The Schindlers Werk lies in the valley of the river Zwickauer Mulde, above the town of Aue. The production buildings are concentrated in the northern part of the elongated site, grouped around two courtyards separated by the laboratory building. The social and administration buildings, including the director’s villa near the river, are located in the southern part of the area. The residential buildings also belonging to Schindlers Werk are to be found distributed on the river valley slope above the site of the factory and the social and administration buildings.
Following the establishment of the first smalt (cobalt blue dye) works in Niederpfannenstiel in 1635, four other works were constructed of which the Schindlers Werk (1649) in Zschorlau was the latest. Founded by Erasmus Schindler (1608-1673), the works represents the oldest still producing dye works in the world to date. Originally built for the production of cobalt blue, in the middle of the 19th century the works were converted into an ultramarine pigment factory.
Closely associated to the Schneeberg Mining Landscape, Schindlers Werk is a rare example of a well-preserved processing site and colony (Bergfabrik) for cobalt blue production of the 17th to 19th centuries with all production facilities as well as social and administrative infrastructure. It bears outstanding testimony to the blue dye sector of the Ore Mountains, which was one of the most important production pillars of mining in the Ore Mountains and enjoyed a long period of domination in Europe.
Apart from the various production buildings, Schindlers Werk also encompassed residential and agricultural buildings. The special importance here lies in the coherence of the site and the present day preserved character of an outstanding mining settlement. The structure of a typical blue dye factory, grouped around an inner courtyard and a manor house, is largely preserved. With the manor house and the store, the site also possesses two of the most characteristic and oldest blue dye factory buildings in Saxony and is a representative example of a smelting site established as an independent community. The works are one of the most expressive complexes of blue pigment industry monuments in Europe.