The mining town of Marienberg was founded in 1521 after rich deposits of silver were found in the region and built as a planned town. The layout of the town follows the principles of the ideal Renaissance town, which were applied for the first time north of the Alps. Its most important objects include the Renaissance town hall, the Hall Church of St. Mary, the town walls and the mining storehouse. Marienberg was the final important mining town to be founded in the second silver mining period in the Erzgebirge.

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  • Historical old town of Marienberg

    The mining town of Marienberg was built in 1521 following the designs of Ulrich Rülein von Calw, with a grid layout and an unusually large, square marketplace. The Rathaus (town hall) erected on the square was constructed in the Renaissance style between 1537 and 1539. Despite several large fires in the town, the splendid portal dating back to 1538 has survived. The town houses encircling the square feature many of these decorative Renaissance portals. The parish church of St. Mary (Stadtkirche St. Marien) was built between 1558 and 1564 and modelled after the parish churches in Annaberg and Pirna, as the last great late-Gothic hall church in Upper Saxony. Following a fire, it was rebuilt in the contemporary early Baroque style. Of the five gates that once formed part of the town walls, only the Zschopau Gate, built in 1545, survives. The Lindenhäuschen (Linden Cottage) is a real rarity – a typical miner’s house, still largely unchanged, and credited as one of the oldest houses in Marienberg.

    • Stadtkirche St. Marien (Parish Church of St. Mary)

      When the Reformation was introduced to Saxony by Duke Heinrich “the Pious”, a parish church was erected between 1536 and 1537. It was not situated on an exposed site directly by the marketplace, as was still customary in the Middle Ages, but a little further away. Between 1558 and 1564, construction took place of a three-naved late-Gothic hall church with seven bays, under the direction of the master stonemason Wolf Blechschmidt, from Pirna. It was modelled on the large parish churches of Annaberg, Schneeberg and Pirna. In 1610, in the biggest blaze in Marienberg’s history, the church burned down, leaving only the outer walls, the tower and the sacristy intact. It was rebuilt in 1616, and again from 1667 to 1675. It measures 56 m along its entire outer length, and the tower stands 60 m tall. Inside, the church boasts significant early Baroque style fittings displaying Italian influences, hailing from different centuries. There is also a splendid Schubert organ.

    • Zschopauer Tor – Zschopau Gate

      Built in 1545, this is the only remaining town gate out of an original five. Until 1684, it contained a mining bell that would ring out to signal it was time to change shifts. This was relocated to the church tower in 1684. The outside of the gate still bears the notches where the portcullis used to be. Walking through the gate, rings can be seen for the outer and inner gate, marking the point where the gate’s hinges were once attached. The Schnitzerheim (wood carving workshop and display) that now adjoins the gate was once a guardroom. Guards would patrol the town walls, and, depending on the time of year, the town gates would open at different times. The gate tower has four levels. From 1966 to 2006, it housed a Museum of Local History, which is now located in the mining store house as the Museum sächsisch-böhmisches Erzgebirge (Museum of the Saxon-Bohemian Ore Mountains). Today, the tower is used for cultural events.

    • Old Town Walls

      The wall encircling the mining town of Marienberg was first built between 1541 and 1566, and did not follow the original town layout in the south or north. Ditches filled with water were positioned in front of it. The wall, which today only survives as a short section by the Zschopauer Tor (Zschopau Gate) and the Roter Turm (Red Tower), was constructed using local quarry stone with chalk. It had flying buttresses facing the town side to stabilise it. In the 19th century, most of the wall, three of the towers and four of the gates were torn down. Of the five gates originally built into the long sides of the Marienberg town wall, only the Zschopauer Tor (Zschopau Gate), built in 1545, survives. The Roter Turm (Red Tower) is the last remaining tower in Marienberg town wall.