Bergbaumuseum Maffeischächte

Useful Information

Location: Nitzlbuch 27, 91275 Auerbach.
A9 exit 9 Pegnitz, B470/85 to Auerbach, turn left at the end of the town.
(49.679499, 11.649373)
Open: MAY to OCT some Sun 13-18.
Fee: Adults EUR 4.50, Children (-18) EUR 3, Children (0-14) free, Students EUR 3.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 3,50.
Classification: MineIron Mine SubterraneaReplica Underground Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Carl-Diedrich Sattler, Peter Halbach (1998): Precipitation and alteration of late Cretaceous sedimentary apatites and siderites (Leonie Trough, Bavaria, Germany), Chemie der Erde - Geochemistry 58(3), August 1998, 197-218 online
Harald G. Dill, Berthold Weber, Stephan Kaufhold (2009): The origin of siderite-goethite-phosphate mineralization in the karst-related faultbound iron ore deposit Auerbach, Germany, a clue to the timing of hypogene and supergene Fe-Al phosphates in NE Bavaria, Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie - Abhandlungen 186(3), 283-307, October 2009. researchgate DOI pdf
Address: Förderverein Maffeispiele Auerbach eV., Postfach 1170, 91271 Auerbach, Tel: +49-9643-2049573, Fax: +49-9643-91168. E-mail:
Reservation, Tel: +49-9643-2433.
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.


1853 foundation of the Maxhütte iron works causes boom for mines.
1878 Auerbach mines supply the Maxhütte steelworks.
1903 cable car from the mines to Auerbach train station.
1904 sinking of the Maffei I and Maffei II shafts.
1906 iron ore extraction begins.
1968 four miners are buried but later rescued.
1978 Maffei-Schächte closed.
2003 Förderverein Maffeispiele founded.
2012 Schaustollenanlage (mine replica) built above ground.


The Cretaceous iron ore deposit is shaped like a diapir. With iron contents of about 47 %, this is the richest iron deposit in the Federal Republic of Germany. A total of 26 million tonnes of iron ore were mined, 16 million tonnes at the Maffei mine and 10 million tonnes at the Leonie mine. After closure, an estimated 20 million tonnes of iron ore remained in the deposit. Mining is not profitable at current world market prices.

The Auerbach iron deposit is known for exceptional minerals, especially iron ores. It is the only known locality of the rare mineral churchite-(Y) in Germany. It is also known under the obsolete name Weinschenkit ((Y,Er,La)[PO4]-2H2O).


The Bergbaumuseum Maffei-Schächte (Maffei Shafts Mining Museum) is located at the Auerbach-Nitzlbuch mine. Two headframes are still preserved here, the Maffei I and Maffei II shafts, which are the oldest of their kind in Bavaria. They are managed by the Maffeispiele Auerbach e.V. association and the Knappenverein (miners' association). In addition to the headframes, the site offers an artificial gallery with a mine railway, a mineral exhibition and various large-scale equipment.

The museum has a so-called Erlebnisschaustollenanlage (experience gallery), a kind of mine replica. It simulates a gallery, an overhead loader on rails shovels ore away from the site. The mine fan brings fresh air, called weather by the miner. Visitors are allowed to try out the compressed air-driven hammer drill, but the noise and strong vibration are not to everyone's taste.

The real highlight here, however, is the winding tower and the huge hall at its foot. Here you can marvel at the mining technology, there is a mineral exhibition with local ores, and various tools. In addition, the hall is so large that it is used for events. The facilities can be visited with a smartphone; information pillars with QR codes allow explanations to be downloaded from the internet at ten points. The large-scale equipment on the outdoor grounds is also fascinating. There is also a mine train that runs around the mine site, but that is probably more for children.

The mine is called the Grube Nitzlbuch (Nitzlbuch pit), but the shafts are called Doppelschachtanlage Maffei (Maffei double shaft system). It was named after Dr. Hugo Ritter von Maffei, the chairman of the supervisory board of the Maxhütte from 1882 to 1921. 16 million tonnes of iron ore were extracted during the operating period, mainly brown ore and white ore.

The Maffei shafts have been almost spared from mining accidents, there was only one. In 1968, four miners were buried, but they were freed. At that time, people spoke of the "Miracle of Maffei". This was probably based on the spectacular rescue at Lengede mine in January of the same year, which went down in the media as the "Miracle of Lengede" and entered German mining history. The incident at Maffei, on the other hand, was quite harmless and only gained local notoriety.