Grube Tannenberg

Useful Information

Location: Zum Schneckenstein 42, OT Schneckenstein, 08262 Tannenbergsthal
A 72 exits Zwickau, Reichenbach or Oelsnitz, towards Klingenthal, then Tannenbergsthal/OT Schneckenstein. Signposted.
(50.4158078, 12.4597713)
Open: Besucherbergwerk: All year Tue-Sun, Hol 10, 11:30, 13, 14:30.
Mineralienzentrum: All year Tue-Sun, Hol 10-17.
Topasfelsen: APR to NOV Tue-Sun, Hol 10-16.
Fee: Besucherbergwerk: Adults EUR 4.50, Children (3-13) EUR 2.50, Students (-26) EUR 3, Disabled EUR 3.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 3, Children (3-13) EUR 1.50.
Mineralienzentrum: Adults EUR 5, Children (3-13) EUR 3, Students (-26) EUR 3.50, Disabled EUR 3.50.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 4, Children (3-13) EUR 2.50.
Topasfelsen: Adults EUR 1, Children (3-13) EUR 0.50, Students (-26) EUR 0.50, Disabled EUR 0.50.
Classification: MineTin Mine MineTopaz Mine TopicSDAG Wismut
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=1 h.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Th. Kaemmel (1961): Geologie, Petrographie und Geochemie der Zinnerzlagerstätte "Tannenberg" (Vogtland) Beiheft 30, Zeitschrift Geologie, Berlin. Deutsch - German
E. Donath (1964): Das Zinnerzbergbaugebiet von Gottesberg und Mühlleithen im Vogtland Freiberger Forschungsheft C 181, Leipzig, S. 119-133. Deutsch - German
T. Lotz, K.-H. Russ (1973): Mineralienfundstellen um den Schneckenstein im Vogtland Aufschluss, Jg.24, Nr.10, S.424-28. Deutsch - German
H.W. Wild (1998): Neues Schaubergwerk im Vogtland stellt sich vor Min.-Welt, Jg.9, Nr.3, S.6. Deutsch - German
Address: Besucherbergwerk "Grube Tannenberg", Zum Schneckenstein 42, OT Schneckenstein, 08262 Tannenbergsthal, Tel: +49-37465-41993, Tel: +49-37465-41825 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.


15thcentury Große Tannenberg-Pinge and upswing in tin mining in the Mühlleithen/Tannenbergsthal area.
1920s geological exploration.
1936 600 metre long Tannenbergstolln is excavated.
1938 Greisenkörper I discovered.
1940 Blindschacht I sunk 90 metres, construction of a processing plant above ground.
1945 mining ceased at the end of the war.
1946 processing used by SDAG Wismut for the extraction of uranium.
1952 resumption of tin mining through the Mühlleithner Stolln.
1964 mine finally closed due to exhaustion of the deposit.
1992 decision to set up a show mine in the Tannenberg mine, start of expansion.
1993 Tannenbergstolln made accessible again.
1996 show mine opened to the public.
11-JUN-2009 Topaszimmer (topaz room) inaugurated by District Administrator Tassilo Lenk.
2013 Fossillienausstellung (fossil exhibition) opens at the Mineral Centre.


The oldest rocks are phyllites, clayey silt, and quartzites, fine quartz sandstone, which were deposited around 450 Ma ago. Quartzites are sandstones consisting of quartz grains, which were then solidified with a matrix of quartz. This gives them an extremely high resistance to chemical weathering, which is why they form rock formations such as the Pfaffenstein, the Wendelstein and the Affensteine in the area today. Around 330 Ma ago, the Variscan orogeny took place, during which the rocks were folded.

In the Carboniferous period, magma intruded, but got stuck underground and solidified very slowly into granite. The heat of the magma, which was released over a long period of time, led to metamorphosis and transformed the clay-rich rocks into a micaceous slate, the phyllites, and the quartz sandstone into quartzite. This also formed the Eibenstock tourmaline granite, which transformed the adjacent rock in the contact zone into andalusite mica rock, hornfels, Fruchtschiefer and Knotenschiefer. Cooling and the associated shrinkage led to the formation of fissures and crevices. Vapours containing boric acid rose and formed quartz-tourmaline slate and quartz-tourmaline veins with tinstone. At the same time, the feldspar was decomposed into kaolin and the granite was transformed into Greisen, a local name for weathered granite. The resulting enrichment of tin created a tin deposit.

The core areas of a greisen body are quartz-topaz greisen with 0.5 to 1.5 % tin, the outer areas are quartz-mica greisen with 0.1 to 0.5 % tin. These are very low tin contents which only make mining worthwhile if the deposit is large enough and machines are used. Medieval mining searched for nests where the tinstone was more concentrated and tin contents of 15 % occurred. Soaps were also mined where the ore content was further increased by weathering.


