Reminders of Germany's earliest industrial heritage: documenting around 1,000 years of mining history, the Mines of Rammelsberg on the outskirts of the beautiful old town of Goslar were once the largest interconnected repositories of copper, lead and zinc ore in the world. Energy for the mine was supplied by the Upper Harz water management system, the world's foremost pre-industrial water management system for the mining industry.
Producing almost 30 million tonnes of ore, the Rammelsberg mines shaped the history and development of the town of Goslar in the Harz region; they also led Emperor Heinrich II to establish an imperial palace here. The first imperial assembly in Goslar took place in 1009 and the town remained a royal seat for German kings and emperors until 1253. In 1988, after more than 1,000 years of virtually non-stop mining, the ore extraction was stopped. Today, it lives on in a museum of impressive scale and authenticity. Not quite so big, but just as authentic is Goslar's old town, whose enchanting skyline is dominated by the mighty Romanesque palace and the towers of no fewer than 47 churches and chapels. The preserved townscape is dominated by elegant guildhalls reflecting the wealth of the citizens, by the historical town hall and by timber-framed houses with ornamental carvings. In 2010 the World Heritage site was expanded to include Walkenried Abbey, the historical Grube Samson mine in St. Andreasberg and the Upper Harz water management system. The latter, considered a masterpiece of early mining and engineering artistry, consists of 107 historical ponds, 310 kilometres of ditches and 31 kilometres of waterways. It is one of the largest pre-industrial power supply facilities in the world. This part of the World Heritage site can be explored on foot along a network of waterside trails, which highlight not only the technological innovations but also the beauty of the landscape.
Old Town of Goslar
Sightseeing tours by Lilliput train or horse-drawn carriage
Guided tours: 'A thousand steps through the old town' daily at 10am; 'Afternoon walk' from April to October and also in December, Monday to Saturday at 1.30pm
Guided tours in foreign languages available in Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish and Russian; dates/times by arrangement
Guided tours for the deaf (sign language), partially sighted and blind.
Further information: www.goslar.de
Mines of Rammelsberg
Museum and visitor centre at the Mines of Rammelsberg in Goslar, 9am to 6pm daily
Further information: www.rammelsberg.de
Upper Harz Water Management System
Guided tours of the historical water management system at the Upper Harz Mining Museum in Clausthal-Zellerfeld
Further information: www.ohwr.de
Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System is part of the 'Earthly treasure and architecture' UNESCO route. Other stops on the route are:
UNESCO World Heritage sites: