Gleisberg Quarry ca. 1930, Foto: Private archive family Aletter

Industrial Culture in the Geopark Porphyryland

What is the basis of the industrial culture and where can it be found in the geopark? The combination of a wealth of naturally occurring hard rocks, sands, gravel, earth and water and the ingenuity of humans in finding ways to use them and create a value, was the precursor for the development of a varied industrial culture. Rhyolite and porphyry tuff have been extracted here for dimension stones and crushed rock for centuries. Unconsolidated rocks such as kaolin, clay, loam, gravel and sand are also found in large amounts in the geopark area. Industrialisation and the associated intensive raw material production greatly changed the natural landscape. Before, the region was characterised by agricultural and artisan settlements and small towns. All this changed as stone and industrial mineral production gained a foothold, further attracting manufacturers of equipment and plants for extracting and transporting raw materials.

The task of the geopark today is to preserve the industrial heritage and narrate the history of stone and industrial mineral production and so acknowledge the accomplishments of craft sector, industry and business over the past 150 years. At the same time, this serves to create an appreciation of the industry today and promote the acceptance of raw material production today and in the future. As a result it will be possible to recognize any necessary landscape interventions as part of the long-term development of the industrial cultural landscape.

Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff

Gleisbergbruch Rochlitzer Berg, Foto: Frank Schmidt

The rocks from Rochlitz Hill were already used during the Bronze Age to make grinding stones for milling corn. These implements have been dated to be 3000 years old.

Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff has been broken in Rochlitz for churches and gravestones since the Romanesque period. The most famous building is the Benedictine Monastery Wechselburg with its grand architectural details and valuable sculptures.

The utilization and popularity of Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff increased during the Gothic period. A few examples are mentioned here: Rochlitz Castle and the impressive choir and nave of St. Cunigunde Church in Rochlitz. From early on, the rock was also used for constructing bridges: in 1333, for the bridge in Bad Düben and 100 years later for the massive dimension stone bridge in Rochlitz over the Zwickauer Mulde.

The first stonemason guild-house was built in Rochlitz presumably in the 15th century. The traditional association of stonemasons and quarry owners was called the “Rochlitzer Hütte“ and it remained the umbrella organisation for quarrymen and stonemasons until the 19th century. The old town hall (Alte Rathaus) of Leipzig is considered to be one of the most important buildings of this time. Two of the last commissions carried out in the name of the Rochlitzer Hütte was the massive stone bridge over the Zwickauer Mulde in Wechselburg (1844 to 1846) and the Friedrich-August-Tower on Rochlitz Hill (1859).

Castle with “Porphyry Show”

Porphyry Show Castle Rochlitz, Foto: Dirk Rückschloss

For some time now, the former courtroom in Rochlitz Castle from 1588 houses the “Porphyry Show”. Countless exhibits and informative panels allow you to explore the formation of the Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff and the development of quarrying in Rochlitz. In addition to 18th century tools, you will see the hiking guide written by quarry owner Johann Gottlieb Schilling from the 1820s, a facsimile of the deed from King Ferdinand II from 1621 and different porphyry sculptures from the 12th /13th century and later.

Developments in the quarry

In its company vita, the quarrying and stone processing company “Vereinigte Porphyrbrüche auf dem Rochlitzer Berge“ currently operating on Rochlitz Hill cites a long history as “Rochlitzer Porphyr-Manufaktur since 1585“.

The company refers to the quarry operated by the first stonemason of the Haberkorn family since that date. The quarry owners of that time, whose names are closely linked to the quarries on Rochlitz Hill, joined together to form a new economic umbrella organisation in 1897 – by their own account the third limited company in Saxony (GmbH). The founding members were the stonemasons and quarry owners Emil and Oswald Haberkorn, Clemens and Otto Seidel and Emil Schilling from Wechselburg. Since then, the stonemasons of Rochlitz have left their mark on numerous constructions for the state railway line Chemnitz-Leipzig, including the Göhren Viaduct, the stations Cossen and Rochlitz and all milestones. Increasingly the public sector discovered the rock for schools (Rochlitz), industrial architecture (Iron Works in Hof and Schwarzenstein), universities (buildings and greenhouses in the Botanical Gardens of Leipzig), mansions and town halls (Colditz, Groitzsch) as well as gravestones and monuments. Numerous church renovations and rebuilding measures at the beginning of the 20th century increased the demand for “Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff”. Competition from abroad increased as transport across Europe improved. From 1907 to 1909 a dimension stone plant with modern saws was built near the goods station Breitenborn. A siding was built to link the plant to the Royal State Railway of Saxony and thus to the rapidly growing cities Leipzig, Chemnitz and Dresden, and others such as Hamburg.

