Where to Go in Germany
“Tourists” – to paraphrase Napoleon – “from the heights of these buildings, ten centuries of industrial activity are looking down on you!”
Well, up to a point.
This is the old ore mine that Hitler used for his war efforts.
It is true that, when the Rammelsberg pit near Goslar in the Harz mountains of Northern Germany was closed in 1988, it was the oldest active mining operation anywhere in the world.
There are indications that precious metals from this old ore mine in Rammelsberg were extracted as far back as the 3rd century AD, and the first document that confirms the existence of a mine in this place dates from the year 968.
On the other hand, most of the structures that are visible above ground were only built in the 1930s to help in Hitler’s war efforts.
Still, some of the exhibits in the museum show you how local miners – hi-ho, hi-ho! – went to work in the 11th and 12th centuries.
Today, the whole place is a visitor’s centre which, in 1992, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some of the residential buildings in the adjoining streets tell you another but equally interesting story: one less concerned with “ten centuries of civilization” than with the more recent death of a community which, a little more than 20 years after the event, may already seem as distant as the Pharaohs.