Drei Kronen & Ehrt

Useful Information

Map of the show mine. Drei Kronen & Ehrt, Germany.
Location: Elbingerode.
(51.76428500049511, 10.8252817981504)
Open: closed.
Fee: closed.
Classification: MineIron Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=90 min, Min=4 persons.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Besucherbergwerk "Drei Kronen & Ehrt", Mühlental 13, 38875 Elbingerode.
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.


10th century Beginning of mining at the Großer Graben (Great Ditch).
1293 The monks of Michaelstein Monastery receive the mining right in the Kalten Tal.
1582 Großer Graben first mentioned in a document.
1867-1871 Gräflicher Stollen excavated to drain the 40 m deep pit.
1887 Oberer Mühlentalstollen excavated.
1890 Gräflicher Stollen renamed Fürstlicher Stollen.
1913 Meyersche Grubenfelder are taken over by the Harzer Werke AG zu Rübeland und Zorge.
1914 pit fields around the Großer Graben renamed Drei Kronen & Ehrt.
1926 mining stopped.
1937 reopening of Drei Kronen & Ehrt and sinking of the main shaft in preparation for war.
1940 start of pyrite mining.
18-APR-1945 pit shut down again.
DEC-1945 mine reopened.
1951 renaming of the Drei Kronen & Ehrt mine to VEB Schwefelkiesgrube Einheit.
1956 affiliation of the mine to the VEB Harzer Eisenerzgruben Hüttenrode.
1959 beginning of the central shaft construction.
1990 foundation of the Harz-Bergbau GmbH.
31-JUL-1990 mining stopped due to unprofitability.
1990 non profit association for the transformation into a show mine founded by former miners.
1991 start of the restoration work by former miners within the framework of an ABM (unemployment subvention).
1993 mine taken over by the GVV Sondershausen.
01-JUL-1994 opened to the public as a show mine.
2009 "Förderverein Besucherbergwerk Drei Kronen & Ehrt e.V." decides to dissolve and dismiss all employees.
2010 managed by the newly founded town of Oberharz am Brocken, limited tours.
30-APR-2011 limited tours ended, start of numerous conversions and renovation works.
31-MAR-2012 reopened with four guided tours daily.
03-DEC-2012 defects in the electrical system, visitor traffic stopped for safety reasons.
19-OCT-2013 operations resumed with 3 staff members.
02-NOV-2015 lease not renewed by LMBV, show mine finally shut down.


The hydrothermal mineralisation is bound to Devonian reef limestones of the Elbingerode complex. Hydrothermal mineralisations are always polymetallic, but here primarily iron ore was deposited. The main ore is pyrite (FeS2), but there is also some hematite and manganese. The pyrite was used mainly for the chemical industry, especially for the production of sulfuric acid.


Mine train with group of visitors leaving the show mine.
The entrance to the mine.

The former show mine Drei Kronen und Ehrt has been closed since 2015. Since then, the underground equipment has been completely dismantled. This was followed by the safekeeping of the still accessible parts of the first level and the show mine in order to prevent the outflow of mining-influenced water from the mine workings. The closure and subsequent safekeeping is intended to avoid further costs for the federal government. In other words, the show mine no longer exists.

The large former iron ore and pyrite mine Drei Kronen und Ehrt is located on the B27 between Rübeland and Elbingerode. It is also known under the names Grube Himmelsfürst as well as Grube Einheit. However, as these names were often used, the place Elbingerode must be given to avoid confusion.

Mining began in the Groß Graben as early as the 10th century; the right to mine in the Cold Valley was granted to Michaelstein Monastery in 1293, that much is documented. However, this deposit was first mentioned in a document in 1582 under the name Großer Graben. Mining progressed, important expansions were the two solution tunnels Gräflicher Stollen (1867-1871) and Oberer Mühlentalstollen (1887). After the mining district was taken over by the Harzer Werke AG zu Rübeland und Zorge in 1914, the mine was renamed Drei Kronen & Ehrt. However, mining ended in 1926, apparently the mining was no longer profitable. Nevertheless, it was reactivated twice for political reasons. The first time by the National Socialists, who reopened mines that made no economic sense in preparation for the Second World War. Mining did not start until 1940, after a new shaft had been sunk, and ended before the end of the district. But in the same year it was reactivated to meet the enormous demand for iron for the reconstruction. Due to its location in the former GDR, it was not affected by the steel crisis and continued to mine iron until reunification. The question of whether this made economic sense did not arise under real existing socialism.

With the economic union of east and west Germany, however, this ceased to be the case and the mine, like many others, was closed. At the same time, however, a group of miners formed a non-profit association to preserve the mine as a show mine. As part of a job creation scheme, the show mine was set up by former miners and the first guided tours took place as early as 1993. In 1994, the mine was finally officially opened and operated successfully for 15 years. In 2009, however, the "Förderverein Besucherbergwerk Drei Kronen & Ehrt e.V." decided to dissolve and dismiss all employees. The Harz region has 13 show mines in a very small area, and the declining number of visitors over the years and the high costs of operating the mine railway were causing problems. The newly founded town of Oberharz am Brocken took over the show mine for some time, and a limited number of guided tours was offered. After numerous alterations and renovation work, four guided tours a day are offered again in 2012. But in the same year, there were malfunctions in the electrical system and tours were suspended again for safety reasons. Again renovation work was carried out and the mine was reopened nine months later. But after two more years, the show mine was finally closed for good. The administrator, the Lausitzer und Mitteldeutsche Bergbau-Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH (LMBV), which manages the old mines in central Germany on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany, had refused the extension of the lease.