Leipziger Innenstadt

Underground Trade Fare Hall, Leipzig; Foto: A. Krüger

Among the most important buildings of those years are those of the Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse and the underground trade fair hall in Leipzig and the Grassi-Museum in Leipzig. The rock also found widespread use all over the German-speaking area for decorating gravestones and monuments. The gravestone of Immanuel Kant in Königsberg was made from “Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff” in 1923.

The rocks from Rochlitz Hill can also be found adorning many important bridges. An example worth noting here is the famous Poppelmann Bridge over the Mulde in Grimma.

After the end of WW2 in 1945 the family Haberkorn retained ownership of the quarries until they were nationalized in 1972. In 1990, the operation was returned to Ruth Haberkorn. Then in 1991 the company Kalenborn KG from Essen took over production. One of the biggest commissions was providing the cladding for the new Catholic church for the community of St. Trinitatis Church in Leipzig.

Get to know more about Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff at “Porphyry House“ – the Geoportal on Rochlitz Hill!

Excerpt from: Geopark Brochure “Geopark Porphyry Land. Saxony’s Wealth of Rocks” (2020): Dr. Viola Heß, Dr. Kurt Goth, translated by Michael Walker

Granite Porphyry Tuff

Thick layers of magma and tuff were deposited in the Northwest Saxon Volcanite Complex. Liquid rock material intruded into the existing rocks to form dikes.

Beuchaer Granitporphyr, Anschliff, Foto: A. Hartmann

Granite Porphyry, polished, Foto: A. Hartmann

The Beucha granite porphyry is a magma body that solidified around 1 kilometre below the ground surface (sub-volcanite) during the Permian (Rotliegend). The company Gunther & Fiedler was the first to recognize the special qualities of the Beucha granite porphyry for the natural stone market in 1884. The enterprising managers invited two Bavarian stonemasons to Beucha, who were tasked with testing the utility of the rock for their craft. The blocks proved to be more than just suitable for processing in stonemason’s workshops and for sawing and polishing. The innate properties such as hardness, high pressure resistance, resistance to freezing and thawing, water impermeability and the ability to take a polish opened up new prospects for utilization in construction and architecture. On top of this, there was the abundance of granite porphyry in the locality.

In the wake of these results, new stonemasons were recruited in Beucha and a training program was started. In the heyday of Historicism and Art Nouveau, the city of Leipzig developed a huge demand for building materials. The steps and foundation cladding of the grand private houses in the Waldstrassen Quarter are made of Beucha granite porphyry. This stone was also used in the construction of Leipzig Central Station, the German Library (today German National Library), the former Supreme Court of the German Reich (today Federal Administrative Court) and for the restoration of the Old Town Hall.

Völkerschlachtdenkmal in Leipzig, Foto: LTM, Andreas Schmidt

Monument to the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig, Foto: LTM, Andreas Schmidt

In 1894 the municipal council of Leipzig decided to build a Monument to the Battle of the Nations. All visible parts of the monument are constructed with Beucha granite porphyry. The 300,000 ton structure was built with 26,500 stones that were extracted in the quarry “Sorge“ and the quarry Kirchbruch in Beucha. 1560 stonemasons and 450 workers were recruited from Bavaria, the Fichtel Mountains and Italy to Beucha.