The Grube Tannenberg (Tannenberg mine) is located in the Vogtland region, in the municipality of Tannenbergsthal in the Schneckenstein district. Although this is very far to the west, geologically it still belongs to the Ore Mountains, and the geology of the deposit also corresponds to that of the Ore Mountains. We have therefore taken the liberty of assigning the show mine to the Ore Mountains, which is geologically correct but geographically incorrect. And there is a second special feature: although this is a medieval mine, the tour focuses on the history between 1936 and 1964, which covers two important topics: the mining of war-critical ores by the Nazis during the Second World War and the mining of uranium for the Soviet Union's atomic bombs by SDAG Wismut after the war. Although both are often found in the Erzgebirge, they are still the exception rather than the rule. In this respect, this show mine is particularly interesting.

And yet the tour begins with a medieval tunnel, which was driven by hand with mallet and iron. This is how mining was done at the beginning of the 15th century, later explosives were used which were continuously improved. But after a brisk journey through time, you reach the 20th century. In the Tannenberg tunnel, you can see 600 metres of modern mining technology, such as mine locomotives, drilling machines and an old metalworking shop where tools and machines were maintained and repaired. You can also see the geology, the surrounding granite and slate rock and the ore veins. At the end of the tunnel, you reach a blind shaft with an engine room, which offers a vivid insight into the mining technology of the 20th century.

The highlight of the tour is the Greisenkörper I deposit, where a chamber, 60 m long, 30 m wide and 55 m high remains after the orebody has been mined. There is also a 45 m deep lake, giving the chamber a total height of 100 metres. This is one of the largest mining cavities in Saxony. It is the result of geological exploration work in the 1920s, which led to the excavation of the 600 m long Tannenbergstolln (Tannenberg tunnel). In 1938, Greisenkörper I was discovered on the tunnel level and subsequently mined. From 1940, the ore was processed in a processing plant built above ground. Mining ended at the end of the war.

But it continued very quickly, SDAG Wismut was not looking for bismuth, which was just a camouflage name, but for uranium. The Soviet occupying forces demanded uranium as reparations, and so the search for uranium-bearing ores continued on a massive scale. In the Schneckenstein area, pitchblende containing uranium was discovered and mined in 5 out of 6 large shafts. The 1950s were the heyday of uranium mining, with 6000 people employed in this area alone.

However, tin was also mined again beginning in 1952. As the Tannenbergstolln was blocked by the SDAG Wismut processing plant, access from there was not possible. The VEB Wolfram-Zinnerz Pechtelsgrün dug the 1.6 km long Mühlleithner Stolln from Mühlleithen. They reached Greisenkörper I and discovered Greisen II and mined both. These two deposits were exhausted in 1964, and no further deposits could be found, so tin mining was finally discontinued.

The show mine was an initiative of the districts of Klingenthal and Auerbach, who wanted to open a show mine in the Schneckenstein region. In addition to the Tannenberg tin ore mine, the Brunndöbra barite mine was also on the shortlist. The decision was made in favour of Tannenberg in 1992, and the development works began, the show mine was opened to the public in 1996. In later years, however, further facilities were opened on the site and today the Topaswelt Schneckenstein, which consists of three facilities, is located here. In addition to the show mine, there is also the Vogtländisch-Böhmische Mineralienzentrum (Vogtland-Bohemian Mineral Centre) and the Topasfelsen (Topaz Rock). A herb garden, a herb kitchen, an animal enclosure and a maze are also located on the site. All facilities can be reached on foot within a few minutes.

The Mineral Centre is an exhibition of regional minerals and ores, with a special focus on the gemstone deposits at Schneckenstein. The Topaszimmer (topaz room) focuses on Vogtland topazes and topazes found all over the world. The operators have researched together with local mineral collectors and created a world map with all 300 known topaz sites. The aim is to exhibit a specimen from each site. There is also a mining exhibition and a natural history museum with live animals, as well as a gemstone-cutting workshop. Special features include a cabinet with fluorescent minerals and glass products, so-called uranium glass. These are primarily radioactive uranium minerals that fluoresce under UV light and were used as colour pigments in the manufacture of ceramics and glass. Of course, this is harmful to health and production has since been banned, but collecting this beautiful and dangerous glass seems to have become quite popular. A fossil exhibition was added to the museum in 2013.

The Topasfelsen Schneckenstein (Schneckenstein topaz rock) is actually a large rock, with a well-paved path with railings leading up to a viewing platform at a height of 24 metres. It is a special feature because it is the only rock in the otherwise rock-free forest landscape. The rock is full of topaz and is the first topaz site in history. This rock is one of the oldest topaz sites in the world and the oldest topaz site in Central Europe, as well as the only above-ground topaz rock in the northern hemisphere. There is only one other above-ground site in Australia. Topaz from this site can even be found in the crown of the British monarchy.