Erzgebirge (German, ) or Ore
Mountains are a mountain
range, which for many centuries formed a natural border between
Saxony in Germany and Bohemia
in today's Czech
Republic, named in
both local languages after the ore found
there. The mountain range forms the border between
both countries for 150 kilometers, extending from the western
border of Saxony to the Elbe river.
western portions of the Erzgebirge have the highest peaks, with
1244 m) on the Czech side and Fichtelberg (1214.6 m) on the German side being the highest
mountains of this range. In the west the Ore Mountains adjoin the
lower Bavarian Fichtelgebirge.
In the east, the Elbe Sandstone Mountains
banks of the Elbe river may be regarded as the easternmost
extension of the Erzgebirge. East of the Elbe, the mountain chain
continues as the Lusatian
. While the mountains slope gently away to the
north, where the cities of Zwickau and Chemnitz are located in the foothills, the southern incline
is rather steep.
The Erzgebirge was virtually unsettled during the Middle Ages
and covered with dense forests. In
the fifteenth century the discovery of silver
ore deposits led to the settlement of
the mountains and the foundation of cities. Due to the richness in
mineral resources, including fluorspar
, as well as
silver and tin, the German-speaking population which until 1945
lived on both sides of the mountains called them Erzgebirge, which
literally means "metal ore mountain range". Silver found in
Joachimsthal was used to mint coins known as
Joachimsthaler or Thaler, from which
the word "dollar" is derived.
was found there. After World War II
, Soviet experts searched for
remains of the German
nuclear energy project
to support the Soviet atomic bomb project
mining company called SDAG Wismut
) operated until the fall of
communism, causing environmental damage.
As the ore deposits and the related business often declined, former
miners had to look for new ways to feed their families. In addition
making and weaving, the inhabitants
went into wood carving, producing toys and religious figures. Thus,
the Erzgebirge region became famous for many Christmas traditions.
", "Christmas pyramids
" (carousels with
figures of the Christmas story or from mining) and Schwibbogen
(wooden arcs with candles in
the windows, representing a mine entrance) are some of many
Christmas goods made in the Ore Mountains. Seiffen in the East
Ore Mountains is a centre of the wooden toy industry.
Today the mountains are also a popular winter sports resort.
processionImage:Stürmer.jpg|StürmerImage:Erzgebirge adit.jpg|Old adit near Johanngeorgenstadt
- Harald Häckel, Joachim Kunze: Unser schönes
Erzgebirge. 4. Auflage, Häckel 2001, ISBN 3980368009
- Peter Rölke (Hrsg.): Wander- & Naturführer
Osterzgebirge, Berg- & Naturverlag Rölke, Dresden 2007,
- Müller, Ralph u.a.: Wander- & Naturführer
Westerzgebirge, Berg- & Naturverlag Rölke, Dresden 2002,
- NN: Kompass Karten: Erzgebirge West, Mitte, Ost.
Wander- und Radwanderkarte 1:50.000, GPS kompatibel. Kompass
Verlag, 2002, ISBN 3854919549
- NN: Erzgebirge, Vogtland, Chemnitz. HB Bildatlas, Heft
Nr. 171. 2., akt. Aufl. 2001, ISBN 3616062713
- Peter Rochhaus: Berühmte Erzgebirger in Daten und
Geschichten. Sutton Verlag, Erfurt 2006, ISBN
- Siegfried Roßberg: Die Entwicklung des Verkehrswesens im
Erzgebirge - Der Kraftverkehr. Bildverlag Böttger, Witzschdorf
2005, ISBN 3-9808250-9-4
- Bernd Wurlitzer: Erzgebirge, Vogtland. Marco Polo
Reiseführer. 5., akt. Aufl. Mairs Geographischer Verlag, 2001, ISBN