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The Ore Mountains lie along the Czech–German border, separating the historical regions of Bohemia in Czech Republic and Saxony in Germany. The highest peaks are the Klínovec in the Czech Republic (German: ''Keilberg''), which rises to above
sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloquial, ordinary language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers, usually the sum of the numbers divided by how many numbers are in th ...
and the
Fichtelberg The Fichtelberg () is a mountain with two main peaks in the middle of the Ore Mountains in the east German state of Saxony, near the Czech Republic, Czech border. At above sea level, the Fichtelberg is the highest mountain in Saxony, the second ...

Fichtelberg
in Germany (). The area played an important role in contributing
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
ore and, since the first wave of settlement in the Middle Ages, the nature of the Ore Mountains has been intensively shaped by human intervention and has created a diverse cultural landscape. In particular, mining with its tips, dams, ditches and sinkholes directly shaped the landscape and the habitats of plants and animals in many places. The region was also the setting of the earliest stages of the
early modern The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of 's past. It is understood through , , , and , and since the , from and s. Humanity's written history was preceded by its , beginning with ...
transformation of
mining Mining is the extraction of valuable mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occu ...

mining
and
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering ''Materials Science and Engineering'' may refer to several journals in the field of materials science and engineering: * '' Materials Science and Engineering A'' * '' Materials Science ...
from a craft to a large-scale industry, a process that preceded and enabled the later
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
. The higher altitudes from around 500 m above sea level on the German side belong to the
Ore Mountains/Vogtland Nature Park The Ore Mountains/Vogtland Nature Park (german: Naturpark Erzgebirge/Vogtland) extends across the upper slopes of the Vogtland and Ore Mountains in southeastern Germany along its international border with Czech Republic. It is the longest nature ...
- the largest of its kind in Germany with a length of 120 km. The eastern Ore Mountains are protected landscape. Other smaller areas on the German and Czech side are protected as nature reserves and natural monuments. On the ridges there are also several larger raised bogs that are only fed by rainwater. The mountains are a popular for hiking and there are winter sports areas at higher elevations. In 2019, the region became a
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
.


Name

In English, the Ore ːrMountains are sometimes referred to as the ''Ore Mountain Range'', but are also sometimes called the ''Erzgebirge'' eːɐ̯tsɡəˌbɪʁɡəor ''Erz Mountains'' () after their German name or the ''Krušné Mountains'' () after their Czech name. In Czech they are the ''Krušné hory'' kruʃnɛː ˈhorɪor historically ''Rudohoří''; and in Upper Sorbian the ''Rudne horiny''.


Geography


Geology

The Ore Mountains are a
Hercynian block The Variscan or Hercynian orogeny was a geologic mountain-building event caused by Late Paleozoic continental collision between Euramerica (Laurussia) and Gondwana to form the supercontinent of Pangaea. Nomenclature The name ''Variscan'', comes f ...
tilted so as to present a steep
scarp
scarp
face towards Bohemia and a gentle slope on the German side.Elkins, T H (1972). ''Germany'' (3rd ed.). London: Chatto & Windus, p. 291. . They were formed during a lengthy process: During the
folding Fold, folding or foldable may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media *Fold (album), ''Fold'' (album), the debut release by Australian rock band Epicure *Fold (poker), in the game of poker, to discard one's hand and forfeit interest in the curr ...
of the
Variscan orogeny The Variscan or Hercynian orogeny was a geologic mountain-building event caused by Late Paleozoic The Paleozoic (or Palaeozoic) Era ( ; from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελ ...
,
metamorphism Metamorphism is the change of mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs nat ...
occurred deep underground, forming
slate Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism uprigh ...

slate
and
gneiss Gneiss ( ) is a common and widely distributed type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or ag ...

gneiss
. In addition,
granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phanerite, phaneritic) intrusive rock, intrusive igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase. It forms from magma with a high content of silica and alkali metal oxides that slowly cool ...

granite
pluton In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers ...

pluton
s
intruded , an igneous ''intrusion'' exposed when the surrounding softer rock eroded away Intrusive rock is formed when magma penetrates existing rock, crystallizes, and solidifies underground to form ''Igneous intrusion, intrusions'', such as batholiths, ...

intruded
into the metamorphic rocks. By the end of the
Palaeozoic The Paleozoic (or Palaeozoic) Era ( ; from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Eu ...
era, the mountains had been eroded into gently undulating hills (the
Permian The Permian ( ) is a geologic period The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology, paleontologists, and other earth ...
massif In geology, a massif ( or ) is a section of a planet's Crust (geology), crust that is demarcated by geologic fault, faults or Lithospheric flexure, flexures. In the Plate tectonics, movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal s ...
), exposing the hard rocks. In the
Tertiary Tertiary ( ) is a widely used but obsolete term for the geologic period The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology ...

Tertiary
period these mountain remnants came under heavy pressure as a result of plate tectonic processes during which the Alps were formed and the North American and Eurasian plates were separated. As the rock of the Ore Mountains was too brittle to be folded, it shattered into an independent
fault block Fault blocks are very large blocks of rock, sometimes hundreds of kilometres in extent, created by tectonic Tectonics (; ) are the processes that control the structure and properties of the Earth's crust and its evolution through time. The ...
which was uplifted and tilted to the northwest. This can be very clearly seen at a height of on the mountain of ''Komáří vížka'' which lies on the Czech side, east of Zinnwald-Georgenfeld, right on the edge of the fault block. Consequently, it is a
fault-block Fault blocks are very large blocks of rock, sometimes hundreds of kilometres in extent, created by Tectonics, tectonic and localized stresses in Crust (geology), Earth's crust. Large areas of bedrock are broken up into blocks by Fault (geology) ...
mountain range which, today has been incised by a whole range of river valleys whose rivers drain southwards into the
Eger Eger ( , , see #Names and etymology, etymology for alternative names, sk, Jáger) is the county seat of Heves (county), Heves, and the second largest city in Northern Hungary (after Miskolc). Eger is best known for Castle of Eger, its castle, ...
and northwards into the
Mulde The Mulde () is a river in Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon German, Upper Saxon: ''Saggsn''; hsb, Sakska), officially the Free State of Saxony (german: Freistaat Sachsen, links=no ; Upper Saxon German, Upper Saxon: ''Freischda ...
or directly into the
Elbe The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake o ...

