Besucherbergwerk Gleissinger Fels


Useful Information

Location: Gleissinger Fels 1, 95686 Fichtelberg.
Near Fichtelberg, between Neubau and Fleckl. A9 exit 39 Bad Berneck, B303 (E48) through Bad Berneck to Bischofsgrün,
(50.007612, 11.836966)
Open: All year daily 11, 13, 15.
Open only to the tours, please arrive 15-20 minutes before the tour.
[2023]
Fee: Adults EUR 7,50, Children (5-14) EUR 6,50, Children (0-4) free.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 7, Children (5-14) EUR 6.
[2023]
Classification: MineIron Mine
Light: LightLED Light
Dimension: A=755 m NN.
Guided tours: D=75 min.
Photography: not allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Wolfram Fink (1908): Das Eisenglimmervorkommen am Gleißingerfels In: Geognostische Abteilung des Kgl. Oberbergamtes in München (Hrsg.): Geognostische Jahreshefte 1906. 19. Jahrgang. Piloty & Loehle, München 1908, S. 153–167.
Joseph Hartmann (1981): Das Silbereisenbergwerk Gleißinger Fels, Frankenland, Zeitschrift für fränkische Landeskunde und Kulturpflege, S 139ff. online
Address: Besucherbergwerk Gleissinger Fels, Panoramastraße, 95686 Fichtelberg, Tel: +49-9272-848. 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.

History

1300 Beginning of mining in the Fichtelgebirge,
1478 Mining at Gleissinger Fels first mentioned in a document.
1600 Friedrich IV issues mining freedoms which ensured an upswing in mining.
1604 Fundgrube Gottesgab mine begins operations, shortly followed by a blast furnace and several hammer forges.
1618 Mining ceases due to the Thirty Years' War.
1635 All mines and smelter buildings are destroyed by the Thirty Years' War.
1648 Mining resumed under Kurfürst Maximilian I.
1750 Lack of wood leads to closure of blast furnaces and reduction of mining.
1802 Excavation of today's show mine, the Deep Adit and the Reiner'schen Erbstollen.
1805 Mining ceases again.
1827-1832 Mining of a 4 m thick seam.
1859 Mining stopped due to low metal prices.
1938 Mining finally stopped.
AUG-1979 Exhibition mine opened.
2022 New visitor centre opened.

Geology

The Ochsenkopf, the best-known mountain in the Fichtelgebirge, is home to various mineral resources. It is a granite intrusion, which can easily be recognised by the granite chunks with spheroidal weathering on the summit. Due to the stretching of the earth's crust at the present-day border between Bohemia and Bavaria, the Egergraben sank in. In the process, molten rock, magma, rose, but it did not reach the earth's surface and got stuck. The magma cooled relatively slowly to granite, heating the surrounding rocks. Convection currents of groundwater occurred, which in turn leached the rock and deposited the dissolved substances in the form of minerals and ores in fissures.

The ore that was mined at the Fichtelberg is so-called Silbereisen (silver iron), a local name, given because of its silvery colour. This is an iron ore which looks micaceous, so it has been given the name Eisenglimmer (specularite). Since Silbereisen is a purely local name, the claim that the Gleissinger Fels visitor mine is the only silver iron mine in the world that can be visited as an exhibition mine is also obviously true. Moreover, it is a rather ridiculous statement that nevertheless made it onto Wikipedia. The official name is haematite, and it colours the water blood-red when cut and is therefore also called bloodstone (haimatos). The colour is merely iron oxide, which is also used as a pigment for red paint. In any case, all varieties of haematite are and have been mined worldwide in a variety of mines, it is one of the most important iron ores.

Description

The Besucherbergwerk Gleissinger Fels (Gleißinger Fels Show Mine) offers an insight into iron mining in the Fichtelgebirge. In the Middle Ages, this was done by hand with hammers and irons, which involved a lot of work in the very resistant granite. On the other hand, the rock is extremely stable, so it was rarely necessary to secure the mine with a lining. The granite is usually brown on the surface, a result of the oxidation of the iron it contains, so it is rust. But in the mine tunnels the real colour of the rock is revealed, which is light grey. Only where the mine water has run down the walls are there brownish patterns of rust. This gives the visit a very unusual atmosphere.

Mining certainly existed earlier, it was first mentioned in a document in 1478, when the Lords of Hirschberg were granted permission by the Kurfürst Philip to extract all metals. This revived mining, but iron was only mined for local needs. There were many rumours about gold and silver deposits, but gold or silver were never found. In 1600, Frederick IV issued mining freedoms that provided a new boost to mining. In 1604, the Gottesgab discovery mine began operations and a blast furnace and several hammer forges followed shortly afterwards. However, mining came to a standstill again a few years later due to the Thirty Years' War. In 1635 all the mines and smelting buildings were destroyed.

Work resumed after the war under Kurfürst Maximilian I. But years of litigation ensued between the government and the former mine operators, who made claims. Johann Ernst von Altmannshausen leased the mines and hammer works, and the mined ores were processed in a gun factory near Ebnath. Finally, Kurfürst Maximilian II. Emanuel settled the dispute in 1685 with a compensation payment. From 1689 mining was again carried out at the Kurfürst's expense. However, mining was primarily carried out in open-cast mines. From 1750, blast furnaces had to be closed and mining reduced because there was not enough charcoal available.

In 1802, the current exhibition mine, the Deep Adit or Reiner's Erbstollen, was excavated. It was closed down again just three years later. Between 1827 and 1832, mining was resumed and a haematite seam up to four metres thick was extracted. After that, the upper adit, which was higher up, was started, and the two were finally connected in 1837. An ore deposit was found big enough for 30 years of mining, but mining was temporarily stopped just one year later. Low metal prices caused mining to cease in 1859. It was revived twice more for a short time, but in 1907 it was stopped for good because the deposits were exhausted.

Until 1938, specularite was mined for the production of anti-rust paint. Due to its crystal structure, specularite is already very weather-resistant. For the paint, it was mixed with various oils. Mining ended in 1938 with the annexation of Austria, because now a company from Carinthia was cheaper competition.

Mining was a major source of income for the population and contributed decisively to the development of Fichtelberg. This is true of several places in the Fichtelgebirge, which is why the region is often referred to as the "Ruhr of the Middle Ages". It is part of the Bavaria-Bohemia Geopark and the visitor mine is designated as a geotope (geotope number: 472G002) by the Bavarian State Office for the Environment. The operator of the show mine is the Montan-Stiftung Nordostbayern (Mining Foundation of North-East Bavaria) based in Fichtelberg. The name was usually spelled Gleißingerfels or Gleißinger Fels, but for some years now the spelling Gleissinger Fels has prevailed. Although a spelling reform for proper names is rather doubtful, we have decided to follow the current spelling.