A Thousand Years of Mining: The Mines of Rammelsberg and The Historic Town of Goslar

Goslar began as a sleepy town located on the northwestern slopes of the mountains in central Germany. It began to develop as a mining town during the 10th century. This is the Frankenburg district with its rows of miners houses. Theres a clock in Markt Square in the town centre. A puppet show tells the story of the towns mining history. According to legend, in 968, a knight reached the foot of the mountain, his horse tapped its hoof on the ground. They dug the spot and discovered high quality deposits of silver.

Silver mining began by order of Emperor Henry II. It was one of the largest silver deposits in the world. Originally a strip-mine, mine workers gradually began cutting deeper into the ore, digging mineshafts. The biggest obstacle for mining in Rammelsberg was the huge quantity of underground water flooding into the shafts. A solution was found in 1250. A 10-meter wide water wheel was installed to pump out the underground water. The technological innovation brought further prosperity to the Rammelsberg mines. A statue of coins coming out of a man`s buttocks humorously depicts the town`s heavy production of silver coins.

Henry the Second built an imperial residence to protect and maintain the towns prosperity. The Imperial Assembly of the Holy Roman Empire was held at the palace from 1009 to 1219. Goslar flourished as an economic centre during those 200 years, producing silver coins widely accepted widely Europe. The mines of Rammelsberg were used for a thousand years. The last mine was closed in 1988. That ended a major chapter in the towns history.

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