Who needs Egypt? On the Nile, you go to jail if you climb the pyramids. In the Mansfeld region, however, there are even public tours of the Mansfeld pyramids. The slagheaps in the Mansfeld region are not normally open to the public, but they are opened for guided tours every now and then. This way you can legally enjoy the view from the Mansfeld slagheaps. And these pyramids are even higher than the pharaonic tombs in Egypt.
Mansfeld slagheaps – Luther’s family already had a slagheap
The Mansfeld slagheaps were created over centuries, because mining in the region has existed since the Middle Ages. The father of the reformator Martin Luther is also said to have been a miner. Visitors can therefore also visit the slag heap of the Luther family near Wimmelburg. It is said to be the oldest surviving testimony to the mining and smelting tradition in the region.
Artificial volcanic eruptions – every night
Basically, however, each of the towns in the Mansfeld region has at least one slag heap nearby. Even from my old childhood bedroom you can look down on a slag heap – until 1990, hot slag even flowed down the slopes here. For this purpose, a train with cars from the nearby smelting works drove to the edge. Then the hot rock was simply dumped and made its way down. It looked like a small volcanic eruption. Take a look at the Youtube video so you can see what I mean.
Mansfeld Pyramids – the giants among the slagheaps
Today, millions of cubic meters of rock are piled up here to form the Mansfeld pyramids. These include, above all, the slag heap of the Fortschritt mine (or Wolf mine) near Volkstedt in the vicinity of Eisleben, the Thälmann mine near Siersleben and the Otto Brosowski mine near Augsdorf. Some also include the Thomas Müntzer mine (originally misspelled without a T) near Sangerhausen. The “Hohe Linde” slagheap is often neglected, especially by the people from Eisleben, although it is the second highest after the one of “Fortschritt” mine. Therefore, we dedicate a separate paragraph to the Hohe Linde.
Climbing the Mansfeld slagheaps
For the slagheaps in the Mansfeld mining area, thanks to the work of the associations of the miners and their friends, there are several times a year when you can climb the slagheaps. Therefore, we would like to briefly introduce you to the most important slagheaps.
Slagheap of the Fortschritt mine near Volkstedt
The slagheap of the Fortschritt (German for progress) mine tops everything with its 153 meters. You can climb this slag heap about once a year – and legally, too. There are hundreds of hikers, brass band music and a detailed briefing. Normally it is forbidden to enter the slagheaps. They are owned by the Lausitzer und Mitteldeutsche Bergbau-Verwaltungsgesellschaft, a regional mining company. The rocks can slide and accidents can happen. Nevertheless, there are actually no real barriers that could seriously prevent someone from climbing the tailings piles.
Slagheap of the Ernst-Thälmann mine near Siersleben
I also have my favorite among the Mansfeld slagheaps. If I have to pick a slagheap, it’s the one at the Ernst Thälmann mine near Siersleben. At 130 meters, it is not the highest of the Mansfeld slagheaps. But it is the secret star. There is a summit cross at the top of the slag heap. This already symbolizes: You have made it. From up here, you can see not only the nearby surroundings. The Brocken is also clearly visible, as are the Buna chemical plants and all the other slagheaps in the area – even the potash slagheap at Teutschenthal.
High art on the slagheap
And there is the artwork “Lichtauge” (Eye of Light) by the artist Rosemarie Ullrich. Originally, a key fit into the notch, but it has since been removed. Just like the summit book on the cross. Apparently it has been stolen several times, because visitors are instructed to please leave the summit book, which has disappeared again in the meantime, in its place. The key to the Lichtauge is now on the Maut AG premises next to the slag heap. By the way, the slag heap also belongs to their property, which is why the ascent is officially forbidden. So I advise everyone not to visit the slagheap apart from the unfortunately very rare organized ascents.
Otto Brosowski mine waste rock pile near Augsdorf
The Otto Brosowski mine was once the deepest in the Mansfeld Basin. Miners extracted Mansfeld copper here 830 meters below ground. The dump, however, did not grow to be the largest in the Mansfeld region. With a height of “only” 104 meters, it is even the smallest of the Mansfeld pyramids. But that is still a lot. There are also guided tours of the slag heap on this peak.
Hohe Linde slagheap near Sangerhausen
The view from the Hohe Linde slagheap near Sangerhausen should hardly be less spectacular than from the other slag heaps. At 144 meters, Hohe Linde is also still a full 5 meters higher than the great Cheops pyramid in Giza, Egypt. It was created in around 35 years of operation and contains around 20 million cubic meters of rock. There are also guided tours on it. They are usually organized by the association around the Röhrigschacht visitor mine in Wettelrode. The view is fantastic, because all in all the slagheap rises on a hill up to 400 meters above sea level. You can see up to 50 kilometers from here.
Slagheaps not to be climbed
Of course, there are a lot more slagheaps. Not all of them can be climbed. I have no information about the following slagheaps so far, whether guided tours are offered here. If you have other information, please write us a comment below and we will change it!
Bernhard Koenen mine Nr. I near Niederröblingen
In the 1960s, the Koenen mine was the best-staffed mine in the East German Mansfeld Corporation. Around 4,000 people worked here. The slagheap also grew rapidly. Today, for example, the 125-meter-high slagheap near Niederröblingen remains. With 5 million cubic meters of rock, however, it is small compared to the Hohe Linde. An ascent is not possible so far. However, it would be nice if the associations of the Mansfeld miners and smelters could organize this at some point.
Bernhard Koenen mine Nr. II Nienstedt
So far, there are also no guided tours to the slagheap of the Bernhard-Koenen-Schacht II near Nienstedt. This is a pity, because the slagheap is especially well visible from the A38 Autobahn and a beautiful landmark of the Mansfeld mining district. Its slightly reddish color also makes it quite special.
Dates of the ascent of the Mansfeld slagheaps
There are two easy ways to climb the Mansfeld slagheaps. On the one hand, the Mansfeld Miners’ and Smelting Workers’ Association regularly offers a slagheap ascent. You can find the dates under the heading “Haldenbesteigung” on the association’s website. On the other hand, the location marketing Mansfeld-Südharz also offers heap ascents. These are usually carried out together with companies. Twice a year, the Hohe Linde slagheap near Sangerhausen is visited. Once a year on the slagheap of the Fortschritt mine near Volkstedt. When you can go to the slagheap of the Thälmann mine again is not fixed yet. Please write to the responsible persons at the location marketing. Maybe something can be organized!
Tips for climbing the Mansfeld pyramids
- You should definitely take water with you. You get very thirsty there!
- Also, you urgently need to be fit enough to get up the mountain at such a sharp angle. It’s probably 35 to 40 degrees steep.
- On the way, I always recommend taking a short break until you can breathe halfway again.
- Be careful with the sliding debris and do not get too close to the edge.
- At the top you can have a great picnic!