Monday, November 16, 2015

Saalfeld Fairy Caves The Enchanting Colorful Caves Of An Abandoned Mine

That the world is full with enchanting places that are not in a land far far away,  prove the Saalfeld Fairy Caves or in German Die Feengrotten  located just outside Saalfeld, in the German state of Thuringia.

These caverns that once were a home of an alum slate mine have long been known for their countless colorful mineral formations, formed over many years by water dripping through relatively soft rock.

There is no painter in the world as talented and skilled as nature (OK, maybe Monet is on the same level), and the magnificent burst of colors in these underground caves is maybe one of  nature’s best pieces.

Due to the iron and mineral-rich milieu an opulent spectrum of colors are to be found; particularly noteworthy are the more than 100 shades of brown.

In 1993, Feengrotten was acclaimed by the Guinness Book of World Records as  “the most colorful cave grottoes in the world.”

The mining began around 1530,  seeking for rather high-quality ore, the miners had discovered only alum.Historically, alum slate was used in a range of medicinal products, as a food preservative and in clarifying water. However, in the 19th century more effective chemical compounds were developed, and alum stopped being  profitable mining product. By the 20th century, the Feengrotten had been largely forgotten. But in 1910 the old mine was rediscovered and explorers took note of the fantastic mineral deposits that had accumulated over the geologically short period of three centuries.

The caverns consist of three chambers connected by galleries. In the first chamber, information is presented about the history of the mine — in the 16th to 19th centuries an alum shale mine that was closed in 1850 but opened for sightseeing in 1914.  On this floor there is also the Emanatorium the Feengrotten – opened on 10 September 1937 as one of the first healing caves in Germany.


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