Elbe
. This process is known as
dissection Dissection (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic ...

dissection
. The Ore Mountains are geologically considered to be one of the most heavily researched mountain ranges in the world. The main geologic feature in the Ore Mountains is the Late
Paleozoic The Paleozoic (or Palaeozoic) Era ( ; from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Eu ...
Eibenstock
granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phanerite, phaneritic) intrusive rock, intrusive igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase. It forms from magma with a high content of silica and alkali metal oxides that slowly cool ...

granite
pluton In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers ...

pluton
, which is exposed for 25 miles along its northwest–southeast axis and up to 15 miles in width. This pluton is surrounded by progressive zones of
contact metamorphism Metamorphism is the change of mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs nat ...

contact metamorphism
in which Paleozoic
slate Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism uprigh ...

slate
s and
phyllite Phyllite ( ) is a type of foliated metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of miner ...

phyllite
s have been changed to spotted
hornfels Hornfels is the group name for a set of contact metamorphic rocks that have been baked and hardened by the heat of intrusive Intrusive may refer to: * Intrusiveness, a typically unwelcome behavior, interrupting and disturbing to others * Intrusi ...

hornfels
,
andalusite Andalusite is an aluminium Silicate minerals, nesosilicate mineral with the chemical formula Al2SiO5. This mineral was called andalousite by Delamétehrie, who thought it came from Andalusia. It soon became clear that it was a locality error, and t ...

andalusite
hornfels, and
quartzites Quartzite is a hard, non-Foliation (geology), foliated metamorphic rock which was originally pure quartz sandstone.Essentials of Geology, 3rd Edition, Stephen Marshak, p 182 Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usu ...
. Two key mineral centers intersect this pluton at Joachimsthal, one trending northwesterly from Schneeberg through Johanngeorgenstadt to Joachimsthal, and a second trending north–south from Freiberg through Marienberg, Annaberg, Niederschlag, Joachimsthal, and Schlaggenwald. Late
Tertiary Tertiary ( ) is a widely used but obsolete term for the geologic period The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology ...

Tertiary
faulting and
volcanism Volcanism (or volcanicity) is the phenomenon of eruption of molten rock (magma Magma () is the molten or semi-molten natural material from which all igneous rock Igneous rock (derived from the Latin word ''ignis'' meaning fire), or magma ...
gave rise to
basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive A volcanic rock from Italy with a relatively large six-sided phenocryst (diameter about 1 mm) surrounded by a fine-grained groundmass, as seen in thin section under a petrographic microscope Extr ...

basalt
and
phonolite Phonolite is an uncommon extrusive rock A volcanic rock from Italy with a relatively large six-sided phenocryst (diameter about 1 mm) surrounded by a fine-grained groundmass, as seen in thin section under a petrographic microscope Extrusive r ...
dikes Dyke or dike may refer to: General uses * Dyke (slang) The term ''dyke'' is a slang Slang is language (words, phrases, and usages) of an informal register. It also sometimes refer to the language generally exclusive to the members of ...
.
Ore Ore is natural rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, chemica ...

Ore
veins Veins are blood vessels The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular system or the vascular system, is an organ system An organ system is a biological system A b ...
include iron, copper, tin, tungsten, lead, silver, cobalt, bismuth, uranium, plus iron and manganese oxides. The most important rocks occurring in the Ore Mountains are
schist Schist ( ) is a medium-grained metamorphic rock , a type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock (geology), rock to new types of rock, in a process called metamorphism upright=1.35, Schematic r ...

schist
,
phyllite Phyllite ( ) is a type of foliated metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of miner ...

phyllite
and
granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phanerite, phaneritic) intrusive rock, intrusive igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase. It forms from magma with a high content of silica and alkali metal oxides that slowly cool ...

granite
with
contact metamorphic zones
contact metamorphic zones
in the west,
basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive A volcanic rock from Italy with a relatively large six-sided phenocryst (diameter about 1 mm) surrounded by a fine-grained groundmass, as seen in thin section under a petrographic microscope Extr ...

basalt
as remnants in the Plešivec (Pleßberg), Scheibenberg, Bärenstein,
Pöhlberg
Pöhlberg
, Velký Špičák (''Großer Spitzberg or Schmiedeberger Spitzberg''), Jelení hora (''Haßberg'') and
Geisingberg The Geisingberg is a striking basalt mountain in the eastern Ore Mountains in the German federal state of Saxony. Location and surrounding area The Geisingberg lies in the upper Eastern Ore Mountains between the mining town of Altenberg (Erzgeb ...

Geisingberg
as well as
gneiss Gneiss ( ) is a common and widely distributed type of metamorphic rock Metamorphic rocks arise from the transformation of existing rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or ag ...

gneiss
es and
rhyolite Rhyolite ( ) is the most silica Silicon dioxide, also known as silica, is an oxide An oxide () is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and ...

rhyolite
(
Kahleberg Kahleberg (''Bald Mountain'') is a mountain of Saxony, southeastern Germany. History

Kahleberg is located 2 kilometres south-west of the mining town Altenberg, Saxony, Altenberg, which is on the border of the Czech Republic. Mountains of ...
) in the east. The
soil Soil is a mixture In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound, comp ...

soil
s consist of rapidly leaching grus. In the western and central areas of the mountains it is formed from weathered granite. Phyllite results in a
loamy Loam (in geology and soil science) is soil composed mostly of sand (particle size > ), silt (particle size > ), and a smaller amount of clay (particle size < ). By weight, its mineral composition is about 40–40–20% concentration of sand–si ...
, rapidly weathered gneiss in the east of the mountains producing a light soil. As a result of the subsoils based on granite and rhyolite, the land is mostly covered in
forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a ...

forest
; on the gneiss soils it was possible to grow and cultivate
flax Flax, also known as common flax or linseed, is a flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may ...

flax
in earlier centuries and, later,
rye Rye (''Secale cereale'') is a grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationshi ...

rye
,
oats The oat (''Avena sativa''), sometimes called the common oat, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A spec ...

oats
and
potatoes The potato is a starch Starch or amylum is a consisting of numerous units joined by s. This is produced by most green s for energy storage. Worldwide, it is the most common carbohydrate in human diets, and is contained in large amount ...

potatoes
up to the highlands. Today the land is predominantly used for
pasture Pasture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...

pasture
. But it is not uncommon to see near-natural mountain meadows. To the north of the Ore Mountains, west of
Chemnitz Chemnitz (; cs, Saská Kamenice; from 1953 to 1990: ''Karl-Marx-Stadt'' ) is the third largest city in the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people ...

Chemnitz
and around
Zwickau Zwickau (; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part of High German lang ...

Zwickau
lies the
Ore Mountain Basin The Ore Mountain Basinstone coal where mining has already been abandoned. A similar but smaller basin with abandoned coal deposits, the Döhlen Basin, is located southwest of
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
on the northern edge of the Ore Mountains. It forms the transition to the Elbe Valley zone.


Terrain

The western part of the Ore Mountains is home to the two highest peaks of the range: Klínovec, located in the Czech part, with an altitude of and
Fichtelberg The Fichtelberg () is a mountain with two main peaks in the middle of the Ore Mountains in the east German state of Saxony, near the Czech Republic, Czech border. At above sea level, the Fichtelberg is the highest mountain in Saxony, the second ...

Fichtelberg
, the highest mountain of Saxony, Germany, at . The Ore Mountains are part of a larger mountain system and adjoin the
Fichtel Mountains The Fichtel MountainsRandlesome, C. et al. (2011). ''Business Cultures in Europe'', 2nd ed., Routledge, Abingdon and New York, p. 52. . (german: Fichtelgebirge, cs, Smrčiny), form a small horseshoe-shaped mountain range in northeastern Bavar ...
to the west and the
Elbe Sandstone Mountains The Elbe Sandstone Mountains, also called the Elbe Sandstone Highlands (german: Elbsandsteingebirge; cs, Labské pískovce) is a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mounta ...
to the east. Past the River
Elbe The Elbe (, ; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo), historically in English also Elve, is one of the major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake o ...

