Rother Berg Mining Landscape


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 Rother Berg Mining Landscape is located in the Erla river valley several kilometres south of the mining town Schwarzenberg. The complex of the Erlahammer (hammer mill) is situated within a settlement area and opposite to the new complex of the still working Erla ironworks across the river. It is connected to the nearby Rother Berg (Red Mountain) by an old ore transport route. The relict structures of mining at the Rother Berg are situated in a forest area. The buffer zone encompasses the former park area of the hammer mill and the larger forest area at the Rother Berg.

Iron ore was mined in the Schwarzenberg region from the 14th century. Numerous iron works were founded along the rivers of the Western Ore Mountains of which the Erlahammer (hammer mill) with its iron ore mines at the Rother Berg in the valley of the Erla (river) is the oldest one (first mentioned 1380) Since the 16th century the Schwarzenberg region developed due to its natural resources (iron ore deposits, large forest areas necessary for the production of charcoal for iron smelting and its many rivers usable for the utilisation of water power) and the growing demand for iron tools at the mines and smelteries into a centre for iron production in the Electorate of Saxony. With the introduction of the Weißblech (tinplate) industry after 1537 in the region iron ore was exploited at larger scales. The tin requirements of the hammer mills to create tinplate (tin-plated steel) lead to a further boom in tin mining in the area.

The Erlahammer Ironworks, named after the alder trees in the river meadow, was created at the same time as the start of ironstone mining at the Rother Berg during the late 13th century. The ironworks, located near the city centre of Schwarzenberg, demonstrates preindustrial iron production related to mining. First mentioned in 1380, the Erlahammer is probably the oldest hammer works in the Ore Mountains. The historic site includes the preserved manor house dating from the middle of the 17th century, consisting of the manor house itself, a U-shaped halftimbered building ringed around the courtyard, and a connecting building. The hammer mill with its preserved monuments is a good example for the social and economic structures of processing of iron ores, which were mined extensively in the Western Ore Mountains.

The Rother Berg (Red Mountain) is dating back with its preserved shaft depressions to the late 14th century and with its gunpowder house to the 18th to 19th centuries, the complex proves the rich tradition of iron processing in the region, which is still important today.