romantic author Novalis earned his bread and butter as a mining engineer? He studied at the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology – which then as now was one of the world’s leading universities for the sciences. But his was not the only brilliant mind that was drawn to the Erzgebirge – natural scientist Alexander von Humboldt, mathematical genius Adam Ries and the brilliant Russian polymath Mikhail Lomonosov also worked here. And without the Erzgebirge, the world’s first academic textbook on the mining industry, De re metallica (1556), would never have existed in the form we know, either. Its author Georgius Agricola, also known as the Father of Minerology, acquired his extensive knowledge on the numerous trips he took through local areas. His work remained THE pre-eminent textbook on this topic for 200 years. The book from the Erzgebirge truly made its way around the world!
Experience and discover special places, enjoy Erzgebirge hospitality and the Erlebnis.Welt.Erbe (Experience.World.Heritage).
Intrigued? Then book now! Our hosts are looking forward to welcoming you.
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