AIA Saxony 2018
AIA Spring Tour
14th - 20th May 2018
6 nights, full-board, from £695
Booking is now closed
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked federal state of Germany, bordering the federal states of Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, and Bavaria, as well as the countries of Poland and the Czech Republic. Its capital is Dresden, and its largest city is Leipzig. Saxony is the tenth largest of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of 18,413 square kilometres, and is the sixth most populous, with 4 million people.

Historically it was a significant industrial area and the Erzegebirge (Ore-mountains) that form the natural border with Bohemia to the south had important mining interest from the Bronze Age to the Atomic Age of the middle to late 20th Century.

In a programme rich with visits to unique and fascinating sites we plan to include:
  • The (Lignite) Mining Technology Park
  • The gasholders at Dresden
  • A former coal briquette factory
  • A former uranium mine
  • An historic textile weaving mill
  • A preserved lime works
  • An historic silver mine with horse gin
  • A 17th Century Hammer Mill
  • A ribbon weaving factory
  • The former energy factory village of Knappenrode
  • An underground hydro-electric installation
  • A cruise on an historic paddle steamer on the Elbe
  • A ride on a narrow gauge steam railway to the highest station in Germany
The tour is all-inclusive: Dinners, lunches, bed & breakfast.

The tour starts and ends at our hotel in Chemnitz. Optional coach transfers will be provided between Prague and Chemnitz at the start and end of the tour.

Non-AIA members are most welcome.
Several of the visits are still subject to confirmation. We cannot at this time guarantee that they will all be included but we will make every effort to do so or find suitable alternatives. The order of visits may also change.
Monday 14th May
Members of the group make their own way to our hotel in Chemnitz which lies southeast of Leipzig and southwest of Dresden.

15:00 The optional coach transfer from Prague International Airport (Vaclav Havel) , about 2.5hrs
19:00 Dinner at the hotel.

Evening talk:  "The Mining Cultural Landscape Erzegebirge / Krušnohoří - Proposal for inscription on the World Heritage List" by Prof. Helmuth Albrecht of Freiberg University

Tuesday 15th May
In the morning visit the Sächsisches Industriemuseum in Chemnitz which should complement Prof. Albrecht’s talk to give an overview of the Industrial Heritage of the region. We then drive to Dresden.
After lunch we will visit the famous gasholders (left) and, inside one of them, the Panometer a panoramic display relating to Dresden.
Then we will see the former Ernemann Camera Factory later Zeiss-Ikon and from 1946 VEB Pentacon. The building is now home to the Dresden Technical Collections with more than 30,000 objects from the industrial, technical, and everyday history of the last 150 years: cameras, typewriters sewing machines, televisions, mechanical musical instruments, computers, and industrial products manufactured in the GDR.
Alternative afternoon trip: After lunch, instead of the afternoon visits in Dresden, travel by local train to the Meissen factory. Here there will be a guided tour in the museum, the Meissen ArtCampus and the demonstration workshop. Return to Dresden station by train. This option is subject to minimum and maximum numbers. Please indicate on the booking form how many of your party are interested in this option. There is an additional charge.
At the end of the afternoon join the paddle-steamer Diesbar, chartered exclusively for the group, for a dinner cruise on the Elbe. The Diesbar was built in 1884 and uses an oscillating engine built by J Penn & Son of Greenwich.

