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Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří (Czechia)

Date of Submission: 25/09/2012
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of the Czech pepublic to UNESCO
Ref.: 5775
Other States Parties participating
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The Tentative Lists of States Parties are published by the World Heritage Centre at its website and/or in working documents in order to ensure transparency, access to information and to facilitate harmonization of Tentative Lists at regional and thematic levels.

The sole responsibility for the content of each Tentative List lies with the State Party concerned. The publication of the Tentative Lists does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the World Heritage Committee or of the World Heritage Centre or of the Secretariat of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.

Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


DE-01 Historical Mining District Altenberg N 50°45'51", E 13°45'39"

DE-02 Historical Mining District Freiberg N 50°55'12", E 13°20'32"

DE-03 Historical Mining District Marienberg N 50°39'3", E 13°9'53"

DE-04 Historical Mining District Annaberg N 50°34'46", E 13°0'11"

DE-05 Historical Mining District Schneeberg N 50°35'15", E 12°38'2"

DE-06 Historical Mining District Schwarzenberg N 50°32'14", E 12°47'14"

DE-07 Uranium Mining N 50°48'33", E 12°50'32"

DE-08 Coal Mining N 50°43'29“, E 12°43'46"

CZ-KA-01 Mining Landscape Jáchymov N 50°22'23", E 12°53'55"

CZ-KA-02 Mining Landscape Abertamy – Horní Blatná – Boží Dar N 50°25'18", E 12°49'57"

CZ-KA-03 The Red Tower of Death N 50°19'44", E 12°57'12"

CZ-US-01 Mining Landscape Krupka N 50°41'50", E 13°50'50"

CZ-US-02 Mining Landscape Měděnec – Kovářská N 50°25'43", E 13°4'8"

The transboundary serial nomination of 13 component parts is a large-scale example of a decentralised mining landscape in a Central European mountain region that lies in the southeast of Germany and extends to the Czech Republic – the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains).

The Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří illustrates the formative influence of mining and metallurgy on the development of the landscape and its culture in an exceptional way. For more than 800 years, from the 12th to the 21th century, the region was actively shaped by mining activities. First silver and tin ores and later other ores such as lead, iron, cobalt, nickel, uranium, bismuth, tungsten, and zinc were mined, smelted and partially processed. Based on mining and metallurgy, the “industrialization” of the region took place in different historical stages.

The component parts of the serial nomination are composed of carefully selected historical witnesses including protected mines and associated over- and underground ensembles, historically distinct landscape features such as pits, heaps, dewatering channels and reservoirs, mining towns and settlements, and other important social buildings related to mining towns and settlements. These witnesses are not limited to work process related issues but particularly include witnesses of the economic, scientific, cultural, and social influences of mining and metallurgy.

Together the component parts provide a lively comprehensive insight into all aspects of miner’s world.The component parts reflect also the transboundary nature of the Bohemian and Saxon Erzgebirge. The serial

property has to be understood as a geographical, historical and cultural unit illustrating both the mining activities and the interaction between two communities which shared a long common history. Mining and metallurgy had formed an important and worldwide recognised trade and economic region which is still today strongly influenced by its mining traditions. Especially the developments in the field of mining sciences and technologies contributed to the development of other mining regions in Europe and the World.

Description of the component part(s)

In accordance with the spatial distribution of the numerous significant historic mining districts and their specific features, the serial property Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří is represented by a selection of 13 significant separate component parts. The Saxon part will be represented by 8 individual component parts which are representing the layout of the six historical mining districts of the 19th century and the two historically important districts of uranium and coal mining of the 20th century. The Czech Republic is represented by 4 large-scale mining landscapes and a single monument.

The component parts cover a wide temporal and spatial range to fully illustrate the whole development process of the mining landscape and its culture. Each component part features a distinctive character that is composed of three attributes: time depth, diversity of mineral resources, and cultural facets. The cultural facets do not only include work process related issues but also the far-reaching influence of mining activities on seemingly distant areas of life. The individual component parts comprise all witnesses necessary to document their distinctive character on the basis of largely originally preserved valuable monuments and landscapes. Each selected component part represents a different chapter of the history. The individual components are of crucial importance to understand the development process of mining, its global importance and its formative influence from the 12th to the 21st century. They are of exceptional quality and diversity. Viewed as a whole, the components bear witness to the extent of the economic, social and cultural development of the entire mining region and its culture.

