The university city of Freiberg embodies a fascinating mix of tradition and modernity. Silver mining, which began here in the 11th century, marked the face of Freiberg, which attracts visitors from all over the world today. A medieval city centre that has been almost entirely preserved impresses the visitor with its important cultural and architectural monuments, including the St. Marien Cathedral and the recently restored “Freudenstein Castle,” which houses one of the most beautiful mineral collections in the world as part of its mining archive of “terra mineralia.” Underground as well, it is possible to marvel at the impressive traces of the past in Freiberg and to admire the technical mastery of the mining folk. Included in the broad variety of the city’s cultural offerings are the instruments made by the master organ builder, Silbermann, which are played in regular concerts and competitions, and also one of the oldest local theatres still active in the world.
The legacy of the silver mines was also the foundation for Freiberg’s successful development into a modern economic and scientific centre, which is oriented to the urgent questions of the future. The University of Technology Bergakademie is among the most significant factors in this development. As a resource university, it has established an excellent reputation in the four areas – geosciences, energy, environment and material sciences – and as measured by the extent of its third party funding, ranks as one of the strongest research institutions in German.
It continues to successfully practice today what it was founded to accomplish in 1765: practice-oriented training and applied scientific research. Local enterprises share the benefits of this activity. Thus, for more than half a century, technical expertise in electronic material sciences has formed a secure foundation for Freiberg’s development into a worldwide centre for the semiconductor industry, and led it to become the solar capital of Eastern Germany. High innovative potential is likewise the starting place for the development of environmentally sparing processes for energy production and for developing innovative materials, which is placing Freiberg increasingly at the centre of public attention.