The history of Marienberg began in 1521 with the discovery of rich silver deposits in the heart of the Erzgebirge. At that time in Europe, the Renaissance was overcoming the confinements of the dark middle ages to open the way toward a newly enlivened spirit filled with a natural sensibility. Being founded just at the moment when a new cultural epoch was dawning, with a new image of humanity, provided both opportunity and challenge for Marienberg.
The orderly layout of the landmarked city remains today as the only preserved Italian Renaissance ideal city north of the Alps. The square marketplace is one of the largest in Germany with an area of 1.77 hectares, and was extensively restored between 2009 and 2010. Today, many preserved monuments and portals still bear witness to the beginnings of the Renaissance in the Erzgebirge.
Two special witnesses to the historical mining past of Marienberg have experienced their own special renaissance at the beginning of the 21st century. With the reconstruction of the visitor’s mine works known as, “Pferdegöpel auf dem Rudolphschacht in Lauta”, a horse-driven hoist structure from the 18th century, an above ground and underground mining ensemble came back into operation in 2006 as a demonstration site for visitors.
The historically revealing mining storage depot, constructed in the years 1806-1809 because of the devastating famine of 1770-1772, is the last remaining grain silo from the mining period in the Erzgebirge. In 2006, after extensive reconstruction, it became the home of the bilingual “Saxon-Bohemian Erzgebirge Museum.” To this day, the four-story quarry stone structure fascinates visitors with its interior heavy wood beam construction, which penetrates all the stories of the building. The economic development of Marienberg was primarily based upon silver and tin mining. Alongside, a guild artisan industry flourished together with a notable market presence connected with long-distance trade along the market roads between Leipzig and Prague.
Today, Marienberg’s success as a business location serves as an anchor for the culture of the mining city. Whether one considers SCHERDEL Marienberg GmbH, numerous small and mid-sized businesses, or especially the large Federal Armed Forces garrison—all of these serve to connect the economic and the cultural life of Marienberg.