Visited the abandoned silver/copper/barite mine in Hallwangen, 72280 Germany. It’s a rather interesting one as it dates back to #medieval times and is still excavated by voluntary workers. The earliest record found dates back to 12C and the upper mining gallery “Himmlisch Heer” shows markings that are the result of hand tools while the second gallery “Irmgardsglück” has holes for explosives drilled with machines powered by compressed air. That part also has wider tunnels while the upper part is mostly crawl spaces.
The mine was abandoned and reopened several times for different reasons. The last activity was in 1912 and some stuff like an old rail for push carts and parts of electric installations can still be seen to this day.
I liked especially that we were allowed to walk through the mine at our own pace. I remember a visit to another mine where we were ushered along so fast that the children had trouble keeping up. Not so in this case. Our guide was very friendly and described everything in an exciting way so the children would even pay attention 😀
Speaking of, the guide noticed my interest in the medieval part of the mine and recommended me the De Re Metallica (yes, like the band 🤘) by Georg Agricola, which is apparently a treasure drove on historic mining operations (and myths) and lucky me: A translation in English is available on Project Gutenberg (as well as the original Latin text) – figures included.
I can totally recommend a tour. We got to see a lot of interesting stuff packaged with fascinating stories and explanations. Been to some mines in my life already but seldom did I get to see so many details in such tiny tunnels. Granted, most mines were rather modern and huge drilled exclusively with modern machines.
If you visit don’t forget to greet the tunnel at the entrance with the classic “Glück auf!” shout of the local miners for safe passage and fortune.