For example: The very beginning of the development of the mining landscape is illustrated by the mining district of Freiberg with the mining cities of Freiberg and Brand-Erbisdorf and the surrounding mining landscape. Here in 1168, the silver ore was found for the first time in the Ore Mountains, and the transformation process of the landscape started. The search for silver and other kinds of ore in the rich deposits of the Ore Mountains led to the colonization of the cross border mountain region from both the Saxon and the Bohemian side. During the 15th and 16th century this process reached the upper parts of the Ore Mountains and led to the foundation of a large number of mining cities like Schneeberg, Marienberg and Annaberg in Saxony or Jáchymov in Bohemia with their specific buildings and highly valuable architecture. These cities became centres of unique cultural, economic, technological and scientific development of the mining region in the following centuries. Many of these developments influenced other mining regions worldwide. The temporarily last mining period of the Erzgebirge in the late 20th century – represented by the nominated properties of the mining district Altenberg in the eastern part and in Chemnitz, Schlema, Hartenstein and Jáchymov in the western part of the region – was characterized by tin and uranium mining.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The transboundary serial nomination Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří is an exceptional testimony of a unique landscape and culture which was influenced and shaped by mining activities and their environmental, economic and social impacts. The nominated series represents a Central European economic and cultural unit that has continuously developed since the early Middle Ages. The outstanding universal value particularly results from the unique combination of three determining attributes: an unprecedented diversity of mineral resources, a continuous over 800 years lasting economic, social and cultural development in which mining played constantly a crucial role, as well as a wide spectrum of cultural facets which clearly illustrate all stages of this development. A coherent series of well-preserved monuments, ensembles and landscapes demonstrating different periods of mining, different technological levels as well as different cultural periods represents the development of this Central European mining region of worldwide importance. They do not only illustrate the tangible attributes but also the intangible values which together constitute the distinctive character of the landscape. The almost exclusive formation of the entire region by mining and metallurgy led to worldwide important scientific discoveries and subsequent introduction of many technical and technological innovations, which substantially influenced the worldwide development of mining sciences and contributed significantly to the development of other mining regions in Europe and the rest of the world. Of particular importance and so far unique on the world’s scale is the transboundary nature of the nominated property. The mining landscape allows a comprehensive insight into cross-border relations between two states since the 12th century and the visible effects of this interrelation. As a whole, the nominated serial property provides comprehensive knowledge about all aspects of a globally significant mining region and its culture.

Criterion (ii): The Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří exhibits an important interchange of human values in the field of mining. As a consequence of more than 800-years of mining activities, a cross-border cultural area between Saxony and Bohemia was created, which is characterized by a unprecedented density of systematically established mining cities and their special architecture, by the development of advanced mining and ore processing technologies, by its great influence on the development of mining- and geo-sciences as well as mining education worldwide, and by its contribution to the development of minting as well as of the currency systems in Europe and in the whole world. The serial property proves interchange and knowledge transfer from the Middle Ages till the 21th century. The influence of mining in the Ore Mountains is provable in a large number of mining centres worldwide.

Criterion (iii): The Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří is an outstanding witness of the development of a society which was crucially formed by mining industries. The component parts provide a comprehensive insight into the cultural traditions of a more than 800-year-old mining civilization, which are to a certain extent still alive today, and the working and living conditions of miners and their families. They do not only show a limited period of the development, but illustrate the continuous development of mining and the resulting impacts on society till today.

Criterion (iv): The Ore Mountains are characterized by a multitude of ore and other deposits containing a wide spectrum of mineral resources. Their extraction and processing led in the course of time to the emergence of different mining landscapes with specific types of buildings. These characteristic mining infrastructures illustrate the different ways of exploitation of diverse resources, as well as the development of distinctive technologies and the resulting change of the mining intensity. The technological ensembles and mining landscapes are testimonies of the worldwide important technical and scientific achievements made by mining experts in the Ore Mountains in different mining periods.

Criterion (v): The Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří is the result of a long-term formation of a spacious area by human activities, which were focused on ore mining and ore processing, closely connected with social, economic and administrative factors of mining and the way of dealing with the natural conditions of the region. The geological characteristics of the ore deposits have crucially determined the way of dealing with the nature in the work processes of mining and metallurgy. Depending on the level of development of mining technologies in specific time periods, the landscape has changed several times. The traces of these changes can be seen in the landscape till today and represent a source of our present-day knowledge of past mining periods. The component parts reflect the successive stages of the development of mining techniques as well as characteristic forms of mining towns and settlements, the specific land-use shaped by mining, and the evidence of human settlement in specific conditions of upland locations with its direct impacts on landscape and culture.