The 1st World War nearly put an end to the stone industry in Beucha. Only a fraction of the former workforce remained in employment, initially producing road surfacing. However demand for processed dimension stones from Beucha for building bridges and buildings increased again in the 1930s. WW2 quickly halted this development. In October 1945, the three large natural stone companies in Beucha were disowned and disassembled by the Soviet military administration and finally taken over by the VEB Granitwerke Beucha. The technical equipment remained in a desolate state until the 1960s. However the reputation and skill of the experienced technicians and stonemasons ensured the realisation of more assignments: the Monument of Meeting in Torgau, parts of the Buchenwald Memorial and bridges for the canals in Amsterdam. Demand increased in the 1960s with the new housing program. Over 15,000 square meters of granite porphyry slabs were used just in the centre of Leipzig. Just before the German Reunification the stone industry in Beucha received a large assignment for the concourse of Leipzig Central Station. The modernized stone production plant was closed in 1996.

Beucha – Village of Stones

Around 3000 people live in the village Beucha that quite rightly calls itself “Village of Stones”. The appearance of the village is characterised by quarries. The hill church of Beucha is reflected in the quarry lake of the former Kirchbruch quarry in the village centre. Kirchberg hill was already revered by the Slavs as a cult site. The medieval church should have been sacrificed in order to extract stones in th 19th century but was saved by the then priest. Today the hill church and are the landmark of the village and a popular photo motif.

Kirchbruch, Beucha

Kirchbruch, Beucha, Foto: W. Hebold

The climb up to the church begins at the arch of the water tower. On a fine day, it is possible to see the Monument to the Battle of the Nations and look into the quarry “Sorge“, were the stones for the restoration of the Monument to the Battle of the Nations and the reflecting pool were produced. The abandoned quarry “Tollertbruch” is located just outside the village on the road to Brandis. A quarry tub from the quarry, several blocks of granite porphyry and an information panel are a reminder of the stone producing activities in this quarry. From the Kirchbruch along the August-Bebel-Strasse stands the Monument for the Quarryman, erected in 1984 to commemorate 100 years of stonemason tradition in Beucha. It was a conscious decision not to include figurative depictions, to ensure that the focus lies on work of the stonemason and not the sculptor. It was designed by the sculptor Hans Forster from Leipzig.

Kirchbruch Beucha, Stelen zur Veranschaulichung der verschiedenen Gesteinsarten der Region Leipzig, Foto: Anja Hartmann

Concrete column at the Kirchbruch Beucha, Foto: Anja Hartmann

Just a few steps away on the parking lot stand the remains of the former hoist for lifting the broken rocks from the Kirchbruch: two five meter high reinforced concrete columns that could not be blasted. In 1988 the idea was born to use the concrete columns to present the dimension stones produced in the former GDR. The graphic designer Gerd Nawrot and the geologists from the company “Elbnaturstein Dresden“ were the consultants for the implementation. The surroundings were designed by the local community. Here one can still compare and admire granite, syenite, quartz porphyry, diabase and syenite granite from different parts of Eastern Germany.

Excerpt from: Geopark-Brochure “Geopark Porphyry Land. Saxony’s Wealth of Rocks” (2020): Rainer Habel, translated by Michael Walker.

White Gold

Geological Overview

The subtropical climate during the Upper Cretaceous and into the Lower Tertiary facilitated deep weathering of all surface rocks. Kaolin is a product of this process. The individual deposits consist of basins holding up to 30 m thick kaolin accumulations. These basins are separated from each other by areas with thin kaolin deposits or porphyry ridges.

Kaolintagebau Schleben/ Crellenhain, Foto: Kemmlitzer Kaolinwerke GmbH

Kaolin open cast quarry Schleben/ Crellenhain, Foto: Kemmlitzer Kaolinwerke GmbH

The Kemmlitz Kaolin Works
The history of the KEMMLITZER KAOLINWERKE (Kemmlitz Kaolin Works) goes back 135 years. As a result of the special qualities of the kaolin the Kemmlitzer Kaolinwerke has been a steady supplier for the ceramics industry for a long time. Thus, different types of kaolin from Kemmlitz can be found in various sanitary ceramics products, wall and floor tiles, in technical ceramics and in fine, white porcelain tableware.

