Bergbau und Bären Museum Schmelzra

Blei- und Silberbergwerk Val S-charl - Museum Schmelzra

Useful Information

Location: At S-charl, 13 km from Scuol.
(46.717698, 10.326222)
Open: Mid-JUN to mid-OCT Tue-Fri 14-17, Sun 14-17.
Fee: Adults CHF 5, Children CHF 3.
Groups (10+): Adults CHF 4.
Classification: MineLead Mine MineSilver Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Bergbau und Bären Museum Schmelzra, S-charl, 7550 Scuol, Tel: +41-81-864-8677.
Tourismus Engadin Scuol, Tel: +41-81-861-8800. 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.


12th century mining started.
1189 the bishops of Trient were the lords of the are and thus ownte the mining rights.
1208 the mining laws were written and stayed valid for centuries..
1317 Herzog Heinrich von Kärnten gave the mine to Knight Gebhard von Guarda, Albert à Porta, Konrad, and Friedrich von Planta.
1499 men from Scuol killed 200 Austrian miners.
16th century main mining period.
1618 mining ended.
1658 mining rights transferred to the village of Scuol.
1811 mining revived by Johannes Hitz from Klosters.
1829 mining finally ended.
1987 foundation Fundaziun Schmelzra S-charl established.
1997 Museum Schmelzra opened to the public.
1998 non-profit association Miniers da S-charl founded.


The main ore of the S-charl mine is galena, a silver and lead ore, and spalerite (locally called Zinkblende), a zinc sulfate. The mine was operative for centuries with its peak during the 16th century. But finally the mining was not profitable enough and ended. It was revived by Johannes Hitz from Klosters in 1811 and operated for almost two decades. The mining was not profitable, but many people from the valley were able to earn some money, which helped them to survive. About 50 kg of silver were produced every year during the early 1920s.

The Museum Schmelzra is located in the former administration building of the S-charl lead and silver mines. The basement and ground floor house a comprehensive mining exhibition. Silver and lead ore was mined by hand at Mot Madlain. The advance per day and per man was a few cm, but during three centuries a network of tunnels over 13 km long with 20 m deep shafts was created. The museum has a reconstructed mine gallery and visitors can put on helmet and headlamp and explore the mine. The original mine is not open as a show mine.

The mining exhibition has various sections, with many original objects of the time. An exhibition is dedicated to the formation of rocks in the region, minerals and geology. Casts of dinosaur tracks found in the Swiss National Park are also on display. There is an exhibition on the timber theft. But main topic is the work of the miners and the smelting.

The museum is also called Bergbau und Bären Museum (Mining and Bear Museum). The reason is a bear exhibition on the top floor, which was made by the Swiss National Park, the space was leased from the Schmelzra Foundation. The last bears in Switzerland lived in this valley. Within sight, the last original bear in Switzerland was shot in 1904. The Swiss National Park created the bear exhibition to prepare the population for a possible return of bears in 1997. The first bear which came to Switzerland was JJ2 alias Lumpaz in 2005, others have followed since then. The exhibition was supplemented in 2010 by the bear experience trail Senda da l'uors.