Criterion (vi): The Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří represents a region which is directly associated with the culture of an old mining territory as it is not only perceived in Europe but also elsewhere in the world. The serial property represents a mining region which is in a unique way tied to an identity shaped by long lasting and still ongoing mining. Over centuries these mining activities have generated specific artistic, literary and scientific works as well as unique traditions which are still alive and thoroughly maintained. The history of mining is still a defining part of the collective memory of the people in the region. The global impact of the serial property is further illustrated in the development of mining and geosciences which are tangibly linked to the founding of the first major international and still existing mining academy in the world – the Bergakademie Freiberg (1765). This university has for long served as a worldwide center of training of mining experts, which substantially increased the international scientific prestige of the region in the field of mining. The early scientific examinations made by scholars of the Freiberg Bergakademie led to a series of discoveries and developments in mining and metallurgy which were crucial for the development of modern mining sciences and geosciences. The Erzgebirge is worldwide considered as the cradle of mineralogy and geology as well as temporarily the leading training place for international mining experts. This is extraordinary illustrated by the work “De re metallica” (1556) of the Renaissance scholar Georgius Agricola whose work was mainly inspired by the mining culture of the Ore Mountains.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří is a continuing cultural landscape in which exceptional evidence of past mining activities has survived in a comprehensive way. It is composed of a series of component parts linked together by a common historical narrative. The component parts of the series including well-preserved remains of mining and mining-related activities were carefully selected so that they bear witness to all important milestones in the history of the nominated serial property and to its outstanding universal value. Each part illustrates a different combination of characteristic attributes and thus contributes to the understanding of the whole property. As a living landscape, some areas have experienced new developments, some buildings have been adapted for continued use and some buildings have disappeared in the course of time but the intactness of the landscape and the authenticity of the remaining structures are still outstanding. The areal extent and number of preserved historical mining infrastructure with authentic traces from medieval time onwards is exceptional. The serial property preserved a completely unique and authentic character with clearly evident remains of mining activities. The nominated properties of the series benefit from legal protection.

Justification of the selection of the component part(s) in relation to the future nomination as a whole

The spatial arrangement of deposits and historically significant mining areas in the Ore Mountains requires a serial approach. The 13 separate component parts are necessary to illustrate all important characteristics of the mining and cultural landscape in space and time. The nominated properties of the component parts reflect a distinctive combination of specific attributes. Their selection was made in such a way that they cover all a distinctive combination of these attributes and fulfil the criteria of authenticity and integrity. Each component part is telling a peculiar chapter of the origin and development of a coherent mining region. All component parts are culturally, historically, socially and functionally linked. The boundaries of the components were chosen so that the individual objects and ensembles which constitute the component parts display completely and sufficiently all values necessary for the justification of the outstanding universal value. The Mining Culture Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří thus represents a series of several carefully selected unique locations that cover historically the most significant landscape units and most valuable monuments.

Comparison with other similar properties

The comparison concentrates on the three attributes of the serial property – time depth, diversity of mineral resources and cultural facets – and their distinctive combinations which are characteristic for the individual component parts. It also takes into consideration the specific thematic features of the region like its transboundary nature, which is so far unique in the context of mining world heritage as well as the global influence of the region in the field of mining and geosciences.

Although there are some sites on the World Heritage and National Tentative lists directly associated with mining, most of these sites are not comparable with the nominated property because of their completely different time horizon and their belonging to a different geo-cultural area without any correlation to the Central European mining landscapes. The majority of the compared sites do not document the transformation of a landscape and the evolution of a culture strongly influenced by mining in such a coherent way like the nominated property. Although they document important aspects of mining, they hardly have a comparable range of attributes. The main attribute of most sites is based on a single aspect. Only a small selection of sites such as the network of mining installations in Goslar, Rammelsberg and the Upper Harz region has an almost similar complex approach with differing components. But they differ either in time-scale or in completeness still allowing only a limited insight into the complexity of a mining region.

To summarize, there is no comparable World Heritage Site or otherwise known property providing such a comprehensive insight into a miner´s world like the Mining Cultural Landscape Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří. The nominated serial property is not limited to the technological aspects but also covers social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects. The transformation process of a landscape exclusively formed by mining and its impacts on the environment can be traced here from the very beginning in the 12th up to the 21st century.