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The Samson Mine, located in Sankt Andreasberg, is counted among the most significant mining monuments in Europe. From 1521 until 1910, silver ore in particular was mined here. For many years, the Samson Mine was one of the world’s deepest. It is also home to the man engine known as the Fahrkunst, which is still in operation and is now recognized as an international machine monument. Equally impressive are the two water wheels - the reversible overshot wheel from 1820, which is 9 m high, and the pump wheel, which stands 12 metres tall and is driven by water during the tour, just as it was centuries ago.
The building complex as we know it today is the last completely preserved mine from the historical mining of the Upper Harz region. Since 2010, the Samson Mine has formed part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site encompassing the mine at Rammelsberg, the Old Town of Goslar and the Upper Harz Water Management System.
Virtual 360-Degree-Tour of the Mine
To start, simply click on the picture.
A tour of the Samson Mine always ends with a visit to the adjacent museum. Here you will gain additional insight into historical mining and ore dressing, as well as the working and living conditions of miners and their families in the Bergstaat or state of mines. Our models, some of which are more than 100 years old, are true gems. They impressively demonstrate the technical installations and functional principles at work in the Samson Mine.
The minerals that comprise the world-famous “treasure chest” of St. Andreasberg are particularly remarkable. Further rock samples, information on the geology of the Harz and a landscape model round out the visit. We may be an historical museum, but our visitors enjoy concepts and objects, for there is much to discover.
The Samson Mine is also home to the Harz Roller Museum, the only one of its kind internationally. Here, you will see and hear how these canaries are taught to sing and the important role they have played throughout the world as warning birds in the mining industry. You will learn about the breeding of these birds, the production of cages and the sale of the canaries as far away as North America. The museum illustrates the great significance of bird breeding for Harz mining families in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Moreover, we have an exhibition room with extensive information about the breeding and keeping of chaffinches. These birds perform in the famous Finch Manoeuvres. Did you know that in 2014, UNESCO declared the tradition of the Harz Finch Manoeuvres an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity?
This mine, which is located opposite the Samson Mine, was in operation well before 1575; its narrow, crooked extraction area makes it particularly authentic.
Today, a visit to the Catharina-Neufang mine is an exciting trip through time. Along with the historical mining techniques featuring hammer and pick work, a modern hammer drill driven by compressed air is shown in operation. The highlight is an open, completely mined ore crevice that is around 240 m deep.
The Samson Mine is part of the Upper Harz Water Management System, which was declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2010. The Upper Harz Water Management System is also called "Water Regale". It is the third component of the Cultural Heritage Site which has existed since 1992, encompassing the Rammelsberg mine and the Old Town of Goslar.
This system of ponds, ditches, mines and adits forms the world’s largest energy system from pre-industrial times. Water was used to load water wheels, drive pumps, move ore bins and transport miners. Today, you can experience this Cultural Heritage Site both above and below ground on various tours and walks.
More information is available here.
The TRAFO program is an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. From 2016 until 2023, the Foundation will provide long-term support to regional cultural sites and programs and accompany them on their first steps towards the future.
In the regions of Oderbruch, South Lower Saxony, Saarpfalz and the Swabian Jura, all of which are participating in the initiative, models and approaches are being tested in order to make smaller institutions in rural areas more attractive and viable for the future. One of the most important questions to emerge is: how can cultural institutions open themselves up to new tasks, content and cooperative efforts at the local level?
Finding answers to this question is taking place in conjunction with citizens and schools, as well as local associations and companies, who as experts concerning their respective home regions can take part in decision-making about what they expect from their cultural institutions and what should happen there in the future.
Further information about all TRAFO projects currently underway in Germany is available on the TRAFO-Homepage.