Elbe
, the mountain chain continues as the
Lusatian Mountains The Lusatian Mountains ( cs, Lužické hory; german: Lausitzer Gebirge; pl, Góry Łużyckie) are a mountain range of the Western Sudetes on the southeastern border of Germany with the Czech Republic. They are a continuation of the Ore Mountains ...
. While the mountains slope gently away in the northern (German) part, the southern (Czech) slopes are rather steep.


Topography

The Ore Mountains are oriented in a southwest–northeast direction and are about 150 km long and, on average, about 40 km wide. From a
geomorphological Geomorphology (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...
perspective the range is divided into the
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that id ...
,
Central Central is an adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign languag ...
and
Eastern Ore Mountains The Eastern Ore Mountains (german: Osterzgebirge) form a Natural regions of Saxony, natural region of Saxony that covers the eastern part (in area almost the eastern half) of the Saxon Ore Mountains range. Together with the Western Ore Mountains, W ...
, separated by the valleys of the Schwarzwasser and
Zwickauer Mulde The Zwickauer Mulde () is a river in Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian langu ...

Zwickauer Mulde
and the Flöha ("''Flöha Line''"), the division of the western section along the River Schwarzwasser is of a more recent date. The Eastern Ore Mountains mainly comprise large, gently climbing plateaux, in contrast with the steeper and higher-lying western and central areas, and are dissected by river valleys that frequently change direction. The crest of the mountains themselves forms, in all three regions, a succession of plateaux and individual peaks. To the east it is adjoined by the
Elbe Sandstone Mountains The Elbe Sandstone Mountains, also called the Elbe Sandstone Highlands (german: Elbsandsteingebirge; cs, Labské pískovce) is a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mounta ...
and, to the west, by the
Elster Mountains The Elster Mountains (german: Elstergebirge, cs, Halštrovské hory) is a small range of mountains, in Saxony and the Czech Republic, to the west of the Ore Mountains. They lie in a region known as Vogtland, and take their name from the River Elst ...
and other Saxon parts of the
Vogtland Vogtland (; cz, Fojtsko) is a region spanning the German states of Bavaria Bavaria (; and : ''Bayern'' ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: ''Freistaat Bayern''; ), is a (') in the south-east of . With an area of ...

Vogtland
. South(east) of the Central and Eastern Ore Mountains lies the
North Bohemian Basin The North Bohemian Basin (german: Nordböhmisches Becken, formerly also the ''Teplitz-Komotauer Becken''), in Czech language, Czech called more often the Most (Most District), Most Basin ( cz, Mostecká pánev), is a landscape in North Bohemia (C ...
and, immediately east of that, the
Bohemian Central Uplands A Bohemian () is a resident of Bohemia Bohemia ( ; cs, Čechy ; ; hsb, Čěska; szl, Czechy) is the westernmost and largest historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographical Geography (from Greek Gre ...
which are separated from the Eastern Ore Mountains by narrow fingers of the aforementioned basin. South(east) of the Western Ore Mountains lie the Sokolov Basin, the
Eger Graben The Eger Graben ( cs, Oherský příkop, german: Egergraben), much less commonly called the Ohre or Ohře Graben, is a geographical unit in the Czech Republic The Czech Republic, also known by its short-form name Czechia and formerl ...
and the
Doupov Mountains Doupov Mountains ( cs, Doupovské hory, german: Duppauer Gebirge) ...
. To the north the boundary is less sharply defined because the Ore Mountains, a typical example of a
fault-block Fault blocks are very large blocks of rock, sometimes hundreds of kilometres in extent, created by Tectonics, tectonic and localized stresses in Crust (geology), Earth's crust. Large areas of bedrock are broken up into blocks by Fault (geology) ...
, descend very gradually. The topographical transition from the Western and Central Ore Mountains to the
loess Loess (, ; from german: Löss ) is a clastic Clastic rocks are composed of fragments, or clasts, of pre-existing minerals In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fair ...
hill country to the north between
Zwickau Zwickau (; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part of High German lang ...

Zwickau
and
Chemnitz Chemnitz (; cs, Saská Kamenice; from 1953 to 1990: ''Karl-Marx-Stadt'' ) is the third largest city in the German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people ...

Chemnitz
is referred to as the
Ore Mountain Basin The Ore Mountain BasinOre Mountain Foreland The Saxon Uplands, Saxon HillsElkins, T H (1972). ''Germany'' (3rd ed.). London: Chatto & Windus, 1972. . or Ore Mountain Foreland (german: Erzgebirgsvorland}) is a strip of countryside of about 200 m to high, in the German state of Saxony ...
. Between
Freital Freital is a town in the district of Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains (German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or peop ...
and
Pirna Pirna (; hsb, Pěrno) is a town in the Free State of Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; hsb, Sakska), officially the Free State of Saxony (German: , Upper Sorbian: ), is a landlocked States of Germany, state of Germany, bordering the states ...

Pirna
, the area is called the Dresden Ore Mountain Foreland (''Dresdner Erzgebirgsvorland'') or Bannewitz-Possendorf-Burkhardswald Plateau (''Bannewitz-Possendorf-Burkhardswalder Plateau''). Geologically the Ore Mountains reach the city limits of
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
at the
Windberg Windberg is a Municipalities of Germany, municipality in the district of Straubing-Bogen in Bavaria, Germany. References

