Reiche Zeche Mine


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.

As early as 1384 the two shafts Vordere Reiche Zeche (front mine) and Hintere Reiche Zeche (rear mine) are mentioned in documents, both counted amongst the oldest of the Freiberg mines which were drained by the at that time built Alter Tiefer Fürstenstolln (adit). The shaft of the new Reiche Zeche (mine) was sunk in the 19th century as a vertical shaft and became between 1937 and 1969 one of the main hauling shafts of the large compound mine Himmelfahrt Fundgrube. Between 1919 and 1936, after the first closing down of the Freiberg silver mines (until 1913), and again after the second closing of 1969 from 1981 onwards the shaft and mine was reused as a teaching and research facility for the Freiberg Mining Academy. Since the German reunification and the renaming of the Academy into a university of technology in 1992 this development was accelerated and led to the establishment of further research institutions at the Reiche Zeche which is today not only a modern research and teaching facility but also a living and developing campus of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

The preserved and heritage protected above ground structures compromise the large waste rock heap, the engine house with its smoke stack (1898), the shaft house with its head frame (1953), the shaft protection building (Kaue) (1960s) and the foreman’s house (1900) as well as the remains of the ore filling station (1898). The underground structures compromise a large hoisting wheel chamber (1846/47), the relicts of a water column engine (1882) and parts of the extensive galleries and mine workings of the Himmelfahrt Fundgrube (mine) from the 14th to the 20th century (including the Alte Tiefe Fürstenstolln adit from the late 14th century and the Rothschönberg Stolln adit from the late 19th century). While the underground structures document silver mining in all periods from the Middle Ages to the Modern Times the historic aboveground structures document the mining periods from the late-19th to the mid 20th century.

The reuse of the Reiche Zeche mine as a teaching and research mine of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg is testimony to the importance of both the site and the Academy for the development of science, technology and education in Saxony, Germany, Europe and worldwide. The historic parts of the mine are accessible as a visitors’ mine.