Hamburg 1, Bleialf.
A60 (E42) exit Bleialf, to Bleialf, turn right.
MAY to OCT Sat, Sun 14-17, last tour 16:15.
Adults EUR 5, Children (6-14) EUR 2,50.
|Guided tours:||D=1h, L=800m.|
|Address:||Bergmannsverein St. Barbara Bleialf, Poststraße 5, 54608 Bleialf, Tel: +49-6555-1227, Fax: +49-6555-2989906, Cell: +49-160-1009749. 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.
|11th century||Lead mining in the Schneifel region mentioned for the first time.|
|26-APR-1158||The Archbishop of Trier Hillin von Falmanies and his successors are granted the mining regal on all silver mines of the archdiocesan territory by Emperor Friedrich I., Barbarossa.|
|26-NOV-1346||Emperor Karl IV. confirms to Archbishop Baldewin the rights due to Kurtrier and extends them to the mining regal for the whole archdiocese.|
|1356||The Golden Bull grants the Electors (and thus also the Archbishops of Trier) all metals and salts.|
|1493||The Prüm Monastery acquires shares in the lead works near Alf from the spouses von Wetzlar and Liese von Dudelendorf.|
|15-SEP-1829||Mine assets sold by public auction.|
|1839||Beginning of the Mühlenberger Stollen.|
|1852||Mühlenberger Stollen reaches its final length of 1189m.|
|AUG-1861||Knappschaftsverein der Grube Neue Hoffnung (miners' association) founded.|
|~1862||Mühlenberger Stollen mining reaches its peak.|
|1882-1888||end of mining, mine closed, miners' association dissolved.|
|01-OCT-1922||Operations at the Bleialf mines are discontinued.|
|1926||Katholischer Bergmannsverein St. Barbara Bleialf (Catholic miners' association St. Barbara Bleialf) founded.|
|MAY-1943||mining finally ceased.|
|1950||investigation by the Gewerkschaft Mechernicher Werke for resumption of mining.|
|11-OCT-1954||last investigation work completed, economic operation of the mine no longer possible, mining is dismantled.|
|1986||Mühlenberg adit opened by the Bergmannsverein.|
|1987||show mine opened.|
|01-JUN-2018||thunderstorm with heavy rain floods the reception building and the adit, show mine closed.|
|SEP-2019||reopened after renovation.|
The Schneifel represents a rump mountain range, the remnant of a Variscan high mountain range. After a long period of erosion, it was uplifted again in the Quaternary. One of the three lead ore deposits in the Eifel is located in Bleialf.
The Lead Mine "Neue Hoffnung" at the Heinzkyller Mühle, or the Mühlenberger Stollen, was opened as a show mine in 1987. The adit had been opened only one year earlier and was developed by the St. Barbara Bleialf Miners' Association in cooperation with the local community and the Geological Institute of the RWTH Aachen, under the direction of Prof. Dr. W. Kasig, into a show mine. The former mouth of the Mühlenberg adit was replaced by the entrance structure, which is secured with doorway support for the first 20m. This is necessary because the rock near the surface has been loosened by weathering. Deeper in the mountain, the rock is very stable and stable even without support. The drift was excavated by hand using only hammer and iron. This changed after 400m, when the possibility of using explosives to break up the rock was introduced. This did not make the work any easier for the miners, but it did drastically increase the amount of material that could be extracted.
The Mühlenberg ore vein is shown in the show mine. It is used to explain mining and extraction methods. The Mühlenberg shaft, which is no longer preserved, was a shaft for conveying the ores and the secondary rock. The Mühlenberger Stollen was the origin of mining, serving for both exploration and mining of ores, and before the Mühlenberger Schacht was sunk, it was also responsible for extraction. Most importantly, however, it was used for drainage, the tunnel served as an Erbstollen (adit), meaning that mine water could flow out by gravitation through the adit.
Mining began on the surface in the 11th century. From the 12th century onwards, the right to mine the ore, the so-called Bergregal (mining regal), was granted by the emperor to the archbishops of Trier. The mining regal entitled them to operate mines and exploit them for themselves. However, they could also lend mines to private individuals for exploitation and levy taxes on them. This was used extensively. The lead works near Alf were repeatedly given to various tenants, as the large number of documents prove. In 1493, Prüm Abbey acquired shares in the lead works near Alf from the spouses von Wetzlar and Liese von Dudelendorf, who had probably in turn acquired them from the archbishops of Trier. The Prüm abbot thus also entered the business.
The heyday of mining in Bleialf was in the 2nd half of the 16th century. However, the Thirty Years' War and the plague depopulated Germany and so the Bleialfer and Schönberg mining industry declined massively in the 17th century. After a slow recovery, cheaper ores came onto the market towards the end of the 18th century and led to another decline. At the beginning of the 19th century it even came to a complete standstill, the facilities were auctioned off and the poor began to scour the dumps for lead ore. In 1828 the mines were sold at public auction.
Rescue came in the person of the estate and mine owner Johann Heinrich Wiesmann from Hattingen an der Ruhr. He applied for a concession for the Hoffnung mine in November 1838. From 1840 onwards, things sped up, several concessions were granted in the area and mines were opened, a new period of prosperity began. The Mühlenberg adit was driven into the mountain from 1839 to 1852 and reached a length of 1189m. It had its heyday around 1862 with over 1000 employees. But mining soon declined again, and as early as 1888 it ceased in the Mühlberger Stollen. 1922 operations at the Bleialf mines are discontinued. Neither the short-term reactivation during the Third Reich due to the war preparations nor the investigations that ceased in 1954 made it possible to operate the mine economically. As a result, all mining facilities in Bleialf were dismantled.
The show mine is run by the Bergmannsverein St. Barbara Bleialf, and the guided tours are conducted by members. During the guided tour, you learn everything about ore mining in Bleialf, from geology to applied technology. The entrance building was built by the association and contains a café, storage for equipment, and an exhibition of old communication devices. An exhibition of miners' lamps was unfortunately destroyed in the 2018 flood. Helmet and mine clothing are provided. A staircase leads down into the gallery. The guide tells about the history of the mine and mining. The actual mining area was about one kilometre deeper in the mountain. But the 400m of the gallery that are used as a show mine were equipped with all the tools and machines that were used in mining. Visitors are allowed to try out many of them themselves, and if they mine some rock themselves, they are even allowed to take it home.
The Bergmannsverein St. Barbara Bleialf has actually existed since 1926, founded as the Catholic Miners' Association St. Barbara Bleialf. But since miners' associations are primarily concerned with maintaining tradition, they see themselves in the tradition of the Knappschaftsverein der Grube Neue Hoffnung, founded in August 1861 and dissolved with the end of mining in 1888. Thus the association was able to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2011. It is quite interesting how the "Katholischer" in the name got lost. In order to avoid a ban in the Third Reich, it was deleted and the NSDAP took over the sponsorship of the association. This was paid for with a one-time admission fee of 55 RM and an annual membership fee of 18 RM.
The Mühlenberg adit is the last surviving remnant of mining in Bleialf. All other adits, shafts and surface installations have been closed, backfilled or demolished. The few places that still remind of the traditional lead ore mining have been connected to form a geological mine-historical educational hiking trail. The approximately 16 km long hike leads through 12 stations, starting point is the show mine.