Alte Elisabeth Fundgrube Mine


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    Surface buildings of the Alte Elisabeth mine

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    Steam machine of the Alte Elisabeth mine

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  • 4.3.2-DE_Alte_Elisabeth_Betstube.jpg

    Prayer room

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  • 4.3.2-DE_Alte_Elisabeth_Kesselhaus.jpg

    Heap with ore passes of the Alte Elisabeth mine

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  • 4.3.2-DE_Bergschmiede_Alte_Elisabeth.jpg

    Mine forge

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    Shaft building

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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 Alte Elisabeth mine’s surface buildings are located on a large waste heap mesa (tiered since the early 16th century) overlooking Freiberg town and situated 200 m south of the old Alte Elisabeth shaft. The new Alte Elisabeth shaft, originally an independent shaft sunk in 1808, was taken over by the Himmelfahrt Fundgrube (mine) in the second third of the 19th century, and subsequently operated as a Lichtloch (air shaft) for the construction of the Rothschönberger Stolln (drainage gallery), and later as a ventilation shaft. In 1848, the shaft was given a steam gin system, which has been preserved along with most of the equipment, including the historic steam engine, the landing in the shaft building and the prayer room set up in 1856.

The building complex covers the hoisting house, machine house and power house, the chimney with smoke flue, the sorting house added to the hoisting house, which was later used as a prayer room, and the mining forge building. Its interior fittings, which include a forge, bellows and tools, originally come from the mine forge at the IV. Lichtloch (shaft) of the Rothschönberger Stolln (drainage gallery), and were installed in the 1980s. In 1936 a separate building was erected to house the Schwarzenberggebläse (blowing engine) from 1831. Originally built for the Antonshütte (smelting works) in the western part of the Ore Mountains this cast iron blowing engine is a masterpiece of mechanical engineering built in gothic style. It marks the changeover from pre-industrial charcoal-based smelting to industrial coke-based smelting in the smelting works of the Saxon Ore Mountains. After the closing of the Antonshütte in 1860 it was moved in 1862 to the Halsbrücke smeltery, where it operated until 1925, and in 1936 it was moved to the Alte Elisabeth as one of Germany’s earliest protected technical monument.

The heritage-listed underground workings of the Alte Elisabeth, with its important water wheel chamber, are connected to the headings at other shaft complexes (e.g. Reiche Zeche mine) at various levels. Just six years after mining ceased in 1913, the Alte Elisabeth shaft complex, including selected underground areas, was taken over by the Freiberg Mining Academy for teaching purposes. The Reiche Zeche shaft, which had also lain vacant since the mine’s closure in 1969, was similarly taken over by the Freiberg Mining Academy in 1981. Through the two shafts, which have now been combined to form a teaching and research mine, the claim has been cleared up at the base of the Tiefer Fürstenstolln (adit), and on the 1st and part of the intermediate level between the 1st and 2nd level.