|Image: the entrance adit of the show mine was originally the place were the ropeway entered the mine.|
On the B244 road between Wernigerode and Elbingerode.
From Elbingerode follow road to Wernigerode, after 3km turn right, after a few hundred meters turn left. Follow road to the parking lot. 300m walk from the parking to the entrance.
From Wernigerode follow road to Elbingerode, turn left. Signposted.
JAN to DEC daily 10, 12, 14, 16.
24-DEC, 25-DEC, 01-JAN closed.
Adults EUR 5, Children (4-16) EUR 3,50, Children (0-3) free, Family (2+3) EUR 16.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 4, Children (4-16) EUR 3, Children (0-3) free.
Combiticket 2 caves or 1 cave + Schaubergwerk Büchenberg:
Adults EUR 10, Children (4-16) EUR 7, Children (0-3) free, Family (2+3) EUR 28.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 8, Children (4-16) EUR 5, Children (0-3) free.
|Guided tours:||L=600m, D=75min, T=8°C.|
|Address:||Schaubergwerk Büchenberg, Büchenbergstr., 38875 Elbingerode, Tel: +49-39454-42200. 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.
|~1000||mining begins in this area.|
|1936||Mannesmann & Co start mining at Büchenberg.|
|30-APR-1970||mining ended, mine closed.|
|07-OCT-1984||opened to visitors.|
|Image: a model of the mine in the small museum.|
This mine provided a memorable array of minerals which are unique in Central Europe. The range of colours in the minerals and local stone fascinates the layman. Such is the diversity of geological features, that walking only a few meters through the mine takes the visitor through a long geological time span. Most notably is the green volcanic Ergussgesteine (lava) of the Middle Devonian, formed by hot volcanic springs in the bottom of the sea, 360 million years ago. This contrasts with the reddish iron ore which is sandwich between the black tuff (volcanic ash).
A full range of mining equipment is on display. Overhead loaders, Drilling machines, and the oldest industrial aerial ropeway in Europe are all still operating.
Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.
|Image: a remains of the old aerial ropeway.|
A 600 m long circular tour, which is suitable even for wheelchair users, gives a good impression of the work of an iron miner in the 1950s and 1960s when the mine was located in the German Democratic Republic.
The ore was carted from the mine via a 8.65 km long aerial ropeway. Modern production technology demonstrates how the steeply sloping strata was excavated. The safety device which guarded against rope breaks is demonstrated.
One of the specialities is the Tscherperessen where parties of 25 and more can partake in a rustic miners meal, homely plain food and "Travellers Schnapps", with music etc.
Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.
Büchenberg is a rather young mine, although it has a very long history. The most important time of the mine was during the 1950s and 1960s, and most of the machinery is from this time. This is exceptional for a German mine, as most of them became unprofitable at the same time and were closed. Many others, especially in the Harz, were already closed for centuries. The reason is the extremely rich and big deposit, and the economic situation of East Germany, which tried to produce as much as possible on theri own, to spare foreign currency.
|Image: the so called Geologic Window, the highlight of every tour.|
The mine was exploited using contemporary techniques, the machinery was state of the art. Even the transport of the ore was extraordinary: the location on top of the mountain did not allow the construction of a railroad access, which would have been the most economic transport for the ore. The next station was nearly 10kms away at the foot of the Harz. So they built an aerial ropeway to transport the ore from the shaft 50m inside the mine downhill to the train station, where the content of the carts was automatically turned over into the train. At this time the ropeway was the longest industrial ropeway of Europe, being 8,650m long.
The entrance builing of the minig is right at the ropeway, contains the ticket office and a small museum. Minerals, ores and some models of the mine are on display, also historic documents and photographs. After a short introduction the visitors get a helmet and the tour starts. The mine is entered down the steep tunnel of the ropeway, disabled visitor can use a modern funicular. At the bottom the first highlight of the tour is the ropeway filling station, were hunts from the mine were filling huge silos, which then filled the carts of the ropeway.
The whole tour follows a single level of the mine. So it is also level and suitable for disabled. Still it is cool, damp, sometimes a little low and dirty. Appropriate clothes and shoes are a good idea.
The most impressive highlight of the tour is a so called geologic window. It is not really a window, as it is just the wall of an adit, but the colourfull layers of ore and other rocks make it an imortant geologic point in the mine. The layers are folded into cones, and so the tunnels normally followed the conic surfaces. Here at this point the adit cuts through the conic layers of ore.
|Image: this overhead loader is in full working order, driven by compressed air, and demonstrated on the tour.|
The Harz mountains are rather high, cold and not very fertile. First usage during the Middle Ages was cutting wood and herding sheep or cattle. But soon the first minerals and ores were found, and the first open cast mines built. The iron ore at the Büchenberg was mined for a long time. But when the local sovereigns tried to improve their mining activities, they had to get skilled miners, who were able to build underground mines. The first miners which came to the Harz in a huge number were from the Erzgebirge, another mountain area to the south, which belongs half to Germany and half to the Czech Republic today. They brought with them their knowledge, culture and language. And so today the dialect spoken in the Harz differs from the flatland around.
A strange word, which might not be found in a German dictionary, and which most Germans will not know is the word Tscherper. It is a typical miners word of the local dialect. A Tzscherper is a knife, a sort of general purpose tool used by the miners. Every miner had one and used it for repairing things, e.g. the Geleucht (lamp) or his shoes, machinery or tools like Schlegel and Eisen (hammer and chisel). It was also used to score the rock to determine if it is ore or any other kind of rock. And last but not least it was used to eat, slice bread, cut meat or to butter bread.
A modern remains of this tradition is the so called Tzscherperessen (Tzscherper meal), which is a meal which resembles the miners meals. It consists of a potato soup (probably not eaten using the knife) and traditional local food like (very fat) sausages, ham and cheese. Typical are Bratwurst, a sausage made for frying in a pan, Leberwurst (liver sausage) and Rotwurst, a sausage made of blood and greaves. Of course there is a lot of Schnaps necessary to survive this meal. Typical are potato Schnaps, similar to Wodka, and lokal cordials like Schierker Feuerstein. All those sausages were once made only once a year, when a pig was butchered. And the original Tzscherperessen was also made only once a year at Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day). It was a special festival of the miners. The food was typical but still something special.
Today there is no problem to get all those sausages all over the year, and Tzscherperessen are held inside the Büchenberg mine all year. The low temperature of 8°C and a humidity of 95% make it a rather cool experience, and warm clothes are much recommended. After some time the Schnaps will also help. There are other places were the Tzscherperessen is held, but this is definitely the most extraordinary location.
|Schaubergwerk Büchenberg Gallery|