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Tarnowskie Góry, Lead-silver-zinc mine and its underground water management system - Zabytek.pl

Tarnowskie Góry, Lead-silver-zinc mine and its underground water management system

World Heritage Tarnowskie Góry

Tarnowskie Góry

woj. śląskie, pow. tarnogórski, gm. Tarnowskie Góry

The property was inscribed on the List by World Heritage Committee in 2017.   Brief synthesis Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System is located in the Silesian plateau of southern Poland, in one of Europe’s classic metallogenic provinces. It possesses a monumental underground water management system that reflects a 300-year ingenious development of hydraulic engineering.

The mining and water management system was constructed in flat and technically challenging terrain, a gently undulating plateau at an elevation between 270-300 m above sea level; the difference between the highest and lowest points amounts to less than 50 m. This is unusual in that most European metalliferous deposits are located in mountainous terrain, an occurrence that heavily influenced drainage techniques, in particular. The underground system at Tarnowskie Góry experienced up to three times the volume of water inflow compared to other major European metal mines at the time and eventually comprised a water catchment of over 50 km of main drainage tunnels and 150 km of secondary drainage adits, access tunnels, shafts and extraction areas. This surviving network is complemented by substantial remains of the principal water management infrastructure, both above and below ground, together with directly connected surface elements that comprise essential mining landscape features.

The water supply system was planned, integrated and managed as part of a contemporary underground metal mining system, illustrating how, in a surviving and fully accessible mine context, modern steampumped water systems were developed using mining technology.

The integrated and symbiotic relationship of mineral extraction, mine dewatering and water supply, creatively developed at an early period under the same ownership, sets Tarnowskie Góry apart as being exceptional.

Criterion (i): Water Management System provides exceptional testimony to outstanding human technical creativity and application. It represents a masterpiece of mid-sixteenth to late-nineteenth century underground hydraulic engineering, its vast underground system representing the peak of European skills in such dewatering technology at a time when mining engineering provided the technical wherewithal for the development of the world’s first largescale public water supply systems based on the steam-powered pumping of groundwater.

Criterion (ii): Water Management System exhibits an exceptional interchange of technology, ideas and expertise in underground mining engineering and public water supply between leading mining and industrial centres in Saxony, Bohemia, Hungary, Britain and Poland. This led to the creation of a viable underground mine drainage network based on gravity freeflow, together with an integrated water pumping system that redistributed potable and industrial water to an entire region. This technical achievement, aided by the special natural attributes of the property, created a hotspot of industrial expertise in Silesia. The system still functions in much the same way as originally designed, supplying drinking water to the inhabitants of Tarnowskie Góry; an operation devised over two hundred years ago but which would be considered sustainable if conceived today.

Criterion (iv): Water Management System is an enduring technical ensemble of metal mining and water management, distinguished by a significant output of lead and zinc that sustained international metallurgical and architectural demands of the time, and a water system that ultimately drained the mine by gravity and met the needs of the most industrialized and urbanized region in Poland, and amongst the largest in Europe.



Category: cultural

Protection: UNESCO World Heritage

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_24_UN.1771