Muldenhütten smeltery


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 Muldenhütten smeltery is located west of Freiberg, at the Mulde River near Hilbersdorf, within an industrial site with ongoing metallurgical production. Muldenhütten is regarded as one of the oldest smelting sites for non-ferrous metallurgy in Germany because its smelteries are proven to date from the 14th century, a production history spanning at least 600 years. In the 16th century it was developed into the largest and most significant smelting works in the Ore Mountains as part of the state’s orders to concentrate Saxony’s precious-metal production. Many new metallurgical technologies were developed or improved at this place of production (e.g. cold silver amalgamation, the Pilz furnace, sulphuric acid contact method).

Historic structures, mostly dating from the 18th to the 20th century, bear witness to the significant history and development of smelting processes during the industrial revolution. The former two separate smelteries were united in 1825 to one smeltery. Preserved structures of the Untere (lower) Muldener Hütte are mostly representing structures from the second half of the 19th century. They include the shaft furnace building I with its preserved technical installation of the first and second half of the 20th century, the slag yard with granulation basin, the Pattinson plant and the zinc desilverisation building, the refining and liquation plant, a retaining wall system and a water barrel hoist of former blast furnaces, as well as the Huthaus I (administration building) from the 18th century.