Schwazer Silberbergwerk

Schaubergwerk Sigmund-Erbstollen - Silver Mine Schwaz


Useful Information

Image: landscape above the mine.
Location: Schwaz, Tirol.
28km from Innsbruck. A12/E45/E60 Innsbruck-Inntal Dreieck (Germany), exit Schwaz. From the motorway exit cross the Inn river and at the city turn left. Follow signs.
(47°21'15.50"N, 11°43'42.60"E)
Open: APR daily 10-16.
MAY to SEP daily 9-17.
OCT daily 10-16.
NOV to 14-NOV closed.
15-NOV to MAR Wed-Sun 10-16.
[2007]
Fee: Adults EUR 15, Students EUR 10, Children (15-18) EUR 10, Children (5-14) EUR 8, Children (0-4) free, Seniors (65+) EUR 13.
Family (2+1) EUR 34, Family (1+1) EUR 19, additional Child EUR 4.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 13, Children (5-18) 7, Seniors (65+) EUR 12.
[2007]
Classification:  Silver Mine
Light: electric.
Dimension:  
Guided tours: D=90min.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Schwazer Silberbergwerk Besucherführung GmbH, Alte Landstrasse 3a, 6130 Schwaz, Tirol, Austria, Tel: +43-5242-72372-0, Fax: +43-5242-72372-4, E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:51:46 $

History

 
1420mining started, miners from Bohemia and Saxony moved to Schwaz.
1426mine called Alte Zeche discovered west of Schwaz, which was very productive.
1427the Bergordnung, a sort of mining law was introduced by Herzog Friedrich, to stop wild exploration.
1441the Bergordnung
15thand 16th century, Schwaz was the biggest silver mine of the world.
1467the old sovereigns, the Freudberger Family, moved to Mindelheim and Erzherzog Sigmund became new sovereign of Schwaz.
1519the Habsburger Karl V. became Kaiser of Germany, financed by the Fugger from Augsburg.
1550the end of Schwaz mining began, as several European wars influenced trade and American mines produced cheaper silver.
1552the last Schwazer mining family was bancrupt and the Fugger owned the whole mining in Schwaz.
1670the sovereign took over all remaining mines to prevent the miners from becoming unemployed.

Description

Schwaz with its very rich ores was a success story in the Middle Ages: only twenty years after the start and for about 120 years it was the biggest silver mine of the world. The silver ore was mined by more than 10,000 workers and so the town of Schwaz was the second largest in Austria. The comedown of the Schwaz mining came around 1550, when several European wars influenced trade and American mines produced cheaper silver, e.g.  Potosí in Bolivia.

The main mining area was the Falkenstein. All in all 1,700 tons of silver were produced in this area. The mines grew to 250 tunnels with more than 500km length in total. The Falkenstein was the financial backbone of the Habsburg family.

The mine is entered by a train ride of 800m along the Sigmund-Erbstollen (Sigmund adit). The following tour includes a slide show and an exhibition. The geology, the technology and the daily work in the medieval silver mine are explained.

The mines were a very good income for the Habsburg family, as they owned 1/9th of all mines and tunnels. One of ten buckets was called Fron (socage) and belonged to the sovereign. But even more valuable was the rule, that all ore had to be sold to the Saline Hall to a fixed price, which was about half of the real value. The difference, called Wechsel (change), was a very good income.

Silver is pretty valuable, and this seems to have influenced the entrance fees at Schwaz. The 90 minutes long tour shows much of the mine, reconstructed mining equipment, slide shows, several animated miners telling about their life and it also includes a ride on the mining railroad. The tour is very informative and there are even multilingual tours and earphones for foreign language visitors. Still the fee seems a bit exaggerated.


See also


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