Lehesten Historic Slate Mining

Lehesten is a small village in the Thüringer Schiefergebirge (Thuringian Slate Mountains), 24 km. north-west of Hof, which gained notoriety in the closing stages of the Second World War when a plant producing liquid oxygen for rockets was established there and operated by forced labourers, and when columns of prisoners on forced marches from concentration camps passed through in 1945. The historic industry of the area is the quarrying, mining and preparation of slate which continued from the fourteenth century to the end of the twentieth, and gained the region the name of the Land des Blauer Geldes (the land of blue gold).

A 105 ha. park has been established in the former slate working area, which includes hotels, convalescent homes, conference centres, nature reserves and a variety of recreational facilities. Visitors are encouraged to explore the park on foot, on bicycles or on horseback. The whole park is a nature reserve and the remnants of the slate workings were accorded the status of industrial monuments in 1999. The most impressive monument is the Göpel pit, a very large open cast working for slate, whose floor area is now filled with water 40 m. deep. There are also headstocks from underground workings for slate, and a network of narrow gauge railways on which steam and diesel locomotives and wagons used in the quarries are preserved.

The monuments at Lehesten are linked with other slate-working sites in the region by the Thüringisch-Fränkische Schieferstrasse (the Thuringian-Franconian slate road).

Lehesten Historic Slate Mining
Staatsbruch 17
07349 Lehesten
+49 (0) 36653 - 26270