Bergbaumuseum Röhrigschacht

Useful Information

Location: In Wettelrode, 5 km north of Sangerhausen.
Open: Museum: JAN to MAY Wed-Sun 9:30-17, last entry 16.
JUN to AUG Tue-Sun 9:30-17, last entry 16.
SEP to DEC Wed-Sun 9:30-17, last entry 16.
Seilfahrten (elevator lifts aka tours): 10, 11:15, 12:30, 13:45, 15.
Fee: Museum: Adults EUR 2.50, Children (5-14) EUR 1.50.
Museum and mine: Adults EUR 10, Children (5-14) EUR 5, Family (2+2) EUR 25.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 8.
Classification: MineCopper Mine SpeleologyKarst cave Speleologygypsum cave,
Light: miners lamps
Guided tours: VR=283 m, L=1,000 m on mine train. D=75 min.
Address: Bergbaumuseum Röhrigschacht, 06528 Wettelrode, Tel: +49-3464-587816, Fax: +49-3464-582768.
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.


~1200 start of mining activities in this area.
1452 first mentioned.
1618-1648 during the 30 years war the mining activities stopped completely.
1675 the closed mines were reopened.
1825 the Mansfelder Gewerkschaft started to buy mines and modernize them.
1830 Segen Gottest Stollen started.
01-OCT-1885 mining ended.
1922-1930 exploration of the deposits without result.
1951 used for air supply of the Sangerhausen mine.
10-AUG-1990 mining ended.
19-MAR-1991 museum and show mine opened.


The copper mining activities of Thuringia are based on a 30 to 35 cm thick layer of schist, which contains a rather low amount of copper. But this copper was rather easy to access and it was possible to process since the early Middle Ages. So mining has a very long tradition and many mines and caves in this area have a historic connection to this copper schist.

At the end of the locally so called Rotliegendes (Cisuralian, Early Permian) the area was submerged and became a shallow sea. During the Zechstein huge layers of gypsum were deposited from a shallow sea in an arid climate. The water evaporated and the gypsum, which was dissolved in the water, remained. But during a short period of time, in between, a rather thin layer of clay, limestone and coal was deposited, the so called Kupferschiefer. All those German names are a result of early German mining history. Kupferschiefer translates copper schist, which is easy to understand. Rotliegendes translates red lying, named so because it was red and lying below the ore. Zechstein or mine rock was the material above the ore, and the miners had to mine through to reach the ore.

The copper schist is typically covered by three to four km of sedimentary rocks, all over northern Europe. But during the Cretacious the RegionHarz Mountains were formed by an uplift, which forced a way through all those layers. Around the Harz, the layers were uplifted too, sometimes even inclined, slanted and turned over. And so the copper layer was reaching the surface all around the Harz and was accessible to medieval miners in open cast mines. During time the mines followed the dropping copper ore away from the Harz, and open cast mining was replace by deep mining techniques. This mine was a rather young one, with its heyday during the 19th century.


This is a real underground mine tour, the visitors are equipped with helmet, miners lamp, and cape. Then an elevator brings them 300 m deep to level one. Here a 800 m long mine train ride and some walking follows. The tour is rather impressive and gives insight into nearly 800 years of mining history.

The tour is completed by a museum with miners tools, minerals and fossils, as the copper schist contains a lot of fossils. The steel mine head is one of the oldest in Europe, completed by a hauling engine from 1922. Other machinery, a reconstruction of an adit and a mining trail to the oldest remains of mining, some opencast mines, are also part of this mining museum.