Straubing-Bogen {{StraubingBogen-geo-stub ...
hill near Freital and the Karsdorf Fault. The
V-shaped valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will typically contain a river or stream running from one end to the other. Most valleys are formed by erosion In earth science, erosion is the action of ...
s of the Ore Mountains break through this fault and the shoulder of the
Dresden Basin The Dresden BasinDickinson (1964). pp. 624-625. (german: (Dresdner) Elbtalkessel or ''Dresdner Elbtalweitung'') is a roughly 45 km long and 10 km wide area of the Elbe Valley between the towns of Pirna and Meißen.Elkins (1972), pp. 293- ...
. The Ore Mountains belong to the
Bohemian Massif The Bohemian Massif (Bohemian Upland, cz, Česká vysočina or ''Český masiv'', german: Böhmische Masse or ''Böhmisches Massiv'') is in the geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("stud ...
within Europe's Central Uplands, a massif that also includes the
Upper Palatine Forest The Upper Palatine Forest (german: Oberpfälzer Wald or ''Böhmischer Wald'', cs, Český les, "Bohemian Forest") is a mountain range in Central Europe that is divided between Germany and the Czech Republic. It is part of the larger Bohemian Mas ...
, the
Bohemian Forest The Bohemian Forest, known in Czech language, Czech as Šumava () and in German language, German as Böhmerwald, is a low mountain range in Central Europe. Geographically, the mountains extend from Plzeň Region and South Bohemia in the Czech Re ...
, the
Bavarian Forest The village of Zell in the Bavarian Forest The Bavarian Forest (German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germa ...
, the
Lusatian Mountains The Lusatian Mountains ( cs, Lužické hory; german: Lausitzer Gebirge; pl, Góry Łużyckie) are a mountain range of the Western Sudetes on the southeastern border of Germany with the Czech Republic. They are a continuation of the Ore Mountains ...
, the Iser Mountains, the Giant Mountains and the Bohemian Central Uplands, Inner-Bohemian Mountains. At the same time it forms a y-shaped mountain chain, along with the Upper Palatine Forest, Bohemian Forest,
Fichtel Mountains The Fichtel MountainsRandlesome, C. et al. (2011). ''Business Cultures in Europe'', 2nd ed., Routledge, Abingdon and New York, p. 52. . (german: Fichtelgebirge, cs, Smrčiny), form a small horseshoe-shaped mountain range in northeastern Bavar ...
, Franconian Forest, Thuringian Slate Mountains and Thuringian Forest, that has no unique name but is characterised by a rather homogeneous climate. According to cultural tradition, Zwickau is seen historically as part of the Ore Mountains, Chemnitz is seen historically as just lying outside them, but Freiberg (Saxony), Freiberg is included. The supposed limit of the Ore Mountains continues southwest of
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
towards the
Elbe Sandstone Mountains The Elbe Sandstone Mountains, also called the Elbe Sandstone Highlands (german: Elbsandsteingebirge; cs, Labské pískovce) is a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mounta ...
. From this perspective, its main characteristics, i.e., gently sloping plateaus climbing up to the ridgeline incised by
V-shaped valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will typically contain a river or stream running from one end to the other. Most valleys are formed by erosion In earth science, erosion is the action of ...
s, continue to the southern edge of the
Dresden Basin The Dresden BasinDickinson (1964). pp. 624-625. (german: (Dresdner) Elbtalkessel or ''Dresdner Elbtalweitung'') is a roughly 45 km long and 10 km wide area of the Elbe Valley between the towns of Pirna and Meißen.Elkins (1972), pp. 293- ...
. North of the Ore Mountains the landscape gradually transitions into the Saxon Lowland and Saxon Elbeland. Its cultural-geographical transition to Saxon Switzerland in the area of the Müglitz (river), Müglitz and Gottleuba valleys is not sharply defined.


Notable peaks

The highest mountain in the Ore Mountains is the Klínovec (German: ''Keilberg''), at 1,244 metres, in the Bohemian part of the range. The highest elevation on the Saxon side is the 1,215-metre-high Fichtelberg (Ore Mountains), Fichtelberg, which was the highest mountain in East Germany. The Ore Mountains contain about thirty summits with a height over , but not all are clearly defined mountains. Most of them occur around the Klínovec and the Fichtelberg. About a third of them are located on the Saxon side of the border.


Important rivers

From west to east: * Svatava, Zwota / Svatava (''Zwodau'') * Rolava (''Rohlau'') *
Zwickauer Mulde The Zwickauer Mulde () is a river in Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian langu ...

Zwickauer Mulde
** Schwarzwasser ** Chemnitz (river), Chemnitz *** Würschnitz *** Zwönitz (river), Zwönitz * Freiberger Mulde ** Zschopau (river), Zschopau *** Flöha * Red Weißeritz and Wild Weißeritz * Müglitz (river), Müglitz * Gottleuba


Natural regions in the Saxon Ore Mountains

In the division of Germany into natural regions that was carried out Germany-wide in the 1950s the Ore Mountains formed major unit group 42: * 42 Ore Mountains (''Erzgebirge'') ** 420 ''Southern slopes of the Ore Mountains'' (''Südabdachung des Erzgebirges'') ** 421 ''Upper Western Ore Mountains'' (''Oberes Westerzgebirge'') ** 422 ''Upper Eastern Ore Mountains'' (''Oberes Osterzgebirge'') ** 423 ''Lower Western Ore Mountains'' (''Unteres Westerzgebirge'') ** 424 ''Lower Eastern Ore Mountains'' (''Unteres Osterzgebirge'') Even after the reclassification of natural regions by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in 1994 the Ore Mountains, region ''D16'', remained a major unit group with almost unchanged boundaries. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, the working group ''Naturhaushalt und Gebietscharakter'' of the Saxon Academy of Sciences (''Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften'') in Leipzig merged the Ore Mountains with the major unit group of
Vogtland Vogtland (; cz, Fojtsko) is a region spanning the German states of Bavaria Bavaria (; and : ''Bayern'' ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: ''Freistaat Bayern''; ), is a (') in the south-east of . With an area of ...

Vogtland
to the west and the major landscape units of Saxon Switzerland, Lusatian Highlands and Zittau Mountains to the east into one overarching unit, the Saxon Highlands and Uplands. In addition, its internal divisions were changed. Former major unit 420 was grouped with the western part of major units 421 and 423 to form a new major unit, the Western Ore Mountains (''Westerzgebirge''), the eastern part of major units 421 and 423 became the Central Ore Mountains (''Mittelerzgebirge'') and major units 422 and 424 became the Eastern Ore Mountains (''Osterzgebirge''). The current division therefore looks as follows:Map of natural regions in Saxony
at www.umwelt.sachsen.de (pdf, 859 kB)
* Saxon Highlands and Uplands (''Sächsisches Bergland und Mittelgebirge'') ** Ore Mountains (''Erzgebirge'') *** Western Ore Mountains (''Westerzgebirge'') *** Central Ore Mountains (''Mittelerzgebirge'') ***
Eastern Ore Mountains The Eastern Ore Mountains (german: Osterzgebirge) form a Natural regions of Saxony, natural region of Saxony that covers the eastern part (in area almost the eastern half) of the Saxon Ore Mountains range. Together with the Western Ore Mountains, W ...
(''Osterzgebirge'') The geographic unit of the Southern Slopes of the Ore Mountains remains unchanged under the title of Southern Ore Mountains (''Süderzgebirge'').


Climate

The climate of the higher regions of the Ore Mountains is characterised as distinctly harsh. Temperatures are considerably lower all year round than in the lowlands, and the summer is noticeably shorter and cool days are frequent. The average annual temperatures only reach values of 3 to 5 °C. In Oberwiesenthal, at a height of , on average only about 140 frost-free days per year are observed. Based on reports of earlier chroniclers, the climate of the upper Ore Mountains in past centuries must have been even harsher than it is today. Historic sources describe hard winters in which cattle froze to death in their stables, and occasionally houses and cellars were snowed in even after snowfalls in April. The population was regularly cut off from the outside world. The upper Ore Mountains was therefore nicknamed ''Saxon Siberia'' already in the 18th century. The fault block mountain range that climbs from northwest to southeast, and which enables prolonged rain to fall as orographic rain when weather systems drive in from the west and northwest, gives rise to twice as much Precipitation (meteorology), precipitation as in the lowlands which exceeds 1,100 mm on the upper reaches of the mountains. Since a large part of the precipitation falls as snow, in many years a thick and permanent layer of snow remains until April. The ridges of the Ore Mountains are one of the snowiest areas in the German Central Uplands. Foehn winds, and also the so-called Bohemian Wind may occur during certain specific southerly weather conditions. As a result of the climate and the heavy amounts of snow a natural Mountain Pine, Dwarf Mountain Pine region is found near Satzung, near the border to Bohemia at just under . By comparison, in the Alps these pines do not occur until 1,600 to . File:Klimadiagramm-deutsch-Annaberg-Buchholz (SN)-Deutschland.png, Climatic diagram of Annaberg-Buchholz File:Klimadiagramm-deutsch-Freiberg (SN)-Deutschland.png, Climatic diagram of Freiberg File:Klimadiagramm-deutsch-Fichtelberg (SN)-Deutschland.png, Climatic diagram of the Fichtelberg File:Klimadiagramm-deutsch-Zinnwald-Georgenfeld (SN)-Deutschland.png, Climatic diagram of Zinnwald-Georgenfeld


