The Saxon-Bohemian Silver Mines Route: mining, traditions and treasure in the Erzgebirge mountains

A silver thread connecting the past and present, the 230-kilometre Silver Mines Route is an excellent way of exploring the rich heritage of the Erzgebirge mountains and the customs of the local people and mining industry.

The Saxon-Bohemian Silver Mines Route is regarded as Europe's biggest open-air museum and welcomes you with a hearty "Glück auf!" – the traditional miners' greeting. It starts in Zwickau, the town where Trabant cars were made, and ends in Dresden, where silver once filled the treasure chambers and came to be a measure of wealth. Ore-mining brought prosperity to the region and allowed its culture to blossom. Towns such as Freiberg, Schneeberg, Marienberg and Annaberg were cultural and commercial centres of influence. Countless striking testaments to eight centuries of mining traditions, ancient mining towns, fascinating museums and captivating religious buildings enable visitors to discover the real Erzgebirge mountains. Notable personalities associated with this region include the influential mathematician Adam Ries, the father of mineralogy Georgius Agricola and master organ builder Gottfried Silbermann. Workshops demonstrating the unique wood carving and turning, toy making and lace work traditions that originated in this region make for a fascinating visit – and not just at Christmas time. In summer, the countryside around the Silver Mines Route is a riot of pretty colours and in winter an enchanting Christmas wonderland with a hint of romance.

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