North-east of Freiberg’s old town, ores were extracted for over 800 years. The many small medieval mines were united over the course of centuries to form the biggest and most modern combined mine in Europe. Numerous well-preserved mining installations and lines of heaps in this mining landscape bear witness to this development. Ensembles of buildings, such as the Alte Elisabeth shaft complex, also demonstrate the exceptional variety in machine technology in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Important Locations and Sites
The Abraham shaft was originally the main shaft for the Himmelfahrt mine. Following important ore finds in 1828, all of the shaft’s significant surface buildings were modernised by the middle of the 19th century. The staff house (around 1790), the old Huthaus (administration and assembly building) and the wooden engine house of the water horse mill have been preserved. The mine forge (1834), the jigging wash house (1834) and the engine house (1839) were rebuilt, amongst other buildings. The Abraham shaft water wheel has been preserved below the surface in the wheelhouse to this day. Following the final closure of the shaft complex in 1968, the engine house of the water horse mill was restored to its original condition.
Alte Elisabeth Mine
The originally independent shaft of the Alte Elisabeth mine was taken over by the Himmelfahrt mine in the second third of the 19th century and used as an air shaft for the construction of the Rothschönberg adit and later as a ventilation shaft with a total depth of 605 metres. In 1848 the shaft was equipped with a steam horse mill, which has been preserved to this day. The building complex includes the engine house, turbine house and boiler house, the 18-metre-high chimney as well as the cobbing table attached to the engine house, which was later used as a prayer room. A mine forge was then added to the ensemble around 1850. Today the Alte Elisabeth mine belongs to the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology’s visitors’ and teaching mine and is used for educational purposes, amongst other things.
Roter Graben Man-Made Ditch
The approximately 7.5km-long Roter Graben ditch was built between 1614 and 1615, and is one of the most well-known man-made ditches in the Freiberg ore fields. The ditch provided driving water for the mines in the Halsbrücke vein and later for the Halsbrücke smeltery. Today it only contains water from the opening of the Verträgliche Gesellschaft adit to Halsbrücke. In addition to other adit openings, the ore-washing works of the Oberes Neues Geschrei mine, constructed around 1840, and the 18th-century Huthaus (administration and assembly building) at the Thurmhof auxiliary adit are amongst the most important buildings situated along the ditch.