Mining in the Harz Mountains

Learn all about the history of mining in the Harz Mountains and visit historic tunnels, silver mines and visitor mines in the Harz! Nowhere else can you experience the history of mining as comprehensively - but also as fascinatingly alive - as in the Oberharz. Families with children in particular will be thrilled by visiting, entering and trying out the numerous mining attractions in the Harz Mountains. The Oberharz was once one of the most important mining districts in Germany. Iron, lead, copper and silver were the main minerals extracted. In the period from the 16th to the 19th century, around 40-50% of the silver mined in Germany came from the Oberharz.

As mining was a lucrative business in the Oberharz at this time, large investments were made in the region, which resulted in exciting inventions. For example, the art of travelling, which was used by miners for a long time to travel down a mine shaft. Even today, the world's last preserved original travelling mechanism can be seen in the Samson Mine mine in Sankt Andreasberg. Embark on an exciting journey of discovery and explore the mining history of the Oberharz.

Ottiliae shaft and historic day conveyor railway

The steel headframe of the Ottiliae shaft is considered to be the oldest in Germany and, together with the functioning winding machine, provides unique evidence of industrial history. The shaft was once used to transport ore from the Clausthal-Zellerfeld mines underground on barges. You can still travel to the Ottilae shaft from the old railway station in Clausthal-Zellerfeld on the historic day railway, affectionately known as the Otti-Bahn.

Otti railway Ottiliae shaft Oberharz mining
©Markus Tiemann

Oberharz Mining Museum

In the Oberharz Mining Museum you can learn a lot about the development of ore mining from the Middle Ages to the end of the 20th century. Let yourself be impressed by the vivid presentation of mining history.


Mining Museum Bergbau Oberharz

19-Lachter gallery

The 19-Lachter gallery in Wildemann is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lachter is the name for an old miner's measure. The tunnel was completed in the 17th century and was used to drain groundwater from the higher ore mines.


19-Lachter-Stollen Mining Oberharz
©GLC | Katharina Dundler

World Heritage Information Centre

The exhibition area of the World Heritage Information Centre in Clausthal Zellerfeld covers almost 200 square metres. Here, visitors are given an overview of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Rammelsberg Mine, Goslar Old Town and Upper Harz Water Management". A 3D landscape model with video projection also illustrates the process of change in the 3,000-year-old cultural landscape in the western Harz Mountains.

World Heritage Info Centre Mining Upper Harz
©Kurbetriebsgesellschaft Die Oberharzer mbh

Mining in the neighbourhood

Silver, lead, copper and, most recently, zinc were mined in the Oberharz. The towns of Sankt Andreasberg, Goslar, Lauthenthal and Bad Grund in the surrounding area are also known for their mining.

Mining Upper Harz
©Kurbetriebsgesellschaft Die Oberharzer mbh