Mining heritage as World Heritage

Mining is a global phenomenon. Its beginnings date back to early times, and it remains important to humanity in the present day. In Saxony, Germany and Europe and across the world, there are a large number of historical and present-day mining areas, some of which are important and others of less relevance. The influences of mining on the economy, culture, society and landscape depend on numerous different factors. Each mining region therefore has its own special regional features.

The World Heritage List currently includes 27 sites connected to mining from different historical periods and of different raw materials; these sites demonstrate the importance of mining for the development of humanity. Alongside individual industrial monuments and ensembles, these sites include mining towns, mining land-scapes and industrial landscapes shaped by mining. The sites differ significantly from each other both thematically and in terms of their complexity. With the exception of one Japanese World Heritage Site, they are distributed in Europe and Latin America.

When compared with the World Heritage Sites inscribed to date, it is clear that the Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří is of outstanding value. In particular, the broad spectrum of mining, industrial and cultural monuments and the associated cultural values, as well as the diversity of the raw materials extracted and processed, make the Erzgebirge a unique mining cultural landscape. Also of global importance is the influence of Erzgebirge mining in the field of mining and geo-sciences and in mining education.

Finally, a further specific characteristic is its transboundary character, which is unique in the context of mining World Heritage to date. In summary, the Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří enables a comprehensive insight into the history, development and culture of a rural mining region of global importance. At the moment, there is no other comparable property on the World Heritage List or the Tentative Lists.

Zeche Zollverein – UNESCO-Welterbe seit 2001
Zeche Zollverein – UNESCO-Welterbe seit 2001 (©Thomas Willemsen/Stiftung Zollverein)
Völklinger Hütte – UNESCO-Welterbe seit 1994
Völklinger Hütte – UNESCO-Welterbe seit 1994 (© Weltkulturerbe Völklinger Hütte/Gerhard Kassner)
Erzbergwerk Rammelsberg und Altstadt Goslar, UNESCO-Welterbe seit 1992
Erzbergwerk Rammelsberg und Altstadt Goslar, UNESCO-Welterbe seit 1992 (© Weltkulturerbe Rammelsberg)