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Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region – a heritage for the future
A region which is aware of its own traditions
The protection and preservation of outstanding cultural and natural sites as world heritage for mankind as a whole is the main objective of a World Heritage Site. In addition, UNESCO World Heritage status brings with it many positive benefits for the Erzgebirge thanks to its high profile and global prestige. However, even the road to becoming a World Heritage Site and all the milestones along the way have provided important stimuli for the development of the economy, tourism, society and culture within the region over the last two decades. This is also due to the fact that the “Mining Region Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří” World Heritage project grew as a “bottom-up project”, founded on the initiative of people from the region, who gradually formed themselves into sponsor organisations. More than 1000 people have been directly involved in the process. The citizens of the entire region have also been included in the project right from the start, so it can truly be said that: The road to becoming a World Heritage Site has led to a heightened and lasting awareness of the World Heritage project and of the Erzgebirge in itself across the region.
Living World Heritage: How will people be able to explore the future UNESCO World Heritage Site?
Heritage is a treasure which can also be filled with life in the future. In the Erzgebirge, we can see the idea of “World Heritage brought to life” in each individual component. Idyllic landscapes, unique river valleys and picturesque locations all trace their origins back to the more than 800 year history of mining, to which the Erzgebirge owes its wealth, its name (Erzgebirge literally means Ore Mountains) and its economic significance. Today, these are also places for relaxation, where the history of mining is plain to see – whether during a walk past adit mouths or lines of heap, during a stroll around the mining towns or during a visit to the treasure troves underground. However, the region is also well-known for its deeply-rooted traditions and customs, which are still practised authentically here. For example, miners’ parades and Mettenschicht (the last shift before Christmas) are still firm fixtures of winter in the Erzgebirge. What is really special is that the Mining Region Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří is a cross-border experience. National borders lose their importance, two peoples meet. One region which has grown together throughout history comes closer still.
Tradition and innovation
Are tradition and innovation mutually exclusive? No, quite the opposite: they have a positive influence on each other. The Erzgebirge is an attractive, innovative business location, with an abundance of ideas and discoveries founded above all in its mining past. “Everything comes from the mine” – and from the people, who have always been inventive enough to boost their economy over and over again with innovative ideas and creative niche thinking. Just as it was 800 years ago, so it still is today. Today, the key sectors, including in the areas of metals, mechanical engineering and toolmaking, together with electronics and the plastics industry, are leading the way with new developments. The Erzgebirge now has one of the highest concentrations of industrial activity in Saxony.