by Robert Kunze
Eisenerz with the Styrian Erzberg is very well known to most collectors for it’s fine minerals, some of them belong to the best in the world. Mining has a very long tradition in this area, even the old Romans mined for iron and copper.
In June 2014 my family and me visited this area to join the landscape, the people and the minerals as well. My kids are currently 6 and 4 years old so they have a good age to combine hiking, adventures and a bit of culture.
Eisenerz is located in the Austrian county of Styria and surrounded by mountains with a height up to ~2.300 m. The alps in this area are quite spectacular even if there are no glaciers – steep mountains, beautiful lakes and clear water as you can see at the following photos.
Leopoldsteiner lake surrounded by a spectacular landscape
once again the Leopoldsteiner-lake that was labaled as the most beautiful lake in Styria...
...I agree with that!
Pfaffenstein mountain (1.871 m high)
But Eisenerz is especially known for the world largest pyramid - yes, pyramid! It is better known as the Styrian Erzberg. Even if it’s only 1.466 m high it is dominating the valley with the town Eisenerz. The Styrian Erzberg is the world’s largest deposit for Siderite and it’s still operating. Every year 2.000.000 tons of ore are mined there.
an amazing view
As a highlight for my family we did a tour on the mountain, a special tour. Visitors can drive on the mountain with a very large truck the so called “Hauly”. This truck is more than 11 m long, 5,5 m wide and 4,5 m high and today visitors can take place at it’s former load area. So we climbed up to 4 m over the ground, wearing our helmets and waiting to start the trip. It was amazing as the 860 bhp engine was started! We really enjoyed to see the Erzberg from a distance you normally can’t see and also the view around.
the so called Hauly (picture taken from www.abenteuer-erzberg.at)
my kids resting at an old mine-train before the Hauly-ride started
each of this steps is approx. 20 m high, please mention the different types of rocks there
preperation of the next blast - can you see the yellow vehicle?
here it is...
probably every field-collector will think what I thought: leave me here, I'll find a way back!
during the works the miners often find relicts of their forerunners
the view on the town Eisenerz from the Erzberg
From time to time I focused on the rocks next to us to see some interesting minerals or so. And I think I saw an area with Aragonite! Aragonite, that’s what I think of when Eisenerz comes in my mind. So it was clear that we had to visit the local museum so see some of the fine specimens. The museum is located in the historic center of Eisenerz in one of the most beautiful buildings around.
the building the museum is situated in
Unfortunatly I missed to take some more photos outside. But you can click HERE to see more. The museum was reopened a few years ago and it’s really worth a look. Enjoy some not mineral-related photos from the museum…
If you want to see some historic mining-photos please click HERE.
But the highlight for me and my little daughter were the minerals. Just in the first room we saw that beauty:
close up of an approx. 40 cm wide suberb Aragonite var. Flos Ferri
And it continued like this as you can see in the next photos. Please excuse if the photos are not 100% sharp, I took them through glass.
Aragonite-needles on a 30 cm specimen with a historic lamp on the left hand side
this structured stone is the so called "Erzbergite" and that's a showy 1 m specimen
this case is called "Eisenblütenkastl" and it's the most impressive version I've seen so far. It shows mining related history with religious signs surrounded by mineral specimens, mainly Flos Ferri.
and a third one
a display that shows the range of minerals beeing found (Malachite, Azurite, Gypsum, Bornite, Chalcopyrite, Hematite, Arsenopyrite, Pyrite)
close up on a 15 cm specimen with grey colored Calcite (colored by included mercury)
beautiful display showing white Flos Ferri
Aragonite-coated screws and birds-nests (green also!)
a fir branch...
one of my favourites: blue Flos Ferri at it's best
blue on wood
the display with Cinnabarite
a superb Cinnabarite with perfect termination and awesome color (approx. 1,5 cm large)
that's the largest Cinnabarite found at the Erzberg. It is approx. 4 cm large!
another display with white Flos Ferri
a "wild" specimen
size: 25 cm
local art from "Erzbergite" and other Erzberg-rocks
a 50 cm wide specimen, one of my favourites
the museum says goodbye with a combination of art and nature
I hope you enjoyed my short report. If you ever come to visit Austria, don't miss to visit Eisenerz. It's worth it!