History


Etymology of the name

The term ''Saltusbohemicus'' ("Bohemian Forest") for the region emerged in the 12th century. In the German language the names ''Böhmischer Wald'', ''Beheimer Wald'', ''Behmerwald'' or ''Böhmerwald'' were used, in Czech the name ''Český les''. The last-mentioned names are used today for the mountain range along the Czech Republic's southwestern border (''see:''
Bohemian Forest The Bohemian Forest, known in Czech language, Czech as Šumava () and in German language, German as Böhmerwald, is a low mountain range in Central Europe. Geographically, the mountains extend from Plzeň Region and South Bohemia in the Czech Re ...
). From earlier research, other names for the Ore Mountains have also appeared in a few older written records. However, the names ''Hircanus Saltus'' (Hercynian Forest) or ''Fergunna'', which appeared in the 9th century, were only used in a general sense for the vast forests of the Central Uplands. Frequently the term ''Miriquidi'' is used to refer directly to the Ore Mountains, but it only surfaces twice in the 10th and early 11th centuries, and these sources do not permit a clear identification with the ancient forest that formerly covered the whole of the Ore Mountains and its foreland. Following the Berggeschrey, discovery of large ore deposits the area was further renamed in the 16th century. Petrus Albinus used the name'' Erzgebirge'' ("Ore Mountains") for the first time in 1589, in his chronicle. In the early 17th century, the name ''Margraviate of Meißen, Meißener Berge'' ("Meissen Mountains") was temporarily used. A quarter of a century later the names ''Erzgebirge'' in German and ''Rudohoří'' in Czech became established. The Czech language, Czech toponym is , derived from an old Czech expression ', meaning "ore". The mountains are sometimes divided into the Saxon Ore Mountains and Bohemian Ore Mountains. A similarly named range in Slovakia is usually known as the Slovak Ore Mountains.


