A81, exit Weinsberg/Ellhofen. B 39 until shortly before Mainhardt, B 14 until Großerlach. The key is available at the BikePark Großerlach.
All year Sat, Sun, Hol, bridge days 10-17.
School holidays Thu-Sun, Hol, bridge days 10-17.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||self guided, L=45 m.|
Thomas Huth (2002):
Erlebnis Geologie: Besucherbergwerke, Höhlen, Museen und Lehrpfade in Baden-Württemberg
LA Geol., Rohst. und Bergbau BW. 472 S. S.31.
H.-J. Hirrlinger (2010): Silberrausch unterm Kirchturm Esslinger Zeitung, 4. 8. 10. S.12.
Gemeinde Großerlach, Stuttgarter Straße 18, 71577 Großerlach, Tel: +49-7903-9154-0, Fax: +49-7903-9154-33.
BikePark/Skilift Großerlach, Gartenstrasse 22, 71577 Großerlach, Tel: +49-176-604-264-56. 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.
|1772||three farmers find silver ore while digging a well.|
|1774||mining discontinued due to lack of economic viability.|
|1926||portal first excavated.|
|1993||Heimatverein Großerlach and Arbeitskreis Silberstollen uncover the gallery and install electric light.|
|MAY-2000||show mine opened.|
The sandstone from the middle Keuper (Upper Triassic) contains small amounts of malachite (copper ore) and silver ores. But the deposits are generally not rentable.
Since May 2000 the Silberstollen "Gabe Gottes" in Großerlach is open as a show mine. It has been excavated and restored by the Heimatverein Großerlach and the Arbeitskreis Silberstollen. It is 30 m long and is visited on self-guided tours. The key is available from the BikePark/Skilift Großerlach.
The tunnel was operated only one year, it was something like a small "silver rush". A man named Friedrich Ziegel claimed that 200 years ago there was a rich silver mine in Wüstenrot, which was most likely a scam. On the basis of some ore samples from the Pfaffenklinge, he tried to convince Prelate Öttinger from Murrhardt of this in 1772. A guest of the house, Bergrat Riedel from Saxony, persuaded the prelate to interest other people in this and to establish a mine at the site.
In December 1772 the three farmers Hans Georg Jäcklen, Johann Christoph Wieland and Sigmund Wieland were digging a well near Großerlach. They discovered a strange blue and shiny layer. The Bergrat Riedel analyzed the rocks and found a certain amount of silver. He visited the location, asked for the owner of the ground and planned the operation of a mine. A few days later the Rat und Vogt zu Löwenstein Fischer decided, that the mine would be built. He also decided there would be 132 Kuxen (shares), "128 for the company, 1 for the ruler, 1 for the owner of the ground, 1 for the Saint and the school, and 1 for the priest for his prayers". The estimations of the production are very optimistic. Riedel made the claim that in every hundredweight of ore from each mine there would be 23 lots (~400g) of silver as well as some gold. He calculated that 300 hundredweight of ore could be mined and smelted in 14 days. For the dominion in Löwenstein this would result in 49 pounds of silver or 1568 gulden profit from the shares and the taxes in 14 days. Calculated over the year, this would be 1274 pounds of silver or 39768 gulden profit.
Several other tunnels have been created in the surrounding area, "Unverhoft Glück", "Soldatenglück", "Der freundliche Bergmann", "Treue Freundschaft". Some of them can be visited on short hikes, the silver adit "Unverhofftes Glück" (L=127 m) and "Soldatenglück" (L=34 m) near Wüstenrot were equipped with a board with explanations. However, they cannot be entered.
The mine began operations in March 1773 and was soon overindebted. There was no revenue at all, and the income from the sold share certificates was not enough to cover the running costs. In the fall, the construction of a stamping plant and a smelter was started in Liemersbach. After one year, mining was stopped due to lack of profitability. In a good year, Riedel had made a deficit of 3,500 Gulden.
Eventually, despite all the grand declarations, people no longer believed Riedel. They sold their share certificates or solemnly renounced them. Bergrat Riedel was arrested in Löwenstein, his mining seal and Bergamtsbuch were taken from him, and he was sentenced.
Although the mine was an economic failure, it served as a hiding place for the population during various wars and turmoil, and probably saved many a life. In 1926, the now buried mouth of the adit was uncovered for the first time. Already at that time it was a matter of tourist use, the gallery was made accessible for excursionists and guests. Towards the end of the Second World War it was used as an air raid shelter. After that, however, it fell into oblivion and silted up over time. It was not until 1993 that the Großerlach local history society and the Silberstollen working group uncovered the tunnel again in voluntary work and even installed electric light. The gallery with its 36 m long main gallery and the 9 m long side gallery is completely open to visitors. Up to 5 visitors are allowed to enter the gallery at the same time. For safety reasons, the gallery is locked, but the key can be picked up at the neighboring BikePark/Skilift (former Freizeitzentrum) Großerlach during opening hours. A near-natural Kneipp basin has also been created in front of the gallery, which is fed with spring water from a side gallery of the mine.