The kaolin deposits near Kemmlitz were already discovered in the 18th century. Industrial production began in 1883 in subsurface mines with four different operations between Kemmlitz, Börtewitz and Querbitzsch. The first open-cast pit was opened in 1928 to meet the growing demand for kaolin by the industry. The operations were nationalized in 1951 and merged to form the nationally owned company (VEB) Vereinigte Kemmlitzer Kaolinwerke (United Kemmlitz Kaolin Works), which existed as part of a larger combine until the political transition. After the reunification the VEB was initially transferred to a privatisation agency. Following a number of changes in ownership, the Kemmlitzer Kaolinwerke have been a branch establishment of the Caminauer Kaolinwerk since 1999. Today the company mainly produces kaolin for the national and international ceramics industry. The clients value the kaolin for its ability to bake to a white colour and the wide application for different types of porcelain and other fine ceramics products. The product range and key markets have been extended considerably in the past few years. The company uses state-of-the-art technology to produce kaolin. Today the Kemmlitzer Kaolinwerke operate the pits Schleben/Crellenhain and Glückauf.

The production plants, open-cast pits and tailings dumps are all located on the premises of the Kaolin works. Once mining activities have been completed the areas are reclaimed and can be used for agriculture and forestry. In addition to this, lakes surrounded by pioneering forests have developed in the former pits. These are now valuable biotopes for threatened animal and plant species.

Excerpt from: Geopark Brochure “Geopark Porphyry Land. Saxony’s Wealth of Rocks” (2020): Heidrun Anger, Thomas Henkel, translated by Michael Walker.

The history of the quarries in the region Wurzen/Grimma

Advent of the Industrialization

The construction of the first long-distance railway line between Leipzig and Dresden (from 1835 to 1839) was the starting point for systematic rock extraction in the region. Growing industrialisation called for a rapid expansion of the transport network. This in turn meant that there was a growing demand for stones. In the mid 1830s, brothers Carl and Gustav Harkort initiated the organised extraction of quartz porphyry. As a result of the very high pressure resistance and other material properties, quartz porphyry is especially suitable for producing hard core and road metal as well as paving stones. Several production sites were opened in the hills along the Mulde. In 1862, Friedrich Zachmann founded a quarry company in Lüptitz. In addition to this, several quarries were opened in the area around Grimma and Brandis.

Qaurry Hohnstädt, Foto: Archiv Museum Steinarbeiterhaus Hohburg

Rock extraction was hard manual work until the end of the 19th century. The stones were loaded by hand. Wood wheelbarrows were used to transport the broken stones. Horse carts took the stones to the buyer or the next railway station. The quarry owner only provided stone carriers and wheelbarrows. All workers had to provide their own tools.

Industrial rock extraction began around 1890. The working conditions in the quarries improved with the introduction of tippers on tracks. The connection to the railway network was the prerequisite for extending and the survival of the quarries. This is why the companies operated steam locomotives on their own connecting railway lines or ropeway conveyors to the loading stations along the railway lines. Chamberlain Adolf Freiherr von Schönberg, who was responsible for rock extraction operations at the Zinkenberg and Gaudlitzberg quarries, built a private railway connection to Doberschütz in 1896. This line was used to transport paving stones to Berlin, Potsdam as well as to North Germany.

Crushed stone and high-quality grit facility Zinkenberg, Foto: Archiv Museum Steinarbeiterhaus Hohburg

In 1899 the individual quarry companies around Röcknitz joined forces to form an economically powerful company, the “Hohburger Quarz-Porphyr-Werke Aktiengesellschaft Röcknitz“. Soon extraction and processing were modernized, stone crushers were introduced to break up the quartz porphyry, compressor plants were installed to provide pressurized air and the quarries were hooked up to the power grid.

The first experiments with “artificial roads” with an asphalt surface began in 1925. In the wake of this development, a new rock crusher was installed in the Zinkenberg quarry near Röcknitz. As the demand for grit increased, a new fine grit plant was put into commission in 1934. A number of asphalt batch mixers were added later. In the mid-1920s, a new railway line was built between Wurzen and Eilenburg via Böhlitz.

End of the war, political change and new machinery

However developments were hindered with the outbreak of WW2. Production was stopped at all quarries after the end of the War. Many quarry companies were disowned in 1946 and became assets of the people. The quarries north of Wurzen were combined to form the Quarz-Porphyrwerke Lüptitz und Collmen-Böhlitz. Something similar also happened to the quarries around Grimma. Production in the quarries started again with very few workers.

