|Location:||In Prettau, Ahrntal (valley of the Ahrn river). Brenner Highway, exit Sterzing, follow Puster valley road to Bruneck. Turn left into Ahrntal, in Sand in Taufers follow signs to Luttach Ahrntal. Prettau is nearly at the end of the valley.|
APR to OCT Tue-Sun 9:30-16:30, last tour 15.
Please book in advance, in AUG pre booking required.
Adults EUR 8, Children (7-18) EUR 3, Children (-7) free, Students EUR 3, Soldiers EUR 3, Seniors EUR 6, Disabled EUR 6, Family (2+n) EUR 16.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 6, Pupils EUR 3.
Combined tickets with Museum Steinhaus: Adults EUR 10, Children (7-18) EUR 5, Children (-7) free, Students EUR 5, Soldiers EUR 5, Seniors EUR 7, Disabled EUR 7, Family (2+n) EUR 20. Groups (15+): Adults EUR 7, Pupils EUR 4.
|Classification:||Copper Mine Speleotherapy|
|Guided tours:||L=340m, D=90min. ( )|
|Address:||Besucherbergwerk Prettau, Hörmanngasse 38/A, I-39030 Prettau Ahrntal, Tel: +39-474-654298, Fax +39-474-654156 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.
|1000 BC||the mine was already used during the Bronze Age.|
|1426||mine first mentioned: Friedrich IV needed two guns to siege Castle Greifenstein.|
|1479||closed by an edict of the sovereign Erzherzog Sigmund to protect the mine in Schwaz.|
|1485||sold by the towns to the sovereign.|
|1504||the Freiherren von Welsperg bought shares.|
|1560||completely owned by the Freiherren von Welsperg.|
|1562||inherited by the family of Wolkenstein-Rodenegg.|
|1618 to 1648||the Thirty Years War had a bad influence on the economy of middle Europe and also on the mine.|
|1676||sold to Freiherr von Sternbach and Graf von Tannenberg who made it flourish.|
|1831||new owner Graf Enzenberg, had no luck with the mine.|
|1864||bronze axe found inside the mine.|
|1893||mine closed due to falling copper prices.|
|1957||mine reopened by an Italian Company.|
|1972||mine finally closed.|
|2001||tunnel for speleotherapy opened.|
Near Prettau at the Rötkreuz, copper ores veins meet the surface at nearly 2000m asl. The veins are only 10m wide and more or less vertical, so only for a short time mining at the surface was possible. The later and deeper mines used horizontal tunnels from the valley to meet the ore.
The ore is rather low in copper, but because of the chemistry of the ore, the copper from here once had a very good quality. It was excellent for making fine wires.
The visitors of the Besucherbergwerk Prettau use the mine railway to enter the mine through the 1000m long St. Ignaz-Erbstollen. Two floors of the mine are visited in a round course with several displays about the history of the mine. There are various stops with multimedia displays in differnet languages. At one point the ore is seen as it is found in the rock naturally. This is where the mining stopped in 1972.
The vertical ore deposit made it necessary to go deeper and deeper as mining continued. The location in this mountainous area with its high precipitation, rain during summer and snow in the long winter, is the reason for high amounts of water inside the mine. Old documents tell that the miners had to remove two bags of water for one bag of ore. This became a true problem, so the miners started to build horizontal adits from the valley into the ore. They were slightly ascending into the mine and so they could be used to drain the mine without the need of work or energy. The water was just flowing out by gravity. But the deeper the mine got, the deeper the adits were and the longer they had to be. The second lowest adit, the St. Nikolas Herrenbau Stollen was already 1,000m long and the miners needed 88 years to build it (1611-1698) manually. The lowest adit, the St. Ignaz Stollen was built 1761 to 1804, although about 100m longer it took only 43 years to build, as the miners used gunpowder. Nevertheless the construction of this tunnels took several generations of miners and was an investment into a far future, which neither the miners nor the owner would see.
The various tunnels from the modern show mine up to the open cast pits at 2,000m asl. are connected by a mining path. This path is rather steep and has a vertical range of 600m, so it takes at least 2.5 hours and is rather strenuous. Still it is very interesting and offers impressive views on the Alpine landscape.
One tunnel of this mine is used for speleotherapy. The patients enter the mine with the same mine train, but it goes in about 100m further to the entrance of the therapy tunnel. This tunnel is equipped with a double door, to avoid any change in the air quality, which is absolutely pure without any dust or pollen. There are rest rooms and chairs for the patients. The patients stay here for two hours every day, so they get sleeping bags to keep warm in the cool air.