Fell Exhibition Slate Mine

Fell Exhibition Slate Mine

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The Fell Exhibition Slate Mine is a former slate mine in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 located about 20 km east from Trier
Trier
Trier, historically called in English Treves is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC....

 (Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

) and about 60 km east of Luxembourg (city)
Luxembourg (city)
The city of Luxembourg , also known as Luxembourg City , is a commune with city status, and the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is located at the confluence of the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers in southern Luxembourg...

 (Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

) near the villages Fell and Thomm
Thomm
Thomm is a municipality in the Trier-Saarburg district, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, near Trier on the river Moselle.The Fell Exhibition Slate Mine is adjacent to Thomm.-External links:* *...

. The exhibition mine
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 can be visited every day from April to October. The Exhibition Mine consists of two typical roof slate
Slate
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering...

 mines
from the turn of the century, situated one above the other, a slate mining trail and a small mining museum
Museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

.

Mine underground



The Barbara-Hoffnung Exhibition Mine in the Nossern Valley, between Fell and Thomm, consists of two typical roof slate
Slate
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering...

 mines from the turn of the century, situated one above the other. The upper gallery, Hoffnung ("Hope"), was first mentioned in documents dating from 1850, and the lower gallery, Barbara, in documents dating from 1908. Both mines
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 are connected by 100m of stairwell.
The guided underground tour takes an hour.
During the winter months, slate miners saw no sunlight
Sunlight
Sunlight, in the broad sense, is the total frequency spectrum of electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. On Earth, sunlight is filtered through the Earth's atmosphere, and solar radiation is obvious as daylight when the Sun is above the horizon.When the direct solar radiation is not blocked...

 for months on end. Seventy metres below ground visitors witness the sun rise in a breathtaking chamber.

Since 1994, the Fell community, aided by public support (including grants by the European Community), has restored two former roofing slate mines in Fell and converted them into an exhibition mine. In the course of these developments, two especially interesting mines, the Barbara Mine, which is situated approximately 25m higher than the second, Hoffnung (Hope), were connected by a sloping tunnel. The driving was initiated from the Barbara stoping level and leads to the fourth chamber of the Hope Mine. The exhibition mine was opened to the public in 1997. Since the exhibition mine has been opened, visitors have been able to tour the extensive subterranean tunnels, drifts, imposing chambers, chutes and mighty pack walls and get an idea of the hard and dangerous work of a slate miner. Figures on display in the mine, realistically illustrate the hard work of miners in a slate mine.

The slate mining trail


The trail leads through the scenic Nossern Valley, past the relics of historic slate mining: imposing, terraced dumps, old mine cars, trails formerly used to transport the slate and now nearly completely overgrown, singular and quaint entry tunnels, all of which are a witness to the mining industry and past effigies of Saint Barbara, patron saint and helper in times of need for the miners.

The layout of the Slate Mining Trail was conceived in such a manner, that everyone, depending on their level of fitness and interest, can plan their own individual route.

In front of the entry tunnels to the mines, ten slate roofed information boards are to be found. The slate roofing was donated and completed by the Rathscheck Schieferbergbau company, Mayen and lovingly designed in different roofing styles.

With the mine map
Map
A map is a visual representation of an area—a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, regions, and themes....

 on the information board, visitors can gain insight into the size and complexity of each mine system. There is also information on the history of each mine, the periods of operation and the number of galleries etc.

Museum mine and wine


Adjacent to the exhibition mine, visitors find a small documentation centre, Mine and Wine, which exhibits curious and rare slate mining and wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 making tools. A non-stop video
Video
Video is the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion.- History :...

 presentation illustrates the modern state-of-the-art slate mining in Europe (length approx. 12 minutes) taking place in the Rathscheck Slate mine near Mayen
Mayen
Mayen is a town in the Mayen-Koblenz District of the Rhineland-Palatinate Federal State of Germany, in the eastern part of the Volcanic Eifel Region. As well as the main town, there are five further settlements which are part of Mayen, they are: Alzheim, Kürrenberg, Hausen-Betzing, Hausen and Nitztal...

. The small museum
Museum
A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities...

 also has an impressive statue of Saint Barbara from 1897 on display.

Traditions



The most important bearer of the mining tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

 in the former mining towns of Fell and Thomm are the Miners’ Orchestra Fell and the Miners Orchestra Glück-Auf Thomm 1927 e.V., both established in 1955, but with a traceable history going back to 1871.

The Fell Buglers have maintained the tradition of bugling for the hunt for years. If the weather and their time are permitting, the buglers practice Sunday mornings at the Fell Exhibition Mine and signal for the hunt. Anyone interested in listening to the Hubertus March, the Jäger aus Kurpfalz (Hunter from Palatinate) or the Parforce March is welcome to join the morning pint Sundays at the Fell Exhibition Mine. The traditional airs Sau tot! (lit. Boar Dead!), Hirsch tot! (lit. Stag Dead!), Hase tot! (lit. Hare Dead!), Begrüßug (lit. Welcome), Sammeln der Jäger (lit. Gathering the Hunters), Jagd vorbei (lit End of the Hunt) and other melodies from the hunt are part of the Fell Buglers repertoire.

Every year on the second Sunday in Advent
Advent
Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday, called Levavi...

 (the Sunday following the Saint’s Day of Saint Barbara on the 4th of December) a traditional parade of the Fell Miners’ Orchestra called the Bergparade takes place.

Every two years in the time leading up to Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 the Friends of the Exhibition Mine organise a matins in the mine for their members. Solely by the light of candles and pit lamps the participants descend into the mine. At individual points in the mine, former miners describe their hard work while contemporary witnesses talk about their wartime experiences. They relate to a time, when the mines were bunker and home for the citizens of Fell and Thomm. Musical contributions, prayers and poems are presented in honour of St Barbara.