Stone cutter’s huts at the Hengstberg Quarry near Hohnstädt, early 1930s, Foto: Archiv Museum Steinarbeiterhaus Hohburg

Shovel excavators and lorries greatly facilitated transport in the 1950s. The complete mechanisation of the quarries effectively put an end to the hard physical labour. In 1963, all quarries in Röcknitz, Böhlitz and Lüptitz and later in Hohnstädt, Trebsen and Grosssteinberg were combined to form a nationally owned enterprise – the VEB Splittwerk Röcknitz-Hohnstädt. The following years saw the replacement of old means of transport with new and bigger technology: lorries capable of loading 10 tons were superseded by 27 ton dump trucks. More powerful excavators were employed. A new rock crusher and grit plant was installed in Trebsen. However, by the mid 1980s the quarries also felt the intensifying crisis in the state-directed economy. Increasingly the plants were operated until they were worn out.

The large state combines were dissolved and privatised in the wake of the social changes of 1989/90. The Sächsische Quarzporphyr-Werke (SQW) GmbH Röcknitz was founded under the auspices of the trust company.  The Philipp Holzmann AG and a medium-sized company bought the shares of the SQW GmbH. Following the takeover, the owners invested primarily in new loading and transport technology. The old operation Lüptitz made way for a new plant for manufacturing crushed rocks and grit in 1994. Following the insolvency of the company Holzmann AG in 2002 the SQW GmbH was sold to the Basalt-Actien-Gesellschaft.

Excerpt from: Geopark Brochure “Geopark Porphyry Land. Saxony’s Wealth of Rocks” (2020): Ralph Schubert, Matthias Zeipert, translated by Michael Walker.

The Faïence and Stoneware Manufactory Hubertusburg

The Seven-Years-War ended in Saxony in 1763. The conflicting parties signed the Treaty of Hubertusburg, finally putting an end to this first global war in Europe and beyond. The Electorate of Saxony was in a catastrophic state at the end of the war. Castle Hubertusburg was deserted. In order to prevent the castle falling into complete disrepair, the Elector in Dresden ordered provisional repairs of the building and that it should be put to use again.

Hubertusburg Stoneware, Foto: M. John

During this time, in 1768, the painter and experienced potter from the Meissen Manufactory called Tännich, turned to the electoral court and requested support to further develop a product similar to faïence from Delft. He had already gained a wealth of experience, first as a painter then as factory manager, in Strasbourg, Frankenthal, Witt/ East Friesland, Jever and Kiel. In 1770, Elector Friedrich August III granted him permission to open a factory in the buildings of the “Deutscher Jägerhof” (“German Hunting Estate”) of Castle Hubertusburg and allowed Tännich to transport his products on the post roads, which were normally reserved for electoral business only. Production was limited because the Porcelain Manufactory Meissen had a great influence on the local factory, only permitting a single firing and repeatedly imposing restrictions on production. DAfter the Seven-Years-War it became very difficult for the Porcelain Manufactory to sell its expensive products in poverty stricken Saxony. People preferred to buy imported faïence. Thus the Meissen Manufactory was initially quite happy to see the demand for cheap products met by the factory in Hubertusburg that was under their control and in their own country. Somewhat later, Meissen allowed the factory to add a second firing step. This allowed the production of a much finer product that was similar to porcelain. Initially the products were manufactured and stored in Hubertusburg and sold at St. Michael’s Market in Leipzig in 1771. The Hubertusburg stoves were very popular.

The privy council and Chief Equerry, Count von Lindenau seems to have been the first to fund Tännich and his enterprise and found a new manager in Johann Gottfried Förster. Lindenau was now inspector and proposed the possibility of improving firing procedures to the head of state in 1776. The Elector took a liking to this suggestion and took over the Manufactory. The Elector immediately authorised the conversion of additional buildings on the castle premises for the factory. The directorate was taken over by lord chamberlain Count von Marcolini, who had joined the Saxon court as a nobleman in 1752 and had become one of the closest confidants of the Elector. At the same time, Marcolini was also general director of the Porcelain Manufactory Meissen from 1774 to 1814. Generaldirektor der Porzellanmanufaktur Meißen.

