Besucherbergwerk Alte Hoffnung Erbstolln

Silberbergwerk Schönborn

Useful Information

Location: Schönborn-Dreiwerden, Seifersbach.
In the Zschopau valley, between Mittweida and Frankenberg.
(50.96017144414498, 13.00204254155842)
Open: Palm Saturday to DEC Sat 10, 13, Hol 10, 13, 15.
Reservation required.
Special tour: after appointment.
Fee: Adults EUR 9.50, children (6-14) EUR 6.
Groups (20+): Prices on request.
Special tour: Adults EUR 35.
Classification: MineLead Mine MineSilver Mine MineCopper Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=8-11 °C
Guided tours: D=90 min, Min=6.
Special Tour: D=5 h, Min=12, Min=5.
Address: "Alte Hoffnung Erbstolln" e.V., Feldstraße 15, 09661 Rossau, Ortsteil Schönborn-Dreiwerden, Tel: +49-3727-91845. 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.


1831 mine opened.
1843 first underground turbine in the Freiberg mining area installed.
1885 mine closed.
1978 group of mine enthusiasts receives permission to explore the mine.
1990 non profit club "Alte Hoffnung Erbstolln" e.V. founded, successor of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft "Historischer Erzbergbau".
1992 opened as a show mine.
1993 150. anniversary of the turbine.
13-APR-1996 reconstructed wooden transmission opened to the public by prime minister Kurt Biedenkopf.


The small village of Schönborn near Mittweida lies on the north-western border of the Freiberg mining district to the Granulite Mountains. A lead ore vein of the fluorbarytic formation called Clementine Spat was mined here. The vein has a length of about 2 km. A special feature of the vein are sporadic silver deposits and exceptional bournonite crystals, which are relatively rare in Saxony. They were already described in 1874 by August Frenzel in his Mineralogisches Lexicon für das Königreich Sachsen. He describes "small but quite nice thick-tablet-like or columnar and areal crystals and indeed both in simple forms and in quadruplets (Rädelerz)."


The Visitor Mine "Alte Hoffnung Erbstolln" in Schönborn-Dreiwerden, a district of Rossau near Mittweida, shows interesting old mining technology. The visitors enter the mine by boat and leave it again via ladders. A special feature is the true size functional reconstructions of mining machinery which are demonstrated underground. Visitors are equipped with helmets, gowns and lights, and good shoes are strongly recommended. The tour starts at the Hermannschachthaus.

The tour includes a boat ride through the 19th century drainage engineering installations. Erbstollen or Wasserlösungsstollen (adit) are old German miner terms. It is a tunnel with a continuous gradient which allows the gravitational flow of the mine water. To avoid the time-consuming and costly pumping of water, such adits were driven from the deepest possible point in a valley close to the mine. As an infrastructure measure, they were often dug for more than a century without any ore being mined.

The mine is located on a ridge, the meander spur of the Zschopau river. By the 14th century, mining had already reached a depth of 60 m below the water level of the Zschopau. At that time, the galleries were still drained by human power, which made mining unprofitable, and it ended.

In the 19th century, technical progress allowed mining to resume, and it reached its heyday between 1858 and 1875. For the first time in Saxon mining history, a turbine was used underground. A depth of almost 300 m was reached, the mine water was pumped up and flowed out through the adit. For the first time in Saxon mining history, a turbine was used underground, as power generator to operate the shaft pumps. Water from the Zschopau was channelled through the Erbstollen, and the shortening of the Meander resulted in a gradient of about 1.7 m, which was used to drive the pumps. The whipping water to drive the turbine and the mine water then flowed out together to the other side. With the end of mining, pumping ceased and the galleries below are now completely flooded. The exhibition mine is therefore located in the upper parts.

The Besucherbergwerk Alte Hoffnung Erbstolln was created to raise funds for the preservation of this mine. It was developed by the non-profit organisation Verein "Alte Hoffnung Erbstolln" e.V., whose members explore and protect the mine since the early 1970s. Visitors are added to the mine guest book, then equipped with helmet, coat, and miners lamp. The tour starts with a brief introduction into the history of the mining. The building called Rollschachtkaue is the place where once the ore was located. Here the ore processing technology used 150 years ago is explained. Then the mine is entered from the level of the Zschopau river by boat. The tunnel is locally called Rösche, a term which means adit or drainage tunnel. Adits were built to drain the mines using gravity. It is also part of the name of the show mine, Erbstollen is another word for an adit.

The boat ride ends at the former technical heart of the mine. Here was the first turbine installed underground in the mining area of Freiberg. The turbine was developed by the French engineer Benoit Fourneyron and was put to use in 1843. The mining club operating the show mine is working to restore it at the moment.

At the mining front of the year 1883 the daily work of a miner and its tools and machinery are explained. This starts with hammer and chisel, the traditional mining tools, which are also the international symbols of mining. Their use is demonstrated. The ladder is climbed to reach the level of the Schützerstolln. Here the water driving the turbine was regulated. The next stop is the Herrmann-Kunstschacht, a 286 m deep shaft. Here the remains of the steam driven elevator system from 1870, installed by the company Jacobi from Meissen, can be seen. Part of it is an impressive iron pump.

The Clementine-Kunst- und Treibeschacht is the location of wooden suction pumps, which were powered by the turbine. There is a wooden lever rod system used to transport the mechanical energy to the pumps. Some parts of it have been restored. Then follows the western turbine hall, where 1864 a second turbine was installed. Finally, it is going down four ladders to the level of the Eisenbahnstolln, where the mine is left.