Economic history

Europe's earliest mining district appears to be located in Erzgebirge, dated to 2500 BC. From there tin was Tin sources and trade in ancient times, traded north to the Baltic Sea and south to the Mediterranean following the Amber Road trading route, of great importance in the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
. Tin mining knowledge spread to other European tin mining districts from Erzgebirge and evidence of tin mining begins to appear in Brittany, Devon and Cornwall, and in the Iberian Peninsula around 2000 BC. These deposits saw greater exploitation when they fell under Ancient Rome, Roman control between the third century BC and the first century AD. Demand for tin created a large and thriving network amongst Mediterranean cultures of Classical antiquity, Classical times. By the Medieval period, Iberia's and Germany's deposits lost importance and were largely forgotten while Devon and Cornwall began dominating the European tin market. From the time of the first wave of settlement, the history of the Ore Mountains has been heavily influenced by its economic development, especially that of the mining industry. Settlement in the Ore Mountains was slow to begin with, especially on the Bohemian side. The harsh climate and short growing seasons hindered the cultivation of agricultural products. Nevertheless, settlements were supported by the aristocratic Hrabischitz family and established mainly at the foot of the mountains and along mountain streams into the deep woods. In 1168, as a result of settlement in the early 12th century at the northern edge of the Ore Mountains, the first silver ore was discovered in the vicinity of present-day Freiberg, Saxony, Freiberg, resulting in the ''Berggeschrey, First Berggeschrey'' or mining rush. Almost simultaneously, the first tin ore was discovered on the southern edge of the mountains in Bohemia. In the 13th century, colonization of the mountains took place only sporadically along the Bohemian Way (''antiqua Bohemiae semita''). It was here that Sayda, Saxony, Sayda was built, a station on the trade route from Freiberg via Mníšek v Krušných horách, Einsiedl, Litvínov, Johnsdorf and Most (Most District), Brüx to Prague. In Sayda it joined the so-called salt road that ran from Halle (Saale), Halle via Oederan and onto Prague. Glass-making was introduced into the region from the second half of the 13th century. The emergence of this branch of trade benefited from the abundance of excess timber, which was created by clearings and new settlements and which was able to meet the high demand of the glassworks. Monks from Waldsassen Abbey brought a knowledge of the glass manufacture to the Ore Mountains. Most glassworks were located in the vicinity of Moldava (Teplice District), Moldau, Brandov, Brandau and the Neuhausen/Erzgeb., Frauenbach valley. The oldest glassworks site is Jilmová, Ulmbach. This timber-hungry industry lost its importance, however, with the boom in mining, which also enjoyed royal patronage. Mining on the Bohemian side of the mountains probably began in the 14th century. An indication of this is a contract between Boresch III of Ossegg and Riesenburg, Boresch of Riesenburg and the Osek (Teplice District), Ossegg abbot, Gerwig, in which the division of revenue derived from ore was agreed. Grains of tin (''Zinnkörner'' or ''Graupen'') were obtained at that time in the Seiffen mining area and gave the Bohemian mining town of Krupka, Graupen (Czech ''Krupka'') its name. With the further settlement of the Ore Mountains in the 15th century, new, rich, ore deposits were eventually discovered around Schneeberg (Ore Mountains), Schneeberg Annaberg-Buchholz, Annaberg and Jáchymov, St. Joachimsthal. The ''Berggeschrey, Second Berggeschrey'' started and triggered a massive wave of colonization. In quick succession, new, planned, mining towns were built across the Ore Mountains in the vicinity of newly discovered ore deposits. Typical examples are the towns of Marienberg, Saxony, Marienberg, Oberwiesenthal, Boží Dar, Gottesgab (''Boží Dar''), Hora Svatého Šebestiána, Sebastiansberg (''Hora Sv. Šebestiána'') and Horní Blatná, Platten (''Horní Blatná''). Economically, however, only silver and tin ores were used. From that time, the wealth of Saxony was built on the silver mines of the Ore Mountains. As a metal used for coinage, silver was minted on site in the mountain towns into money. The Thaler, ''Joachimsthaler'' coins, minted in the valley of ''Joachimsthal'', became famous and gave their name to the medieval coin known as the ''Thaler'' from which the word "dollar" is derived.National Geographic. June 2002. p. 1. ''Ask Us''. After the end of the Hussite Wars, the economy in Bohemia, which had been disrupted by the conflict, recovered. In the 16th century the Ore Mountains became the heartland of the Central European mining industry. New ore discoveries attracted more and more people, and the number of residents on the Saxon side of the mountains continued to rise rapidly. Bohemia, in addition to migration from within the country, also received migration from elsewhere, mainly of German miners, who settled in the mountain villages and in the towns at the edge of the mountains. Under Emperor Ferdinand II (HRR), Ferdinand II an unprecedented Re-Catholicization began in Bohemia from 1624 to 1626, whereupon a large number of Bohemian Protestants then fled into the neighbouring Electorate of Saxony. As a result, many Bohemian villages became devastated and desolate, while on the Saxon side new places were founded by these migrants, such as the mining town of Johanngeorgenstadt. Ore mining largely came to a standstill in the 17th century, especially after the Thirty Years' War. Due to the very sharp decline of the mining industry and because the search for new ore deposits proved fruitless, the population had to resort to other occupations. Agricultural yields were low, however, and also the demand for wood was reduced by the closure of smelteries. Many people were already active at that time in textile production. However, since that was not enough for subsistence, the manufacture of wooden goods and toys developed, especially in the Eastern Ore Mountains. Here, the artisans were required by Prince-Elector Augustus of Saxony, Augustus under the Timber Act of 1560, to buy their wood in Bohemia. Wood from the Saxon Ore Mountains was still needed for the mines and smelters in Freiberg. This export of timber led, among other things, to the construction of an artificial cross-border rafting channel, the Neugrabenflöße, along the river Flöha. Because of the decline in industrial production in that period, people without any ties migrated to the interior of Germany or Bohemia. After the discovery of the cobalt blue pigments the mining industry experienced a revival. Cobalt was extracted especially in Schneeberg, and processed in the state paintworks to produce cobalt blue paints and dyes. They succeeded in keeping the method of production secret for a long time, so that for about 100 years the blue colour works had a worldwide monopoly. From about 1820 in Johanngeorgenstadt, uranium was also extracted and was then used to colour glass, amongst other things. Even richer deposits of uranium ore were found in St. Joachimsthal. St. Andrew's White Earth Mine (''Weißerdenzeche St. Andreas'') at Aue supplied kaolin to the Meissen Porcelain Factory in Meissen for nearly 150 years. Its export from the state, however, was prohibited by the Prince-electors under threat of severe punishment or even death. Towards the end of the 19th century, mining slowly declined again. Drainage costs increased, from the mid-19th century, led to a steady decrease in yield, despite sinking of deeper galleries (''Erbstollen'') and the expansion of ditch and tunnel (''Rösche'') systems for supplying the necessary water for overshot wheels from the crest of the mountains, such as the Revierwasserlaufanstalt Freiberg, Freiberg Mines Water Management System or the ''Reitzenhainer Zeuggraben''. Only a few mines remained profitable over a long period. Amongst them was the ''Himmelsfürst Fundgrube'' near Brand-Erbisdorf, Erbisdorf, whose 50 continuous years of profitable operation were commemorated in 1818 with the issue of a commemorative coin (''Ausbeutetaler'') and which went on to make a profit continuously until 1848. Thanks to discoveries of rich ore seams it became the most productive Freiberg mine of the 19th century. But even the excavation of the Rothschönberger Stolln, the largest and most important Saxon drainage adit, which drained the entire Freiberg district, could not stop the decline of mining. Because even before the completion of this technical achievement the German Empire introduced the gold standard in 1871, the price of silver dropped rapidly and led to the unprofitability of the entire Ore Mountain silver mining industry. This situation was not altered even by short-term discoveries of rich deposits in various mines nor the state's purchase of all the Freiberg mines and their incorporation into the state-owned enterprise, ''Oberdirektion der Königlichen Erzbergwerke'', founded in 1886. In 1913, the last silver mines closed and the company was disbanded. Mining in the Ore Mountains was given new life during the First World War, First and Second World Wars in order to supply raw materials. The Third Reich also saw the resumption of silver mining. Afterwards the people returned to the manufacture of wooden products and toys, especially in the Eastern Ore Mountains. The clock Industry (economics), industry is centred on Glashütte (Saxony), Glashütte. In the Western Ore Mountains, economic alternatives were offered by the mechanical engineering, engineering and textile industry, textile industries. In 1789 the chemical element uranium was discovered in St. Joachimsthal; then in pitchblende from the same area, radium was discovered by Marie Curie in 1898. In the late 1930s, following the discovery of the nuclear fission, uranium ore became of particular interest for military purposes. After the incorporation of Sudetenland into Germany in 1938 all the uranium production facilities were commandeered for the development of nuclear weapons. After the American atomic bomb was dropped on Japan in 1945, Soviet Union, Soviet experts searched for evidence of the German nuclear energy project to support Soviet atomic bomb development. Shortly thereafter, the processing of uranium ore for the Soviet Union began in the Ore Mountains under the code name Wismut (mining company), SAG Wismut, a cover up for the Eastern Bloc's highly secretive uranium mining. For the third time in history, thousands of people poured into the Ore Mountains to build a new life. The principal mining areas were located around Johanngeorgenstadt, Schlema and Aue (Saxony), Aue. Uranium ore deposits were also exploited for the Soviet Union in Bohemian Jáchymov (St. Joachimsthal). Its processing was associated with serious health consequences for the miners. In addition a dam burst in 1954 at Lengenfeld (Vogtland), Lengenfeld at a uranium mining waste lake; 50,000 cubic metres of waste water poured down 4 kilometres into the valley. Until 1991 uranium ore was also mined in Aue-Alberoda and Pöhla. Mining operations in Freiberg, Saxony, Freiberg that had begun in 1168 finally ceased in 1968 after 800 years. In Altenberg, Saxony, Altenberg and Ehrenfriedersdorf tin mining continued to 1991. The smelting of these ores took place mainly in Muldenhütten until the early 1990s. In Sankt Egidien, St. Egidien and Aue (Saxony), Aue there were important nickel smelting sites. In Pöhla in the Western Ore Mountains, during exploratory work for Wismut (mining company), SDAG Wismut new, rich lodes of tin ore were discovered in the 1980s. The test workings of that time are now considered the largest tin finds in Europe. Another well-known place of tin production was Seiffen/Erzgeb., Seiffen. The village in the Eastern Ore Mountains has become a leading centre of wood and toy manufacturing. Here, wooden smoking figures, nutcrackers, hand-carved wooden trees (''Spanbäume''), Schwibbogen, candle arches, (''Schwibbogen''), Christmas pyramids and music boxes are made. Up to the last third of the 20th century, Coal was mined near
Zwickau Zwickau (; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part of High German lang ...

Zwickau
until 1978, around Lugau/Erzgeb., Lugau and Oelsnitz/Erzgeb., Oelsnitz until 1971 and in the Döhlen Basin near
Freital Freital is a town in the district of Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains (German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or peop ...
until 1989. The mountains that until the late 11th (and early 12th century) were covered in dense
forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a ...

forest
s were almost completely transformed into a cultural landscape by the mining industry and by Human settlement, settlement. The population density is high right up into the upper regions of the mountains. For example, Oberwiesenthal, the highest town in Germany, lies in the Ore Mountains, and neighbouring Boží Dar (German: ''Gottesgab'') on the Czech side, is actually the highest town in Central Europe. Only on the relatively inaccessible, less climatically favourable ridges are there still large, contiguous forests, but since the 18th century these have been managed economically. Due to the high demand for timber by the mining and smelting industries, where it was needed for pit props and fuel, large-scale deforestation took place from the 12th century onwards, and even the forests owned by the nobility could not cover the growing demand for wood. In the 18th century, industries were encouraged to use coal as fuel instead of timber in order to preserve the forests, and this was enforced in the 19th century. In the early 1960s the first signs of forest dieback were seen in the Eastern Ore Mountains near Altenberg and Reitzenhain (Marienberg), Reitzenhain, after local damage to the forests had become apparent since the 19th century as a result of smelter smoke (''Hüttenrauch''). The German population of the Bohemian part of the Ore Mountains was expelled in 1945 in accordance with to the Beneš decrees.


