Unterirdisches Zeitz


Useful Information

Location: Altmarkt 21, 06712 Zeitz (51.049697, 12.134760)
Open: All year Sat, Sun, Hol 10-16.
Last guided tour 30 minutes before closing.
[2020]
Fee: Adults EUR 5.50, Childrem (0-16) EUR 3.
[2020]
Classification: SubterraneaCellar SubterraneaWorld War II Bunker
Light: electric
Dimension: L=700m, T=12°C, H=90-95%.
Guided tours: L=700m, D=45min. V=10.000/a [2010]
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Interessengemeinschaft "Unterirdisches Zeitz" e.V., Altmarkt 21, 06712 Zeitz, Tel.: +49-3441-212722, Fax: +49-3441-215928. 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.

History

14th-16th century Construction of most of the basements.
19-JUN-1992 first corridor section opened to the public.
1993 second corridor section opened.
1999 third corridor section opened.

Description

The Zeitzer Unterwelt (Underground of Zeitz) consists of a large number of beer cellars from the Middle Ages. Everyone who had the relatively soft red sandstone under his house dug a cellar to store food, but especially beer, in a cool place. In the Middle Ages beer had a much more important meaning as food than today. In particular, uncontaminated drinking water was hard to get in the city and it was like gambling, intestinal diseases were widespread. Therefore beer was drunken instead of water, the thin beer was heated during the brewing process, the fermentation yeasts took care of many bacteria, and finally the beer had a built-in safety mechanism: if it was bacterially contaminated, it turned sour. Nevertheless, beer could only be produced by hand, and the number of breweries in each city was correspondingly large.

Especially in the 15th and 16th century the brewing trade in the town of Zeitz was booming. At that time the brewing tax was one of the most important sources of income for the town. Between September and April the young beer was brewed in numerous breweries. This was then brought in wooden vessels to the houses in the town which were entitled to brew beer and stored in the cellar vaults to mature.

Most of the cellars under Zeitz date from this period. But in the course of time they lost their importance and from the 19th century onwards the small breweries closed down and were replaced by large breweries with industrial brewing methods. The cellars were therefore only used for the storage of food by the inhabitants of the houses.

The cellars reach depths between 6m and 12m. The deepest cellars were connected to create air-raid shelters during the Second World War. They were equipped with benches and the entrances were signposted, but the most important change was actually the connection of the cellars with each other. This allowed the occupants to leave the bunker even if the building had collapsed over an entrance.

One of the cellar systems with a total length of 700m was built by the association IG. Unterirdisches Zeitz and made accessible to the public. It was cleaned and secured with great effort, a trail was created and electric light was installed. At times 1,000 volunteers were at work. Since the completion of the cellar tour, the cellar has been cared for and maintained by the association and regular guided tours are offered.