Sondershausen, Ortsteil Stockhausen.
A38 exit Nordhausen Süd, B4 to Sondershausen, at the city limits turn right into Schachtstraße.
All year Tue-Fri 11, 14, Sat 10, 14, Sun 11.
Reservation is recommended.
Tue-Fri: Adults EUR 20, Children (10-18) EUR 15, Children (0-9) not allowed.
Sat, Sun: Adults EUR 25, Children (10-18) EUR 20.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||T=670 m, D=2.5h|
|Address:||Erlebnisbergwerk-Betreibergesellschaft mbH, Schachtstraße 20-22, 99706 Sondershausen, Tel: +49-3632-655280, Fax: +49-3632-655285. 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.
|1891||mining rights granted, first borehole.|
|1892||salt discovered 616 m below surface.|
|1893||begin of mining with the first shaft.|
|1895||Schacht 1 (shaft 1) completed, first salt production.|
|1898||inauguration of the kalium chlorate factory.|
|1910||Schacht 2 (shaft 2) completed.|
|1917||mine temporarily closed because of World War I.|
|1937||mine refurbished for the production of ammunition.|
|1947||mine owned by the state Thüringen.|
|1948||tranformed into VEB (Volkseigener Betrieb aka people's enterprise).|
|1989||last year of full production, 2,299,400t of raw salt.|
|1991||end of mining.|
|1998||show mine founded.|
The Thüringer Becken (Thüringen Plains) is filled with mesozoic sedimentary rocks with almost horizontal bedding. Here at the northern rim the layers start to rise and the layers are eroded to the Buntsandstein (Olenekian). Below this red sandstones lie layers of Permian salt ans anhydrite. The huge white and gray layers of Leinesteinsalz and Staßfurtsteinsalz are rock salt with a salt content of 94-98%. Between those layers is a small strata of bright and dark red potassium salt. This mine was mining only those potassium salts in form of Carnallite.
The Buntsandstein, a mostly red, porous sanstone, is filled with ground water. Above the salt and in between are layers of clay, which are water tights and protect the salt from the water. They not only protect the salt from being dissolved, they also protect the mine from the intrusion of ground water.
670 m below Sondershausen is a unique technical museum, the more than 100 years old salt mine and the oldest potash mine of the world open to the public. Beneath the ride on the mine elevator, almost 700 m down, there is a boat ride on an underground salt lake and the extraordinary ride on a tunnel slide, which is more for the adventurous visitors. Quite typical for a salt mine are huge chambers and impressive machinery for excavation and transport. The tour includes some 15 kilometers of Jeep or truck ride underground.
To the end of the GDR this was an important working mine, but then it soon became unrentable and was closed. At first the town tried to convert it into a show mine, to save at least a few jobs and draw tourists to the area. But in the last years the mine was transformed in what they call Erlebnisbergwerk (adventure mine). This means different sport events underground, like mountain bike races and sprint races. There is also an underground ballroom and concert hall.
The visit takes about 2.5 hours, about 1.5 hours of this are the underground tour. Visitors should arrive at least 30 minutes before start. They are welcomed by an experienced miner, who will hand out a Jacket and a helmet. Before entering the mine, the visitors must attend a security briefing.