The region around Goslar is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Harz Mountains National Park. Rammelsberg Mine and the Old Town of Goslar were declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1992 and celebrate their 25th World Heritage anniversary in 2017. The Upper Harz Mountains Regale water management system was also included in the list of UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites in 2010. Three impressive German culture heritage sites in one place make these testaments to mining and the history of the town of Goslar one of Germany’s most precious cultural assets.
Rammelsberg is one of the most outstanding industrial monuments in Europe. The Rammelsberg Mines are said to date back some three millennia. Originally copper ore was mined for the production of bronze, as well as small quantities of silver to produce coins. Lead ore has been mined since the 15th century and, in recent years before the mine was closed, zinc ore and barite were also important products.
The mine, which was closed in 1988, is now a museum and visitor mine and provides a unique glimpse into the history of mining from its earliest beginnings to the present day. Apart from four museum buildings, the descent into the mine to discover its “underground” world is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience. The mine railway takes visitors on a journey through the history of mining in the 20th century.
Rammelsberg Mine also offers outstanding meeting and event space both above and below ground. The event calendar, literally brimming over with events, completes what’s on offer at Rammelsberg Mine.
Upper Harz Mountains Regale Water Management System
By declaring it a Cultural and Natural Heritage Site, the UNESCO Committee honoured the Upper Harz Mountains Regale Water Management System as one of the world’s largest pre-industrial energy supply systems.
Cistercian monks from Walkenried Monastery constructed the first pond and ditch systems in the early 13th century and miners continued to extend them over the centuries. The Upper Harz Mountains Regale Water Management System was the only power source for the mining industry in the Upper Harz Mountains region from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Age. As there were no rivers or streams high on the plateau, the miners collected water in reservoirs using a series of ditch systems extending over kilometres. From there it was routed to the mines and smelting works, where countless waterwheels drove it overground and underground. This provided the miners with energy to pump seepage water out of the mines, operate the smelting works and transport material.
The technical growth of mining in the Upper Harz Mountains was pioneering throughout Europe. The UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of 107 historical ponds, 310 kilometres of ditches and 31 kilometres of waterways. The paths alongside the ditches, which have a very gentle gradient, can be discovered without the need for serious climbing along long paths or hiking trails and, by way of reward, offer magnificent distant views over the Upper Harz Mountains National Park. Apart from the Gothic Cistercian Monastery in Walkenried, the World Heritage Site also includes the Samson Pit, which dates back to the 16th century and three smaller shafts from the 19th century.
Old Town of Goslar
The Old Town of Goslar was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its 1,500 exceptionally well-preserved half-timbered houses from different eras, located in the centre of the Old Town within the earlier town wall. The history of the town, which gained its wealth from mining and became the seat of the German Emperor, can be experienced at every turn, just by wandering through the narrow cobbled lanes or on an entertaining guided tour of the town.
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