Certifications - Tourismusverband Erzgebirge e.V. (tourism association), Annaberg-Buchholz
The black steamers have been puffing with power and grace through a landscape right out of a picture postcard, with picturesque little houses covered with red roofs on the left and a lush coniferous forest on the right. The locomotives, with their prominent pipes hissing with clouds of steam, greet the hikers down in the valley – right as they used to do more than 120 years ago. A ride on one of these historic narrow gauge railways through the Ore Mountains opens a window to remote times. Especially the section through the Ore Mountains was a difficult task for those who were planning the route, as trains would need to cross rivers and valleys using bridges and viaducts. Today, all these engineering efforts make for a unique and diversified train journey through this region. Operating on a total length of 55 km, the four lines of the Fichtelberg, Preßnitztal and Weißeritztal railways as well as the Schönheide museum railway pass through dreamy villages and picturesque landscapes. Today, over 10 steam engines are in regular operation. They are maintained and preserved for future generations by local narrow gauge railway enthusiasts. The narrow gauge museum in Rittersgrün and the railway museum in Schwarzenberg are another admirable example of commitment. There you can get a point blank look at different locomotives in their engine sheds. A bit smaller but as impressive are the five model railway layouts of the Ore Mountains.
They provide a detailed demonstration of real-life railways in miniature, for instance at the Modellbahnland Erzgebirge model railway park in Thermalbad Wiesenbad. With an area of 770 square metres (8,288 square feet), it is the largest layout in Europe in IIm scale (45mm gauge). It has 660 metres (2,165 feet) of Gauge I track and comprises 30 trains and some 450 buildings. Those who would like to see even more attractions can take a trip on the Augustusburg cable railway or the Erzgebirgische Aussichtsbahn (histortical train in the Ore Mountains), which crosses Markersbach Viaduct. The dense railway network of the Ore Mountains indicates a rich industrial heritage, which was fostered by the inhabitants of the region with passion and conviction.
It is thus not surprising that August Horch – the founding father of the Saxon automotive industry – designed and built his first vehicles in Zwickau over 100 years ago. Since that time, the German automobile and motorcycle industry has been associated with such names as Audi, DKW, Wanderer, Auto Union, Barkas, and Trabant; and with the current manufacturing sites of BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen in the cities of Leipzig, Dresden and Zwickau-Mosel. Numerous museums keep alive the memories of this development. For example, visitors of the August Horch Museum - one of the most modern technological museums in Germany - are invited to touch various vintage cars fit to drive. On an area of 3,000 square metres (32,292 square feet), the collection furthermore comprises rare historical posters, widely unknown contemporary documentaries and video animations. In addition, the development of two-wheeled technology has been documented very well, for instance at the motorcycle exhibitions at Augustusburg Castle and Wildeck Castle. So, for those who are interested in history, technology and engines, the window to remote times is always open in the Ore Mountains.