British Competition and Consequences of the Continetal Blockade

Stoneware tureen from around 1800 with the fake “Wedgwood“ stamp; Foto: M. John

Thus a new period began for the Hubertusburg factory in 1776. In 1720, the English potter Astbury invented stoneware, which was later improved by his fellow countryman Wedgwood in 1750. The density and hardness of English stoneware came quite close to that of porcelain and quickly replaced the coarse Delft Faïence. Only very few faïence factories survived this development, mostly by producing tiles or converting to stoneware production. In 1776, the Hubertusburg factory opted for the latter. At this time, Wedgwood was producing a line of pottery called “Queen Ware” among others. From then on, this line was copied in colour and form in Hubertusburg. Even the stamp “Wedgwood“ was copied and used to deceive customers.

The operation had to be enlarged in 1799. The continental blockade against England during the Napoleonic Rule presumably also had a positive effect on product sales from Hubertusburg, since they were selling “rare” English stoneware here and abroad (even though they were forgeries!). As the demand for raw materials increased, a suitable deposit was found in 1780 just a few kilometres away in Pommlitz. As of 1814, more pits were opened near Neusornzig  Mahlis, Mutzschen, Glossen and in Kemmlitz. The Hubertusburger Manufaktur was the key driver of kaolin extraction in the current Kemmlitz Kaolin District to the present day.

When the continental blockade was lifted in 1815, sales dropped significantly. Marcolini died in 1814 and Förster was an elderly and ill man by then. During the German Campaign the allies put Saxony under the rule of the Imperial Russian General Government, who transferred factory administration to the Porcelain Manufactory Meissen. When Elector Friedrich August was reinstated as King of Saxony, all products were stamped with “K. S. St. F. H.“ – Königl. Sächs. Steingutfabrik Hubertusburg from January 1, 1817 onwards. The King decided to continue stoneware production on his own account and used all his power to stop decreasing sales. New raw materials were used to improve glazing and hardness. The master painter Keting from Meissen created special designs for Hubertusburg and also served as artistic consultant.

However, it was too late – the economic demise of the factory in Wermsdorf was irreversible. The main reasons for this were probably the lifting of the continental blockade (real English stoneware returned to the European market) and the newly established factories in Colditz, Rochlitz, Dresden, Pirna and Steyermühle near Nossen. The Hubertusburg workshops finally closed their doors in 1848.

Excerpt from: Geopark Brochure “Geopark Porphyry Land. Saxony’s Wealth of Rocks” (2020): Manfred John, translated by Michael Walker.

The narrow gauge railway network of Mügeln and kaolin transport

Döllnitzbahn – through the Döllnitz Valley on narrow tracks – since 1884, the narrow gauge train travels through the Döllnitz valley in the middle of the Saxon Heathland following the river to the former

Döllnitzbahn, Foto: N. Friedrich

largest narrow gauge station in Germany in Mügeln. The steam train is fondly called “Wilde Robert“. According to the story it was named in honour of a train operator who had a wild driving style. In the beginning the train mostly transported sugar beet and other agricultural products. Later, from 1889 onwards, the narrow gauge railway was also used as a means of transporting locally mined kaolin.

Over the decades the line was extended to a total length of 91.7 kilometres. In the early days of kaolin transport the clients used the excellent inland harbour in Strehla by the Elbe river. This enabled agricultural products and the valuable kaolin to be shipped all over the world. The volume of transported goods to Döbeln increased in Autumn, when the harvested sugar beets had to be brought to the factories in Oschatz and Döbeln within a few weeks.

By the mid to the end of the 20th century the network became increasingly obsolete and traffic was slowly reduced until only the connection between Oschatz and Kemmlitz remained for transporting kaolin. Today the Döllnitzbahn is used for school and tourist traffic and attracts many visitors to Mügeln every year.

Much has changed over the past decades in the once largest narrow gauge railway station in Germany. Tracks were renewed, buildings restored and the outside area beautified. Several valuable trains have been restored thanks to the friends association “Wilder Robert“ and the company Döllnitzbahn GmbH.

