Historische Silbergruben Oberzeiring

Useful Information

Location: Oberzeiring (47°15'8.43"N, 14°29'11.29"E)
Open: JAN to APR Wed 16.
MAY to JUN daily 11, 13:45, 15.
JUL to AUG daily 9:45, 11, 13:45, 15, Wed 15 children tour.
SEP to OCT daily 11, 13:45, 15.
NOV to DEC Wed 16.
Or by appointment. [2011]
Fee: Adults EUR 8, Children (4-16) EUR 4.50, Children (0-3) not allowed, Family (2+1) EUR 16.
Groups (8+): Adults EUR 7. [2011]
Classification: MineSilver Mine MineBaryte Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=40,000 m.
Guided tours: D=50 min.
Address: Historische Silbergruben Oberzeiring, 8762 Oberzeiring, Tel: +43-3571-387.
Verkehrsverein Oberzeiring, Marktplatz 5, 8762 Oberzeiring, Tel: +43-3571-2378. E-mail: contact
Hr. Stuhlpfarrer, 8762 Oberzeiring, Tel. +43-676-9761455, E-mail: contact
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 early silver mining proved by archaeological evidence.
1279 Rudolph, the first Habsburgs emperor, visited Oberzeiring.
1284 right to mint their own coins granted.
14th century mining reached its peak.
1339 Zeyringer mining rules installed.
1361 mine flooded.
1365 Oberzeiring lost the right to mint their own coins.
1698 mining of some iron.
1783 iron mining by Freiherr Dr. von Kranz.
1832 iron mining continued by Family Neuper from Unterzeiring.
1885 iron mining ended.
1921 last try to pump the water by engineer Setz from Vienna.
1953 barite mining in the northern part of the mine.
1963 barite mining ended.
1957 Celtic urn-grave discovered in the centre of the village.
03-MAR-1958 show mine opened to the public.


The Historische Silbergruben Oberzeiring (Historic Silver Mines Oberzeiring) is a museum with a show mine. The museum has numerous mining exhibits like forming punches for minting, tools and vessels for mining, but also archaeological exhibits like the illyrian urn-grave from around 900 BC. There is a show mine and a tunnel for speleotherapy.

The silver mine at Oberzeiring was once the biggest silver mine in the eastern Alps. Right where the show mine is today, in the Piergrube, lies a lot called Freudental (Valley of Joy), named such because of the enormous amounts of silver. The dimensions are impressive: the mining area is 25 km long, the tunnels are more than 40 km long. The most important mine was right below the village Oberzeiring, covering an area of 2 km by 3 km and up to 100 m deep. This is a guess, the exact depth and size is unknown as the mine is flooded to 35 m below ground.

The heyday of local silver mining was in the first half of the 14th century. Starting with a visit by the first Habsburgs emperor Rudolph in 1279, the importance of the silver mines grew rapidly. During this time the town was bestowed the market rights, got a free zone of about 10 km², and various other privileges. The most important privileges were definitely the right to mint their own coins (1284) called Zeyringer Pfennig, and their own jurisdiction, a high-court with special judges and the Zeyringer mining rules.

But all this ended in 1361, when the miners hit a lead of ground water and the mine was flooded. According to a chronicle 1,400 miners drowned, which makes this one of the biggest mining catastrophes of all times. But the mine could not be drained again, and so silver mining came to a final end, which meant the total destruction of all privileges during the next decades. In 1365 the right to mint coins was lost, in 1663 the mining jurisdiction was abrogated and transferred to Eisenerz. The Habsburgs tried several times to drain the mine and get hold of the silver, others tried too, but until today it was impossible to lower the ground water table enough.

Later, in the mid 20th century, the mine was reopened to the northern side, where barite was mined. Barite is used for several industrial processes. The part of the ancient silver mine, which is still accessible was transformed into a show mine in the same time, in 1958. They also created a mining museum and an archaeological exhibition for the Illyrian grave which was discovered one year before. The museum and show mine have been renovated several times since then, in 2000 the biggest changes were necessary to apply the newest safety regulations for mines.

Also in 1958, another part of the mine was developed as a spa. It is used for the cure of respiratory diseases using the so-called speleotherapy. This part of the mine is now called Heilstollen Oberzeiring.