Besucherbergwerk Zinnwald

Besucherbergwerk "Vereinigt Zwitterfeld zu Zinnwald"

Useful Information

Location: South of Dresden close to the Czech border. From B170 (E 55) Dresden-Prag turn off at Zinnwald-Georgenfeld towards Geising. Signposted "Parkplatz Besucherbergwerk".
(50.741022, 13.766060)
Open: All year Wed-Sat 10:30, 12, 13:30, 15.
Fee: Adults EUR 9, Children (6-16) EUR 6, School Pupils EUR 6, Students EUR 6, Disabled EUR 6, Families (2+*) EUR 24.
Groups (15+): School Pupils EUR 4.50.
Classification: MineTin Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: T=8 °C
Guided tours: D=90 min, max. 30 persons
Accessibility: yes
Address: Besucherbergwerk "Vereinigt Zwitterfeld zu Zinnwald", OT Zinnwald Georgenfeld, Goetheweg 8, 01773 Altenberg, Tel: +49-35056-31344, Fax: +49-35056-23278- 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.


1754 visited by Fr. A. von Heynitz.
1791 visited by Alexander von Humboldt.
1813 visited by J. W. von Goethe.
1846 Beginning of the mining of wolframite.
1890 Start of mining of lithium mica.
1917 Large mining forge built.
1945 Mining on German side ends.
1990 Municipality of Zinnwald-Georgenfeld decides to have the technical monuments with the colliery house and the miners' forge restored as a visitor mine.
NOV-1990 Mining on the Czech side stopped.
18-JUN-1992 Tiefer Bünau Stollen is opened as a visitor mine.


The subsoil in the vicinity of Zinnwald consists of granite, quartz and granite porphyry as well as basalt. Due to fracture tectonics during the Variscan mountain building around 300 million years ago, volcanic-magmatic phenomena occurred and ore deposits were formed in all these rocks except the basalt. The ores are diverse, but the tin deposits were particularly important for the economy. This is where the name Zinnwald (Tin Forest) comes from. They were formed along a pre-existing deep fault that was reactivated in the Upper Carboniferous (310Ma). This resulted in lava outpouring of the Teplitz quartz porphyry. The surface of the earth, which consisted of gneiss and phyllite, was overlain by a porphyry layer. A granite body, the Zinnwald granite, penetrated into this in the Lower Rotliegende (280Ma). The formation of the ores is a result of the gradual cooling of the lava.

In the so-called pneumatolytic phase, gases and vapours enriched with metal compounds were released. The metals were deposited in the surrounding rock as oxides, especially tin oxide. These ores are called Zwitter by the miner, and the mass deposits Zwitterstock. They also precipitated in rock fissures and formed tin veins. In veins, the tin content is higher, but the recoverable ore quantities are smaller. The Zinnwald veins are closely stacked and were called "seams" by the miners because of their almost horizontal orientation. Mining targeted both, the Zwitterstöcke and the ore veins.

The ores contained, among other things, tungsten, for which no use was known for centuries. It was not until the middle of the 19th century that people learned to use tungsten to produce particularly hard tungsten steel. Around 1846, mining of wolframite began in Zinnwald. From 1890, lithium mica was mined, which is used to alloy aluminium for aircraft construction.

The mine was also the source of various minerals. Cassiterite, wolframite, and Zinnwaldite with quartz are quite common on the veins.


In Zinnwald, interested visitors will find the Vereinigt Zwitterfeld visitor mine and the Huthaus mining museum. The name of the show mine is easily explained by the geology of the area; Zwitter is simply the mining name for the tin mineralisation prevalent here. In the heyday of mining, the border between Germany and Bohemia was more permeable than in later times. In fact, today's border between Germany and the Czech Republic, goes right through the middle of the village. The German part is called Zinnwald, the Czech Cínovec. This is also how mining was carried out on both sides. The inevitably created underground connecting routes between Saxony and Bohemia also proved at times to be suitable routes for paschen, smuggling. Today, the two parts of the Ore Mountains are united, at least for the UNESCO WHL list. These days, one notices little of the Schengen internal border, unless refugees or Covid-19 are threatening.

Mining began in the middle of the 15th century. How it came about is told in the following legend.

The Shaft of the Three Wondrous Heads in Zinnwald

In Graupen, three brothers once ran an extensive mine as their own labourers and became wealthy. However, the sudden disappearance of the ore vein required high and unfortunately fruitless expenditures, so that the wealth disappeared. Then one night the mountain spirit appeared to all three brothers in a dream and told them to give up their futile efforts and to go on their way towards midnight, where they would be richly rewarded. They followed the advice. When they had walked a few hours, they found Zwitter standing in the dense forest. They argued back and forth whether this was the right place to strike or whether it would be advisable to go on. When they couldn't make up their minds, the mountain spirit suddenly reappeared as a mountain gnome, said only: "But you are three wondrous heads" and then disappeared again. The three brothers now knew what they had to do; they struck a blow and had rich pickings. They called the shaft "Zu drei Wunderköpfen" (To Three Wondrous Heads).

It was the first shaft in the Zinnwald mining district; it still exists today and is called the "Köpfenschacht" for short. These three men were the founders of Zinnwald, as other miners from Graupen soon arrived because of the great tin wealth. They called their settlement "Der Zinnwald" because the whole forest was rich in tin. According to an old report, the Zwitter contained so much tin that if you threw a stone at a cow in the meadow, it was more valuable than the cow.

According to Wächter.

The first written mention of mining refers to the Bohemian part of the deposit. The largest part of the camp is also located on this side. On the Saxon side, tin ore mining did not begin until the second half of the 16th century, more than a century later. Until the middle of the 19th century, mining was limited to the extraction of tin ore.

The Zinnwald mine was under the control of the Lauenstein landlords, who owned the lower mining rights and maintained vassal mines like the one in Neugeising. From 1464 to 1490, the Lauenstein dominion belonged to Hans Müntzer and from 1490 to 1505 to Stephan Alnpeck. Both were members of Freiberg council families and were particularly involved in the Altenberg mining industry. From 1517 to 1821, most of the profits from mining in Zinnwald went to the von Bünau family at Lauenstein Castle.