Zug mining landscape

MINING REGION ERZGEBIRGE/KRUŠNOHOŘÍ

Historical records of ore mining in the Ore Mountains begin in 1168, when silver ores were discovered in the vicinity of today's Freiberg. More than 800 years of mining history of the Ore Mountains are based on this discovery.

The Zug mining landscape represents the southern part of the Freiberg mining region and is linked by the Hauptstollngang Stehender (lode) to the Himmelfahrt Fundgrube Mining Landscape northeast of Freiberg and by the extension of the Rohtschönberger Stolln (adit) to the expansive mining regions of Brand and Erbisdorf south of Freiberg. The largely preserved buildings and heaps of the Zug mining landscape between Freiberg and Brand-Erbisdorf illustrate the impact that mining of silver, copper and lead ore exerted on the landscape from the 16th century onwards.

During the course of mining history, production centres shifted to various lodes. The distinctive, usually overgrown lines of heaps mark out the course of the ore lodes under the surface. The main heaps of the ore lodes of the Alt Rosenkranz Zug (lode), the Daniel Zug (lode) and the Hohe Birker Zug (lode) date mostly from the 18th/19th centuries. Other heaps of minor importance are located in the buffer zone and remain as setting.

Two important mine ensembles (Beschert Glück mine, Drei-Brüder shaft mine) represent the 19th and 20th century history of mining in the area. The largely preserved structures and waste heaps illustrate not only a centuries-long influence, but also the subsequent reuse of mining installations as an underground power plant to generate electricity for the region’s postmining industries.

Beschert Glück Fundgrube mine

In the 17th century, a prominent installation was erected on a newly discovered Neue Hohe Birke/Beschert Glück Stehenden (lode). From that time onwards, the initially insignificant Beschert Glück Fundgrube mine complex gradually developed into one of the most prominent mines in the Freiberg region. Depending on the economic situation and the amount of extracted ore, an extensive range of technical equipment was installed at the mine. These included a number of water-powered machines, the underground machine houses of which have been preserved. With its technical equipment, it was considered an exemplary facility in the Saxon mining industry from the second half of the 18th century, and was visited by numerous personalities, including Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).

At the same time, the economic situation permitted the erection of large-scale surface buildings. Among those remaining are the administration and assembly building constructed 1815 at the main-shaft and the neighbouring sorting house constructed above the Neuer Kunstschacht (shaft). Together with other smaller structures on the large heap of the Beschert Glück mine, these two buildings form an impressive ensemble. Through its underground machine chambers, the Beschert Glück mine illustrates new water pumping technologies of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The building complex at the Beschert Glück mine is an excellent example of the numerous other mines in the Zug mining landscape.

Drei-Brüder-Schacht mine

North of the aforementioned site is the heap of the Drei-Brüder-Schacht (shaft) created between 1791 and 1818 which, until the middle of the 19th century, was the main shaft of the Segen Gottes Herzog August mine. The Drei-Brüder-Schacht (shaft) itself was used for various scientific experiments, such as free fall experiments carried out by the Freiberg physics professor Ferdinand Reich (1799-1882) in 1832 to prove the rotation of the earth. The shaft was closed in 1898 due to the depletion of ore. In 1914 the shaft was reused as an underground power plant to generate electricity. From 1915 to 1969/72 this power plant supplied the neighbouring small towns, and since 1921 Freiberg was also supplied with its electricity. Built in 1913-1914 at the level of the Rothschönberger Stolln (drainage gallery), the underground power plant of the Drei-Brüder-Schacht (shaft) is one of the oldest underground power plants in Europe and the first one which used an underground water storage for the production of electricity.

The preserved underground power station consists of a cavern at a depth of 272 m containing three Pelton turbines (1914) and one Francis turbine (1941), and four generators which were once using the water supply of the 1.5 Mio. m3 underground water storage of the former mining galleries.

The above ground structures of the mine consist of the Huthaus (assembly and administration building), the shaft-building, the machine house with electric hauling engine and the switch room building of the power plant with its original interior.

Recently the shaft has been reopened as a service shaft for the Rothschönberger drainage gallery.