Nature

The upper western part of the Ore Mountains, known in German as ''Erzgebirge'', belongs to the
Ore Mountains/Vogtland Nature Park The Ore Mountains/Vogtland Nature Park (german: Naturpark Erzgebirge/Vogtland) extends across the upper slopes of the Vogtland and Ore Mountains in southeastern Germany along its international border with Czech Republic. It is the longest nature ...
. The eastern part, called the
Eastern Ore Mountains The Eastern Ore Mountains (german: Osterzgebirge) form a Natural regions of Saxony, natural region of Saxony that covers the eastern part (in area almost the eastern half) of the Saxon Ore Mountains range. Together with the Western Ore Mountains, W ...
(''Osterzgebirge''), is a protected landscape. Further small areas are nature reserves and natural monuments, and are protected by the state.


Nature reserves

* Germany (selection) ** Western Ore Mountains Special Protected Area (''SPA Westerzgebirge'') ** Valley of the Große Bockau Special Area of Conservation (''FFH-Gebiet Tal der Großen Bockau'') ** Mountain meadows in the Eastern Ore Mountains major nature conservation project (''Naturschutzgroßprojekt Bergwiesen im Osterzgebirge'') **
Geisingberg The Geisingberg is a striking basalt mountain in the eastern Ore Mountains in the German federal state of Saxony. Location and surrounding area The Geisingberg lies in the upper Eastern Ore Mountains between the mining town of Altenberg (Erzgeb ...

Geisingberg
nature reserve, 314.00 ha ** Georgenfelder Hochmoor nature reserve, 12.45 ha ** Fürstenau Heath (''Fürstenauer Heide'') nature reserve (Black Grouse conservation area near Fürstenau (Altenberg), Fürstenau), 7.24 ha ** Kleiner Kranichsee nature reserve, 28.97 ha ** Großer Kranichsee nature reserve, 611.00 ha ** Hermannsdorf Meadows (''Hermannsdorfer Wiesen'') nature reserve, 185.00 ha * The Czech Republic (selection) ** NPR Božídarské rašeliniště, 929.57 ha (1965) ** NPR Großer Kranichsee, Velké jeřábí jezero, 26.9 ha (1938) ** NPR Velký močál, 50.27 ha (1969) ** NPR Novodomské rašeliniště, 230 ha (1967) ** PR Naturschutzgebiet Černý rybník, Černý rybník, 32.56 ha (1993) ** PR Kleiner Kranichsee, Malé jeřábí jezero, 6.02 ha (1962) ** PR Naturschutzgebiet Ryžovna, Ryžovna, 20 ha


Mining and Pollution

Ever since the settlement in mediaeval times, the Ore Mountains were farmed intensively. This led to widespread clearings of the originally dense forest, also to keep up with the enormous need for wood in mining and metallurgy. Mining including the construction of dumps, impoundments, and ditches in many places also directly shaped the scenery and the habitats of plants and animals. Evidence for local forest dieback due to the smoke from smelting furnaces was first noted the 19th century. In the 20th century, several mountain crests were deforested because of their climatically exposed location. Thus, in recent years, mixed forests are cultivated which are more resistant to weather effects and pests than the traditional monocultures of spruces.


The Ore Mountains/Vogtland Nature Park

Human interventions have created a unique cultural landscape with a large number of typical biotopes which are worthy of protection such as mountain meadows and wetlands. Today, even old mining spoil heaps offer a living environment for a variety of plants and animals. 61% of the area of
Ore Mountains/Vogtland Nature Park The Ore Mountains/Vogtland Nature Park (german: Naturpark Erzgebirge/Vogtland) extends across the upper slopes of the Vogtland and Ore Mountains in southeastern Germany along its international border with Czech Republic. It is the longest nature ...
is covered with woodland. In particular in the western Ore Mountains, huge contiguous woodlands spread all the way to the highest altitudes and are used for forestry. Moreover, in this area several rain water fed bogs are found. Many of these protected areas offer a retreat for rare species with special environmental adaptations such as different species of orchids and gentian, the Eurasian pygmy owl and kingfishers. Some alpine species of plants and animals that have been found at higher altitudes of the Ore mountains are otherwise only known from more distant places in the Sudeten mountains or the Alps. After conditions improved, once displaced species such as Eagle owls and Black storks have returned in the early 21st century.


Economy

The German part of the Ore Mountains is one of the major business locations in Saxony. The region has a high density of industrial operations. Since 2000, the number of industrial workers has risen against the Germany-wide trend by about 20 percent. Typical of the Ore Mountains are mainly small, often owner-managed, businesses. The economic strengths of the Ore Mountains are mainly in manufacturing. 63 percent of the industrial workforce is employed in the metalworking and electrical industry. Only of minor importance is the formerly dominant textile and clothing industry (5 percent of industrial net product) and the food industry. The newly established chemical, leather and plastic industries and the industries traditionally based in the Ore Mountains-based – wood, paper, furniture, glass and ceramics works – each contribute about 14 percent of regional net product. Mining, the essential historical basis of industrial development in the Ore Mountains, currently plays only a minor economic role on the Saxon side of the border. For example, in Hermsdorf/Erzgeb. in the Eastern Ore Mountains, calcite is mined, and near Lengefeld in the Central Ore Mountains, Dolomite (mineral), dolomitic marble is extracted. For the first time in two decades, an ore mine was opened in Bärenstein (Ore Mountains), Niederschlag near Oberwiesenthal on 28 October 2010. It is expected that 50,000-130,000 tons of fluorspar per year will be extracted there. In the Czech part of the Ore Mountains, tourism has gained a certain importance, even though the Krkonoše are more important for domestic tourism. In addition, mining still plays a greater role, particularly coal mining in the southern forelands of the Ore Mountains. Europe's largest deposits of lithium-bearing mica zinnwaldite in Cínovec, a Czech village between town of Dubí and the border with Germany which gave its old German name Zinnwald to the mineral, are expected to be mined starting 2019 (as of June 2017).


Tourism

When several Ore Mountain passes were upgraded into ''chaussees'' in the 19th century, and the Upper Ore Mountains were accessed by the railway, tourism began to develop. One of the early promoters of tourism in the Ore Mountains was Otto Delitsch. In 1907, a memorial was erected to him in Wildenthal (Eibenstock), Wildenthal. In many places mountain inns and observation towers were erected on the highest peaks. At that time, skiers used the ridges with their guaranteed snow. Today, steam locomotive, steam-worked Saxon narrow gauge railways, narrow gauge railways dating to that era, such as the Pressnitz Valley Railway, are popular tourist attractions. In 1924 the Fichtelberg Cable Car became the first Aerial lift, cable car in Germany, and it still takes visitors to the highest mountain in Saxony. The Ridgeway (''Kammweg'') was one of the first long-distance paths to be established. This once ran from Háj u Aše, Hainsberg near Aš, Asch over the Ore Mountains, Bohemian Switzerland and the
Lusatian Mountains The Lusatian Mountains ( cs, Lužické hory; german: Lausitzer Gebirge; pl, Góry Łużyckie) are a mountain range of the Western Sudetes on the southeastern border of Germany with the Czech Republic. They are a continuation of the Ore Mountains ...
to Sněžka in the Krkonoše. Today there is not only a dense network of trails, but also an extensive cross country skiing network and downhill ski slopes for winter sports. The most important ski resort is Oberwiesenthal on the Fichtelberg mountain. And the Ore Mountain/Krušné hory Ski Trail is a German-Czech ski mountaineering trail along the entire Ore Mountain crest. Based on the historical Silver Road a tourist road was created in 1990 running from
Zwickau Zwickau (; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part of High German lang ...