Bahnhof Mügeln, Foto: S. Geist

Trainstation Mügeln behind Döllnitzbahn, Foto: S. Geist

Since August 24, 2019 the old station building has also been given a new task. In view of the regional importance of the raw material kaolin in connection with the narrow gauge railway, the Geoportal Bahnhof Mügeln was installed here. The multi-media show “World of Kaolin” allows visitors to take a look at Kaolin mining activities since the 18th century and the history of the Döllnitzbahn. The 100 year old steam locomotive “Sächsische IV K” is operated on selected weekends and bank holidays as well as for special events. The traditional Easter, Whitsun and “Hot Wine” tours are especially popular among visitors. The Bahnhofsfest (Station Festival) takes place on Open Monument Day and Halloween with presentations from local associations and an attractive program.

Excerpt from: Geopark Brochure “Geopark Porphyry Land. Saxony’s Wealth of Rocks” (2020): Kerstin Helbig, translated by Michael Walker.

Glossen – living testimony of historic loading and transport technology

Loading ramp Glossen, Foto: R. Heinze

The large volume of agricultural and industrial products transported on the narrow gauge railway network around Mügeln after the inauguration in 1884 soon made this the economically most successful narrow gauge railway of the Royal Saxon State Railway. The railway network continued to expand and reached peak size during the heyday of the railway before the outbreak of WW1. The operation of the railway was governed by the needs of the cargo traffic. Cargo had to be loaded and transloaded from carts or works railways onto the narrow gauge railway and unloaded and transferred from narrow to standard gauge waggons in the goods stations or at the loading harbour on the Elbe river. These operations required specialised technical equipment. The conservation of the numerous surviving relics of this engineering achievement and industrial development of the region Mügeln– Wermsdorf–Oschatz is in the hands of the heritage associations as well as the communities and is supported by public funding and by the Geopark Porphyry Land.

Historic loading ramp Glossen

The loading ramp for kaolin at Glossen station went into operation in 1899 after the railway section Mügeln – Neichen was opened. The raw material was transported by horse and cart from the nearby pits was loaded into tubs. At the ramp the kaolin was tipped into the waiting train wagons. In 1903 the kaolin pit owners were provided with an own siding directly connected to the narrow gauge network, which significantly improved the efficiency of transporting raw kaolin and kaolin sludge. The railway company was responsible for bringing and picking up the railway wagons to and from the works connection. To transport the kaolin they used standard gauge transport wagons, which were rolled onto narrow gauge transporter trailers (rollbocks) using special ramps at the loading station. When the quartzite quarry in Glossen was opened in 1925 the loading ramp was also used to transload the broken rocks from the works train. Since the closure of the narrow gauge section Mügeln–Neichen in 1972 and the dismantling of the tracks at Glossen station the loading ramp is no longer in use.

It took until 2006 when the State Garden Show was held in Oschatz, for the vision of the friend’s association “Wilder Robert“ for rebuilding the narrow gauge section to Glossen was realized. Since then the newly founded Döllnitzbahn runs steam and diesel engine trips through the beautiful landscape of the Döllnitz Valley much to the pleasure of the passengers.

Döllnitzbahn, Foto: N. Friedrich

Changing from the narrow gauge railway to the Feldbahn

Today the former loading station Gossen is an attraction for train enthusiasts, since it is here where three track gauges come together in one place: the 600 mm-Quarzite-Feldbahn (industrial railway) and the 750 mm narrow gauge railway meet here and the standard 1435 mm gauge rolling stock is also presented. On the days of operation the Döllnitzbahn and the Association for Presenting the Feldbahn Glossen, passengers at Glossen station can change from the narrow gauge railway to the Feldbahn and travel to the quartzite quarry, which was closed in 1990. Thanks to the commitment of the association, this important relic of historic stone production has been preserved in the Geopark Porphyry Land, including working machines such as stone crushers and bucket-chain excavators in an authentic setting. The association has installed an interesting quarry and feldbahn museum in the former social building of the quarry.

Excerpt from: Geopark Brochure “Geopark Porphyry Land. Saxony’s Wealth of Rocks” (2020): Rebecca Heinze, translated by Michael Walker.