Schieferpark Lehesten

Technisches Denkmal Historischer Schieferbergbau Lehesten

Useful Information

Horse whim of the slate mine in Lehesten, Germany. Public Domain.
Shaft, Schieferpark Lehesten, Germany. Public Domain.
Location: Staatsbruch 1, 07349 Lehesten.
From the south: A73 exit 13 Lichtenfels, B173 to Kronach, B85 towards Saalfeld. From the east: A9 exit 29 Bad Lobenstein, B90 towards Wurzbach, Bad Lobenstein, in Wurzbach turn left towards Lehesten. From the north: from Saalfeld, B85, then B90 to Lichtentanne, turn right towards Lehesten.
(50.462930555555570, 11.438480555555560)
Open: MAR to OCT Tue-Thu 10, 13, Fri 10, Sat, Hol 10:30, 14, Sun 14.
Fee: Adults EUR 9, Children (3-14) EUR 3, Students EUR 7, Apprentices EUR 7, Disabled EUR 7, Families (2+*) EUR 19.
Groups (10+): Adults 7, Children (3-14) EUR 2.50.
Classification: MineSlate Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=1 h, Max=35, L=500 m.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Stiftung Thür. Schieferpark Lehesten, Staatsbruch 17, 07349 Berg- und Schieferstadt Lehesten, Tel: +49-36653-262-70, Tel: +49-36653-260-0 E-mail:
Stadtverwaltung Lehesten, Tel: 036653-22381, Fax: 036653-22518.
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.


900 Settlement founded by Slavs.
1300 Start of slate mining.
14th century Towers of Würzburg Cathedral covered with slate from Lehesten.
1485 Roofs of Teuschnitz Castle covered with slate from Lehesten.
1495 Mining of alum slate, both in opencast mines and underground.
1698 Slate hauling regulations are issued.
1792 Alexander von Humboldt becomes the acting Berghauptmann or Königlicher Oberbergmeister (Royal Chief Miner) for just under five years.
13-JUL-1792 Alexander von Humboldt visits the "Alter Bruch" slate mine in Lehesten, three other mines in the west of the town and also the "Koselstein" slate mine near Wurzbach.
1835 Horse-drawn elevator installed in the "Alter Bruch".
1873 Largest slate board in the world (308 x 253 x 4 cm) becomes an exhibit at the World Exhibition in Vienna.
1918 Ducal slate quarries are taken over by the Free State of Saxony-Meiningen.
1920 Ducal slate quarries become the property of the state of Thuringia.
1999 End of slate mining.



Flooded quarry, Schieferpark Lehesten, Germany. Public Domain.
Engraving of the quarry from the book Die Gartenlaube, Schieferpark Lehesten, Germany. Public Domain.

The Technisches Denkmal Historischer Schieferbergbau Lehesten, literally "Technical Memorial Historical Slate Mining Lehesten", is a huge open air museum explaining the slate mining tradition around the village Lehesten. It probably also became clear to those responsible that the name was too long and complicated and so it was renamed Schieferpark Lehesten (Slate Park Lehesten). However, the long and complicated name is still the official name. It includes the abandoned open cast slate quarry, and the last remaining Göpelschachtanlage (whim headframe) in Germany which sits on a 70 m deep mine shaft. The Spalthütte is the shed where the mined slate blocks were split and cut to form tiles. It contains all necessary machinery and tools needed for the work, the mining equipment, typical raw blocks and examples of the produced tiles, gravestones and other products. The site is freely accessible and the tour, including the model village, the circular route to the slate lake and the geological trail around the slate lake, is free of charge. The guided tour shows the inside of the historic factory buildings. Since the flooding of the opencast mine, an underground tour is no longer possible.

Slate mining probably began around 1300. Blue slate, clay slate made of silicon oxide, aluminium oxide, iron and calcium oxide is mined as roof and wall slate, or for the production of writing pens. The oldest slate quarries are "der alte Haw" (Hau) and "Unnütz". Local carters transported the slate with ox carts or horse-drawn carts "all over the world". In the 14th century, the towers of Würzburg Cathedral were covered with slate from Lehesten. Other well-known buildings covered with slate from Lehesten in the 15th to 18th centuries were the Imperial Castle in Vienna, Heidecksburg Castle in Rudolstadt, Saalfeld Town Hall, Heldburg Castle and the Herpf Tower near Meiningen. Alexander von Humboldt was acting Berghauptmann or Royal Chief Miner for almost five years from 1792. In this capacity he visited the "Alter Bruch" slate mine in Lehesten on 13 July 1792, visited three other mines to the west of the town and also the "Koselstein" slate mine near Wurzbach. He wrote about Lehesten:

The quarry employs fifty men. The pit is 20 Lachter deep. The extraction of the slate is made very difficult by the huge slag heap. Working at depth is not possible because of the water.

Slate mining was the economical basis of the town. There were two large slate quarries, the Herrschaftsbruch belonging to the dukedom and the Oertelsbruch named after its owner. The Lehesten opencast quarries are considered the largest on the European mainland. As a result of slate mining, an important roofing trade developed in Lehesten with the oldest master roofing school in Germany. There were also numerous haulage companies that transported the slate to the consumer. However, this ended with the opening of the 7.6 km long railway line Ludwigsstadt-Lehesten on 1 December 1885.

Lehesten als had part in the history of the V2 rocket of the Nazis. In August 1944 an explosion at the Redl-Zipf V-2 liquid oxygen plant in Schlier stopped production. It was replaced by the third V-2 liquid oxygen plant, which was built at the slate quarry Lehesten. It produced 5000 tons/month in 16 liquid oxygen production plants and performed acceptance testing of the V2 combustion chamber.

Dr Martin Schilling, the head of testing at Peenemünde and 400 engineers were moved from Peenemünde to Lehesten. Again much of the work was done by forced labour, more than 1,200 worked here, and 600 died on site. Others were deported to Bergen-Belsen or Mittelbau before they died. There is a memorial at the former concentration camp Laura.