Mines of Rammelsberg and Historic Town of Goslar (1992)

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Situated near the Rammelsberg mines, Goslar held an important place in the Hanseatic League because of the rich Rammelsberg metallic ore deposits. From the 10th to the 12th century it was one of the seats of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Its well-preserved medieval historic centre has some 1,500 half-timbered houses dating from the 15th to the 19th century. 

Germany 1971. Goslar.

Goslar began as a sleepy town located on the northwestern slopes of the mountains in central Germany. 

It began to develop as a mining town during the 10thcentury. This is the Frankenburg district with its rows of miner’s houses. 

The clock in the Markt Square in the town centre displays a puppet show telling the story of the town’s mining history.

  • Germany 1971. Goslar. 

According to legend, in 968, a knight reached the foot of the mountain, his horse tapped its hoof on the ground. They dug the spot and discovered high quality deposits of silver. Silver mining began by order of Emperor Henry II. It was one of the largest silver deposits in the world. Originally a strip-mine, mine workers gradually began cutting deeper into the ore, digging mineshafts. The biggest obstacle for mining in Rammelsberg was the huge quantity of underground water flooding into the shafts. A solution was found in 1250. A 10-meter wide water wheel was installed to pump out the underground water. The technological innovation brought further prosperity to the Rammelsberg mines. 

A statue of coins coming out of a man's buttocks humorously depicts the town`s heavy production of silver coins. Henry the Second built an imperial residence to protect and maintain the town’s prosperity. The Imperial Assembly of the Holy Roman Empire was held at the palace from 1009 to 1219. 

Goslar flourished as an economic centre during those 200 years, producing silver coins widely accepted widely Europe. 

The mines of Rammelsberg were used for a thousand years. The last mine was closed in 1988. That ended a major chapter in the town’s history. 

  • Germany 1993. Stylized landscape of the Harz Mountains and Goslar. 


Germany 1993. Harz Mountains and Goslar.

Germany 1972. Heinrich Heine.

The German poet, Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) wrote his famous work "Die Harzreise", while staying in Goslar in the Harz Mountains, thus immortalizing Goslar and surroundings. 

He was one of Germany's greatest poets, whose lyrics, poignant but on occasion also wittily satiric, have universal appeal. 

German Democratic Republoic 1956. Heinrich Heine.

Heine was born on December 13, 1797, in Düsseldorf, of Jewish parents. He attended schools in Düsseldorf until 1815. While staying with his uncle Salomon Heine, a Hamburg banker, Heine fell in love with his cousin Amalie, but this remained unrequited. This early experience may have been the source for the motifs of yearning, disappointment, and Romantic irony in his poetry though he rejected outright Romanticism. In 1819 he began to study law, first in Bonn, and then at the University of Göttingen. Discontented with the pedantic atmosphere of Göttingen, he moved to Berlin in 1821. There he came into contact with the German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel, who profoundly influenced his philosophic outlook.  

Early Poetry and Prose
Heine remained in Berlin until 1823, writing poetry. In 1822 his first volume of verse, Gedichte (trans. 1884), was published; it attracted attention because of the delicacy and lyrical beauty of the poems. From 1824 to 1825 he returned to the study of law. Because the profession of law was prohibited to Jews in Germany at that time, Heine became a Christian in 1825 in order to obtain a law degree; although he qualified, he never actually practised law. 

In 1826 Die Harzreise (trans. 1887), a prose account of a trip he had taken to the Harz Mountains, was published. This work, with its wit and grace of style, won success immediately and established Heine's literary reputation.  In 1827 his Das Buch der Lieder (trans. 1846) was published. In Lieder settings by the Austrian composer Franz Schubert and others, they have become the lyric poems for which he is best known. 

From 1827 to 1831 Heine lived in England and Italy as well as in various parts of Germany. During that period he wrote the three volumes of travel sketches that, with Die Harzreise, make up the four volumes of his Reisebilder (1826-1831; trans. 1887). He also wrote a number of prose works in which he displayed sympathy with the democratic ideas of the French Revolution and bitterly satirized the despotic feudal regimes of the German kingdoms and duchies.

  • German Democratic Republic 1956.  Souvenir sheet issued at the occasion of Heine's birth centenary. The quotation in Heine's handwriting on the sheet says:  "Ich bin das Schwert, ich bin die Flamme", meaning (poetically):  "I am the Sword, I am the Torch". 

German Democratic Republic 1956. Heinrich Heine. Souvenir sheet.

Heine became a prominent member of a literary group known as Young Germany, which attacked the German Romantic school for having come under monarchial and ecclesiastical domination. He had hoped to obtain a professorship of German literature, but his political ideas brought him into the disfavour of the established German governments. Seeking a more congenial political and literary atmosphere, Heine left for Paris in 1831. Except for two brief visits to his native land, he spent the rest of his life there.

Final Works
In Paris Heine wrote for several German newspapers and became a friend of writers such as Honoré de Balzac and George Sand and composers such as Louis Hector Berlioz and Frédéric Chopin. In 1835 the writings of the Young Germany group were banned in most of Germany, and Heine's income was considerably reduced.  In 1841 he married his mistress, a French shop-girl.  Four years later he contracted a spinal disease that confined him to his "mattress grave", as he called it, from 1848 to the day of his death, February 17, 1856.  Nevertheless, some of his most notable works date from the last years of his life.

Heine's personality was composed of sharply conflicting elements: a pagan joy of life and a feeling for Hebraic ethical values; a love of Romanticism and a hatred for the German Romantic writers of his time because of their subservience to reactionary political and religious forces; German patriotism and a humanitarianism that embraced the entire world; nominal Christianity and lifelong attachment to Judaism.  These conflicts created in Heine the spirit of disillusionment, of mockery, and of biting satire that characterizes so much of his writing. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Germany (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Germany for further information about such sites. 

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Revised 03 aug 2006  
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