Over the centuries, mining has left behind evidence in the landscape of the Erzgebirge. This evidence is still visible today and gives the landscape its very own particular character. Characteristic features of the Erzgebirge mining areas are vast sinkholes and heaps, man-made ponds, man-made ditches, and leats for mining water supply. Whereas the lines of heaps mirror underground lodes, the sinkholes were formed by former shafts subsiding. Historic mining in the first mining periods left behind only heaps and sinkholes, whereas the more recent mining periods are often also marked by mining buildings erected next to and on top of the heaps.
The different mining landscapes therefore illustrate in a unique manner the complete spectrum of historic mining and the raw materials extracted in this area from the 12th century until the end of the 20th century. In many cases, the waste and slag heaps in the Erzgebirge mining landscape today provide a habitat for numerous protected animal and plants species that have become established here because of the very special habitat.