So Vienna’s celebrating the Erzgebirge’s World Heritage status? It certainly is! - Roofing copper from Grünthal was used for - and can still be seen on - some of Vienna’s most famous buildings, including the Hofburg’s Neue Burg wing and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. 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.
15 hammers were used to process refined copper into sheets, tanks and rods at the plant’s four hammer mills. The first rolling mill began operating in 1847. Grünthal’s top-quality roofing copper, which before long would be covered in its distinctive green patina, was highly sought after. The liquation works is the only remaining example of this kind of processing plant in Europe, and still welcomes 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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