Zwickau
to
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
traversing the entire Ore Mountains and linking its main attractions. These include visitor mines, mining trails, technical and local history museums and numerous other smaller attractions, especially the medieval town centres in the old mining towns and its major churches, such as Freiberg Cathedral, St. Anne's Church, Annaberg-Buchholz, St. Anne's Church in Annaberg-Buchholz or St. Wolfgang's Church, Schneeberg, St Wolfgang's Church at Schneeberg (Ore Mountains), Schneeberg. On the Bohemian and Saxon sides of the border there are also many castles, built in different architectural styles, which may be visited. One of the best known examples is Augustusburg Castle In the Advent and Christmas season the Ore Mountains, with its distinct traditions, Christmas markets and miners' parades is also a popular destination for short breaks. Very unique and popular spa resort are located in Jáchymov in the Czech Republic. In the historical town are some of the most unique Spa, spas in the world. Musculoskeletal system is treated here with radon water and direct irradiation. This treatment is suitable for vascular diseases. Furthermore, for the nerve, rheumatic diseases or inflammation of nerves. The most important use is the treatment of diseases of the musculoskeletal system (gout etc.). The spa was founded in 1906. One of the spa buildings is Radium Palace – spa neoclassical hotel palace, already at the time of its establishment in 1912 was one of the best that Europe could offer in the field of spas. With 960,963 guests staying for 2,937,204 nights in 2007 the Ore Mountains and West Saxony is the most important Saxon holiday destination after the cities, and tourism is an important economic factor in the region. Since 2004 the Ore Mountain Tourist Association (''Tourismusverband Erzgebirge'') has offered the Ore Mountain Card (''ErzgebirgsCard'') with which over 100 museums, castles, heritage railways and other sights may be visited free of charge.


UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 2019, the following 22 mines or mining complexes were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as the Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region.


Culture

The culture of the Ore Mountains was shaped mainly by
mining Mining is the extraction of valuable mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occu ...

mining
that goes back to the Middle Ages. The old saying, coined here, that "everything comes from the mine" (''Alles kommt vom Bergwerk her!'') refers to many areas of life in the region, from its landscape, to its handicrafts, industry, living traditions and folk art. The visitor may recognise this on his arrival from the normal everyday greeting ''Glück auf, Glück Auf!'' that is used in the region. The Ore Mountains has its own dialect, Erzgebirgisch, which sits on the boundary between Upper German and Central German and is not therefore uniform. The first important native dialect poet of the Ore Mountains was Christian Gottlob Wild in the early 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, Hans Soph, Stephan Dietrich and especially Anton Günther were active; their works have a lasting impact to this day in Ore Mountain songs and writings. Erzgebirgisch songs were later popularised by various local groups. The most famous include the ''Preßnitzer Musikanten'', ''Geschwister Caldarelli'', ''Zschorlauer Nachtigallen'', the ''Erzgebirgsensemble Aue'' and ''Joachim Süß and his Ensemble''. Today it is mainly ''De Randfichten'', but also groups like ''Wind, Sand und Sterne'', ''De Ranzn'', ''De Krippelkiefern'', ''De Erbschleicher'' and ''Schluckauf'' that sing in the Erzgebirgisch dialect. The Ore Mountains are nationally known for their variety of customs at Advent and Christmas time. This is epitomized by traditional Ore Mountain folk art, in the form of Räuchermännchen, smoking figures, Christmas pyramids, Schwibbogen, candle arches, nutcrackers, Miner's figure, miners' and angels' figures, all of which are used as Christmas decorations. Above all, places in the Upper Ore Mountains decorate their windows during the Christmas season in such a way that they are transformed into a "sea of light". In addition, traditional Christmas mining celebrations such as the ''Mettenschicht'' and ''Hutzenabende'' draw many visitors and have made the Ore Mountains known as "Christmasland" (''Weihnachtsland''). In addition to the Christmas markets and other smaller traditional and modern folk festivals, the Annaberger Kät is the most famous and largest Ore Mountain folk festival. Started in 1520 by Duke George the Bearded, it has been held annually since. Also interesting is Ore Mountain cuisine, which is simple, but rich in tradition. In 2019 the region was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as the Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region.


Gallery

File:Stürmer.jpg, Stürmer mountain in March 2008 File:Erzgebirge adit.jpg, Old adit near Johanngeorgenstadt File:Jáchymov radnice muzeum.JPG, Jáchymov town hall File:Klinovec von haj aus.jpg, Klínovec mountain File:Pichblende.jpg, Uranite from the Ore Mountains File:Krupka, hrad Krupka (Rosenberg).jpg, Castle Krupka (the Czech Republic) File:Canal in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad).jpg, Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad in German, Carlsbad in English) is one of the most famous spas in the world. They are located below the Ore Mountains on the river Ohře


See also

* Erzgebirgisch, the local German dialect * List of mountains in the Ore Mountains * List of regions of Saxony * Hans Carl von Carlowitz (1645–1714), mining and forestry expert * Saxon Highlands and Uplands


Footnotes


References


Further reading

* Harald Häckel, Joachim Kunze: ''Unser schönes Erzgebirge.'' 4th edition, Häckel 2001, * 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, * NN: ''Erzgebirge, Vogtland, Chemnitz.'' HB Bildatlas, Heft No. 171. 2., akt. Aufl. 2001, * Peter Rochhaus: ''Berühmte Erzgebirger in Daten und Geschichten.'' Sutton Verlag, Erfurt 2006, * Siegfried Roßberg: ''Die Entwicklung des Verkehrswesens im Erzgebirge – Der Kraftverkehr.'' Bildverlag Böttger, Witzschdorf 2005, * Bernd Wurlitzer: ''Erzgebirge, Vogtland.'' Marco Polo Reiseführer. 5., akt. Aufl. Mairs Geographischer Verlag, 2001, * Emmermann, Rolf; Tischendorf, Gerhard; Trumbull, Robert B; Möller, Peter (1994): ''Magmatism and Metallogeny in the Erzgebirge''. Geowissenschaften; 12; 337–341;


External links


Ore Mountains
article at www.britannica.com
UNESCO World Heritage Project "Montanregion Erzgebirge
"]
The Ore Mountains
tourist website for the German Ore Mountains
Ore mountains
tourist website for the Czech Ore Mountains

* http://www.westerzgebirge.com/htm/erzgebirge-personen.htm {{Authority control Ore Mountains, Mountain ranges of the Czech Republic Regions of Saxony Mountain ranges of Saxony Czech Republic–Germany border