Stollen Erwein II

Grube Kleiner Johannes

Useful Information

Location: Bergwerkstraße, 91257 Pegnitz
(49.764546, 11.553376)
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: MineIron Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography: Johannes Pfeufer (2001): Oberfrankens Eisenerzbergbau während des Dritten Reichs: Zur Geschichte des Bergbaus "Kleiner Johannes" in Arzberg und Pegnitz
Selbstverlag Deutsches Bergbau Museum, Nr. 99, 80 Seiten, Bochum, ISBN-10 3921533872, ISBN-13 978-3921533871.
Helmut Wolf, Waleska Vogt-Eisenschink, Thomas Fischer (1987): Die Oberpfalz, ein europäisches Eisenzentrum : 600 Jahre Grosse Hammereinung,
Kümmersbruck : Bergbau- u. Indust, 1987, Schriftenreihe des Bergbau- und Industriemuseums Ostbayern in ; 12, no. 1, ISBN-10 3925690085, ISBN-13 9783925690082.
Address: Erwein Stollen, Bergwerkstraße, 91257 Pegnitz, Tel: +49-9241-1272.
Jörg Wettengel, Tel. 09241-91316.
Stadt Pegnitz, Hauptstraße 37, 91257 Pegnitz, Tel: +49-9241-723-0. E-mail: contact
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.


1280 Ore mining and iron smelting in the region first mentioned
1400 Arzberg (ore mountain) in Pegnitz first mentioned.
~1500 Bloom of the Pegnitz hammer works.
~1700 Hammering tradition breaks off for more than two centuries.
1869 The mine property Eisensteinzeche "Kleiner Johannes" is awarded to the Prager-Eisenindustriegesellschaft in Vienna.
1908 Start of iron mining, opening of the ironstone mine Kleiner Johannes.
1910 Main tunnel Erwein driven east of the Fichtenohe valley.
1923 Cessation of mining due to lack of sales.
1929 Pit completely shut down.
1935 Operation is resumed.
1940 Linzer Hüttenwerk (Linz furnace) becomes main customer.
1945 Used as an air-raid shelter for the population.
DEC-1967 Linzer Hüttenwerk ends contract, mine closed.
2017 Erwein adit under water.


The Pegnitz Dogger ore deposit is an oolitic brown iron ore with seams between two and three metres thick.

During the Jurassic period, southern Germany was covered by a shallow, oxygen-rich sea in which mainly limestone, but also marls and marly limestones, were deposited. The limestone is rich in fossils. At the beginning of the Jurassic period, the sea was still somewhat deeper and deposition took place anaerobically, which is why the Lias is locally called the Black Jurassic. The high bitumen and pyrite content give the rock a black colour. The pyrite (FeS2) comes from submarine thermal springs (black smokers). While the iron content in the Lias is not yet worth mining, this changes in the Dogger (Middle Jurassic). In southern Germany, the Dogger is called Brown Jurassic, a consequence of the high iron content and the resulting rusty brown colour. These limestone layers repeatedly contain large deposits of iron oxide, which seeped out submarine from thermal springs and accumulated in depressions, where it formed massive deposits.

These deposits were mined throughout the region, from the Minette near Metz and southern Luxembourg, via Geislingen and Wasseralfingen (Tiefer Stollen) to here in Franconia. There are several deposits worth mining here.

The iron content is about 30%, which is rather low for iron ore and leads to high energy consumption during smelting. This is why mining is not profitable at present; high-quality iron ore (magnetite, banded iron) can be obtained cheaply on the world market.


Mining for ironstone in Pegnitz began quite late, in 1918 the Zeche Kleiner Johannes was opened. It was closed and reopened several times, probably as a result of the various wars. It was finally closed in December 1967. The mouth of the Erwein tunnel on the site of today's communal construction site was preserved. The industrial monument has been restored and is now used as a museum. It is the beginning of the Bavarian Iron Road from Pegnitz to Regensburg and also its northernmost point.

Iron ore mining in the Upper Palatinate began as early as the 17th century, as a harbinger of the industrial revolution, so to speak. This mining was not to last long, for berets towards the end of the century smelting ceased in the area and with it mining. It was not until the First World War that mining was reactivated. After the war, the demand for iron was particularly high. The colliery produced 400,000 tonnes of ore annually and employed 600 people.

The mouth of the tunnel on the outskirts of Pegnitz is freely accessible. Display boards flank the entrance on the left and right, showing the layout of the gallery and old pictures from the active days of the mine. Even the light goes on when you approach, controlled by a motion detector. So it is worth visiting even if you are in the area when the mine is not open. The entrance to the tunnel is closed with an iron grate, behind which you can see a typical mining train and the exhibition that has been set up along the tunnel wall. In other words, you can get a certain impression even outside opening hours, and you should definitely do so if you are in the area.

Incidentally, the tracks from the tunnel lead to the building opposite, the former engine shed, with compressor house and workshops dating from 1936. The buildings are well preserved, you almost expect them to be used for a mining museum, but the city uses the buildings for other purposes.

The museum is therefore located exclusively in the gallery. It is therefore worthwhile to come during opening hours, enter the tunnel and view the exhibits directly. The mine train is the train that was actually used to transport the ore from the mine, with trolleys that were optimised for the transport of iron ore. Clothing and equipment of the miners is demonstrated on decommissioned mannequins.

The mining of iron ore in Franconia and the Upper Palatinate has almost come to a complete standstill. Nevertheless, minimal mining for paint still takes place. Troschenreuth is the last paint pit in Germany that is still in operation. Small quantities of red chalk earth or bolus are mined here for the production of special paints. In the district of Hainbronn you can visit the former paint mills, which are now shut down.

In 2017, the tunnel was flooded by groundwater. As a result, the floor in the museum was covered with water to a height of about 10 cm. To avoid the permanent installation of a pump, a drainage system was installed.