The Mansfeld copper road - opportunity or pipedream?
Metal ores, especially much-demanded silver and copper, were mined in the Mansfeld region for thousands of years. The mining and smelting had a strong impact not only on the environment but also on society, individuals and culture in general - even after the closure of mines due to restructuring in the wake of German reunification. The words of a Tyrolean rhyme from about 1520 - "This and everything you can see, we owe to the mining industry" - are especially true of the Mansfeld region. Yet it is noticeable that people living there are growing less aware of the unique importance of the mining industry.
Since German reunification the Mansfeld region has changed more than at any time before because the centuries-old foundation of life in the shape of mining has vanished, giving way to other industries and service companies, but these are not an equivalent replacement. There is still a great shortage of jobs, and the promised "flourishing areas" have not materialised yet, though it can be noted that much has already been achieved.
The article first takes stock of the numerous industrial monuments in the Mansfeld region. Then it advocates that this unique cultural heritage be used for tourism, which can be seen as a chance to bring about a general recovery of the region.