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.
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.
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.
|Address:||Schwazer Silberbergwerk Besucherführung GmbH, Alte Landstrasse 3a, 6130 Schwaz, Tirol, Austria, Tel: +43-5242-72372-0, Fax: +43-5242-72372-4, E-mail:|
|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.
|1420||mining started, miners from Bohemia and Saxony moved to Schwaz.|
|1426||mine called Alte Zeche discovered west of Schwaz, which was very productive.|
|1427||the Bergordnung für Gossensass und Schwaz, a sort of mining law was introduced by Herzog Friedrich, to stop wild exploration. It was based on an older law named Schladminger Bergordnung from 1408.|
|1441||the minng law was finally applied, the gold-rush-like mining frenzy was stopped, claims were now legally transferred to companies by the Bergrichter (mining judge) and officially surveyed.|
|1447||the Bergordnung (mining law) was updated by Herzog Sigmund.|
|1449||the final extension of the Bergordnung by Herzog Sigmund.|
|15th and 16th century||Schwaz was the biggest silver mine of the world.|
|1467||the old sovereigns, the Freudberger Family, moved to Mindelheim and Erzherzog Sigmund became new sovereign of Schwaz.|
|1519||the Habsburger Karl V. became Kaiser of Germany, financed by the Fugger from Augsburg.|
|1550||the end of Schwaz mining began, as several European wars influenced trade and American mines produced cheaper silver.|
|1552||the last Schwazer mining family was bancrupt and the Fugger owned the whole mining in Schwaz.|
|1670||the sovereign took over all remaining mines to prevent the miners from becoming unemployed.|
Schwaz with its very rich ores was a success story in the Middle Ages: only twenty years after it was opened 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 at this time the town of Schwaz was the second largest town 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 together 1,700 tons of silver were produced in this area. The mines grew to 250 tunnels with more than 500km length in total.
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 Falkenstein was the financial backbone of 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.