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Ferienstrasse Silberstrasse e.V.
Bergstrasse 22
08301 Schlema

Saxon Silver Mines Route
Silver treasures from the Erzgebirge mountains

The visitor mine in Pobershau

Europe's largest open-air museum welcomes you with a hearty "Glück auf!" (Good luck!), the traditional miner's greeting. Saxony was once the richest region in the Holy Roman Empire. One of its rulers was even called Otto the Rich (1156-1190). The Silver Mines Route, Saxony's first signposted scenic route, runs for approx. 230km starting in Zwickau, the town where Trabant cars were once made and ends in Dresden, where the silver filled the treasure chambers and came to be a measure of wealth. Ore-mining has always brought wealth to the region and also allowed its culture to blossom. Towns such as Freiberg, Schneeberg, Marienberg and Annaberg were cultural and commercial centres of influence. Huge churches dominate the towns and are still the most prominent features on their skylines.

Woodturner crafting a wooden animal

Heritage is important to the region, and is what makes it stand out. During the Middle Ages, it was primarily silver mining in neighbouring Schneeberg - together with cloth weaving - that was responsible for bringing prosperity to the people of Zwickau. The once very extensive silver ore deposits in the Erzgebirge (Ore) mountains have long been sealed. However, the old miners' saying, "The mine is the source of everything", still holds true today, 500 years after silver ore mining began here. The Erzgebirge mountains are among the most important mining regions in Germany and still have a strong impact on many areas of life. For instance, the preservation of mining traditions is attracting increasing numbers of tourists. The Silver Mines Route, which runs like a silver thread through the picturesque Erzgebirge mountains, is liberally blessed with art treasures - sacred and secular - and with churches, cathedrals and traditional parades. And it is not only around Christmas time that visitors can experience the unique local arts of woodcraft and woodturning, toy-making, wood carving and bobbin lacemaking. Special craft skills that originated here are to be found nowhere else in the world, such as Reifendrehen (carving toy animals from wooden hoops) and Spanbäumchen-Stechen (carving wooden trees with intricate curly branches). Wood carvers and lacemakers can be watched at work in demonstration workshops. The Erzgebirge is affectionately known as "Christmas land" or "toy land". As well as wooden toys, many other traditional craft items are made here, such as the ever-popular "angel of light" Christmas window decorations, nutcrackers, "smoking men" incense burners, nativity scenes and Christmas pyramids.

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Basic information

  • Length
  • Themes
    Countryside, mining, culture, architecture, history

Highlights in brief

  • Zwickau
    Educational mining trail, museum
  • Aue
    Vestenburg tunnel, home of "FC Erzgebirge Aue"
  • Annaberg-Buchholz
    Home of the arithmetician Adam Riese, visitor mine, museum
  • Ehrenfriedersdorf
    Mineralogical Museum, precious stone cutting workshop, visitor mine, 'health mine'
  • Geyer
    Augustusburg Palace
  • Schlettau
  • Olbernhau
    Saigerhütte mining heritage centre
  • Seiffen
    Toy museum
  • Frauenstein
    Gottfried Silbermann Museum
  • Dresden
    Green Vault, Zwinger Palace, Semper Opera House