The upper Styrian region around the Erzberg mine in the city of Eisenerz has been shaped for centuries by the mining and processing of iron ore. Romans already appreciated iron just as much as the subsequent generations who sold it far to the south and east of Europe and further to the Orient. Iron ore ... more
The upper Styrian region around the Erzberg mine in the city of Eisenerz has been shaped for centuries by the mining and processing of iron ore. Romans already appreciated iron just as much as the subsequent generations who sold it far to the south and east of Europe and further to the Orient.
Iron ore (mainly siderite, which is also known as chalybite, iron spar and spathic iron) has been mined from the Erzberg since at least the 11th century. To this day, the Erzberg mine is the largest open-cast iron ore mine in central Europe with the greatest siderite deposits in the world. The Erzberg mine, also known as the “Styrian loaf” in German, formed the basis of the economic boom in the upper Styrian region from the 16th century until the 20th century. Important Austrian enterprises such as voestalpine, with its steelworks in Linz, Leoben-Donawitz and Montanuniversität Leoben owe their existence to the Erzberg mine. voestalpine produces the longest railway tracks in the world here, measuring 120 metres in length.
The Styrian Iron Route, a tourist route which has been developed since 1986, offers an exciting, 100-kilometre journey through the past and present of ore mining and smelting. Numerous historical sites and several museums bear witness to the centuries-old mining, smelting and industrial history of the region.
Thirteen museums along the Styrian Iron Route joined forces to form a museum association in 2004. The museums are dedicated to evaluating the past and see this as an essential aspect of bringing the history of the region closer to the local population as well as visitors and also making the beautiful natural landscape of the upper Styrian mountains even more attractive.
Highlights of this museum association include the Styrian Erzberg mine and Radwerk IV, a historical blast furnace named after its large water wheel. The other museums also offer interesting insights into the region’s history.
A visit to these museums brings to life the history of the Styrian Iron Route.