|Location:||Zloty Stok, Zabkowicki, Lower Silesia. Zloty Stok, ul Zlota 7. Between Klodzko and Nysa. In Zloty Stok turn south at the sawmill, 1km at the end of the road. Ref: 50° 26' 0" North, 16° 52' 0" East.|
All year daily 10-17.
|Classification:||Gold Mine arsenic mine.|
|Dimension:||L=300,000m, 21 levels.|
The Gertuda Drift: D=40min., L=500m, suitable for wheelchair users.
The Czarna Drift: D=40min., L=200m, descent by stairs 23m.
"Kopalnia Zlota" Sp z. o. o., Aurum Tourist Services Co., ul Zlota 7, 57-250 Zloty Stok, Tel: +48-74-817-5574.
Reservations, Tel: +48-74-817-5508.
|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.
|13th cty||start of mining.|
|19th cty||main mines closed.|
|1883||bought by the German Wilhelm Guttler.|
|1946||ownership transferred to the Polish government.|
|28-MAY-1996||opened to the public.|
Visitors are able to see the ancient gold and arsenic workings and the storage chambers for explosives as well as being able to inspect the 18th century mine plans and gloat over the 16th century gold coins. Permanent exhibition of minerals.
Special trips can be arranged outside normal working hours. These include a special boat trip in the flooded galleries.
Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.
The old gold mine at the village Zloty Stok houses the Podziemne Muzeum "Kopalnia Zlota" w Zlotym Stoku (Underground Museum of Mining and Gold Metallurgy). There are also two mine tunnels open to the public, the Czarna gallery which shows the 16th century hand-excavated tunnels and the Gertruda tunnel with an underground waterfall. There is als an underground exhibition of old mining tools. Back on the surface there is an interesting mineral exhibition.
Zloty Stok is located in the Golden Mountains, which is the local name of this part of the Sudetes mountain range. According to local legend the gold mining started already in the 7th century, but the first documented evidence is from the 13th century. Even though this is Poland's oldest gold mine. During the Hussite wars in the early 15th century the mine was destroyed, mining ended. It was started again by Prince Henryk Starszy Podiebradowicz at the end of the 15th century. Then the mining rights were given to the village Zloty Stok. During the 16th century were the heydays of the mine, which brought prosperity to the village. Foreign investors, mostly from Germany, boosted the mining further. At this time the mine produced some 150kg of gold per year, which was 8% of all European gold production. During the 17th century the mining was imporved by the introduction of gunpowder, formerly the ore was heated with fire and cooled with water so it cracked and could easily be removed. Unfortunately the arsenic in the ore evaporated and caused an early death of most miners. But the 30 Years War put an end to the mining and almost deserted the town.
The next important development started in the mid 17th century. Hans Scharffenberg, a chemist form Vienna, discovered the use and methods for the extraction of arsenic. His sons completed his work and in the early 18th century the mine started to produce arsenic as well as gold. In this early time the price of arsenic was three times the price of gold. During the Prussian-Austrian War mining stopped again and was started once more in 1770.
In the mid 19th century the usage of chloride for the extraction of the gold was discovered and was a breakthrough for the local gold production. The whole mine was purchased by the German Wilhelm Guttler in 1883. He developed the mine and introduced new technologies including the mining railroad, steam engines for pumping water, ventilation and drills powered by compressed air. In the early 20th century the production of arsenic reached its peak of nearly 2400 tonnes per year, which was 20% of the world production.
After World War II the ownership of the mine was transferred to the Polish government, the mine was unaffected by the war. German Miners were replaced by Polish coal miners. At first the production of the mine increased, but in 1961 the production dropped and in 1962 the mine was abandoned by the government. There is no reason for this closure, as the mine was actually productive. During the centuries the Zloty Stok mine produced 16 tons of pure gold.
From the total mine estimated 300km long on 21 levels, only 30km are still accessible and surveyed. The lower levels are flooded or collapsed. The accessible part was used for a show mine, and there is also the possibility to make so-called extreme mine visits. Participants are equipped with overall, helmet, lamp and wellingtons and explore passages which are secured but undeveloped.