Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System

Reminders of Germany’s earliest industrial heritage: documenting around 1,000 years of mining history, the Mines of Rammelsberg on the outskirts of the beautiful old town of Goslar were once the largest interconnected repositories of copper, lead and zinc ore in the world. Energy for the mine was supplied by the Upper Harz water management system, the world’s foremost pre-industrial water management system for the mining industry.

Producing almost 30 million tonnes of ore, the Rammelsberg mines shaped the history and development of the town of Goslar in the Harz region; they also led Emperor Heinrich II to establish an imperial palace here. The first imperial assembly in Goslar took place in 1009 and the town remained a royal seat for German kings and emperors until 1253. In 1988, after more than 1,000 years of virtually non-stop mining, the ore extraction was stopped. Today, it lives on in a museum of impressive scale and authenticity. Not quite so big, but just as authentic is Goslar’s old town, whose enchanting skyline is dominated by the mighty Romanesque palace and the towers of no fewer than 47 churches and chapels. The preserved townscape is dominated by elegant guildhalls reflecting the wealth of the citizens, by the historical town hall and by timber-framed houses with ornamental carvings.

In 2010 the World Heritage site was expanded to include Walkenried Abbey, the historical Grube Samson mine in St. Andreasberg and the Upper Harz water management system. The latter, considered a masterpiece of early mining and engineering artistry, consists of 107 historical ponds, 310 kilometres of ditches and 31 kilometres of waterways. It is one of the largest pre-industrial power supply facilities in the world.

This part of the World Heritage site can be explored on foot along a network of waterside trails, which highlight not only the technological innovations but also the beauty of the landscape.

Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System

UNESCO World Heritage since 1992, extended in 2010

From the selection criteria

  • The ore mines of the Rammelsberg are the only mines in the world which were in uninterrupted operation for over 1000 years.

  • The number of mining monuments is impressive: the slag heaps (10th century), the Rathstiefste Gallery (one of the oldest and best maintained galleries of German mining, 12th century), the Feuergezähe Vault (oldest underground stone-masonry mine chamber in Europe, 13th century), the Maltermeister Tower (the oldest above ground structure of German mining, 15th century), the Roeder Gallery (18th/19th century) with two original water wheels, and the above ground mining plant from the 1930’s.

  • Heritage of special importance to human history

  • Link to events of universal significance

Information and Contact

Museum & Besucherbergwerk
Bergtal 19
38640 Goslar

Tel. +49 5321-75 00

Das Oberharzer Bergwerksmuseum Museum für Technik und Kulturgeschichte
Bornhardtstraße 16
38678 Clausthal-Zellerfeld

Tel. +49 5323-98 85 0

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