Wednesday 16th May
Today we make an early start heading east, arriving first at Großröhrsdorf well known for its tradition of ribbon weaving which goes back to the 17th century. The Jacquard loom arrived in 1834 followed by the steam engine in 1855 creating a considerable upturn in productivity. At the end of the 19th century Großröhrsdorf had 32 ribbon factories and over half a century later there were still 480 ribbon weavers working here on 560 looms.
A three-storied building of the former firm I. G. Schurig, constructed in historical factory architecture, remained in use until 1990 and now houses the Technical Museum, which presents the practical development of ribbon production from simple homebound belt looms to complex industrial automatic machines. The collection includes a hundred year old single cylinder steam engine that has been classified as a technical monument since 1986.
We finish the morning with a visit to the energy factory and workers’ village of Knappenrode - a monument to brown coal (left). Around 1914 the natural landscape of heathland and coniferous forest was replaced by this vast open cast brown coal mining operation and briquetting plant. Production began with the first briquetting plant in October 1918, with two other plants subsequently being built. After 1945 the plant was renamed "Glückauf" and production continued. 
In 1965 the plant turned out more than one and a half million tons of briquettes. But modernisation was neglected and the plant stagnated and closed in 1993, leaving a legacy of historic machines that form the nucleus of a museum collection.
The workers lived in specially-erected housing outside the factory gates. This was a true factory village - the company owned the houses, the store, a guest house, a community centre and a railway station, even a company owned cemetery. The workers and families used the factory bath-house so the houses needed no bathroom. When retired, they came back and used the bathhouse on Saturday nights and this remained a social event.
After lunch, on the way back to Chemnitz, we stop at the Three Brothers Pit. Mining in the Freiberg region probably began around the year 1168 after a silver find near the former Christiansdorf although the first documentary evidence of mining dates from 1511. Water was needed to drive the mining machinery and since the natural supply from the local waters was not sufficient, a wide-ranging system of artificial waterways was created and completed in 1882. After mining ceased the idea of using the existing water potential for the production of electrical energy was born. Thus, the cavern power plant was built at a depth of 272 meters in the Drei-Brüder-Schacht, which was put into operation on Christmas Eve 1914 with 4 machine sets producing a mean annual output of 11 million kWh. The cavern power plant was finally shut down in 1972.
Dinner at the hotel

Thursday 17th May
We leave Chemnitz heading west towards Hartenstein. This region of Saxony was the home of SAG/SDAG Wismut a uranium mining company in East Germany during the time of the cold war. It produced a total of 230,400 tonnes of uranium between 1947 and 1990 and made East Germany the fourth largest producer of uranium ore in the world at the time and the largest single producer of uranium ore in the control of the USSR. Shaft 371 was one of the last Uranium mining sites to close and we plan to see and hear more about the operations here.
  On our way from Hartenstein we will stop to see the strong>Göltzsch Valley Bridge (left) the largest brick-built bridge in the world, and for a time the tallest railway bridge in the world. It spans the valley of the Göltzsch River and was built between 1846 and 1851 as part of the railway between Saxony and Bavaria.
After lunch in Crimmitschau we vist the West Saxon Textile Museum. The first factory buildings of the 'Tuchfabrik Gebr. Pfau' were built in 1885 and remained in family ownership until 1972. Its size and completeness in original historic buildings and machinery make it unique in Central Europe. We can follow the production line of woollen cloth beginning with the raw wool to the packed rolls of fabric. The machines are demonstrated by former employees.
On our way back to Chemnitz we can look in on the textile mill at Niederwiesa, which dates from about 1800. It was owned from 1910 by Martin Tannenhauer, who established a textile business here in 1883. Production ceased in 1994 with the rationalisation of the textile industry in the former GDR. The building has comprehensive displays on three floors detailing the history of weaving and a range of hand looms and ten power looms of 1921-1955. A short demonstration can be given to visitors.
Dinner at the hotel
Friday 18th May
In the morning our first stop will be at the Lime Works at Lengefeld. The history of limestone mining in and around Lengefeld reaches back to the middle of the 16th century. At first it was only quarried in an open pit but underground mining was established in 1921. At first only quicklime was produced but eventually the mine changed over to produce chippings. It is said to be the last mine in Saxony and the last on the German side of the Ore Mountains to transport men and materials into the mine via vertical shafts.
Our next stop is in Marienberg. From the 15th century horse gins were widely used in mining in the region with sometimes up to eight but mostly two horses being used to drive the winding equipment. In this way it was possible to reach depths of 250 metres. One example is the horse gin at the Rudolph Pit which was used until 1877 when steam power arrived. We can see a demonstration of the re-constructed gin and descend 20 metres into the pit.
Moving on to Fronhauer we can see a mill which has been in use since the first half of the 15th century. Starting as a flour mill it became a mint, an oil mill, a copper and silver hammer mill and finally an iron works before being rebuilt in its present form after a fire in 1692. The “Frohnauer Hammer“ is one of only a few hammer mills in Saxony that are completely functional and preserved in situ.
After lunch we proceed to Cranzahl to board the Fichtelbergbahn (left) a narrow gauge steam service taking us to Oberwiesenthal the highest town in Germany.  
Dinner at the hotel

Saturday 19th May
In the morning we depart in the direction of Leipzig. To the south of the city our first visit is to the Mining Technology Park. Lignite, or Brown Coal, mining ceased soon after reunification and within a short time virtually the whole infrastructure of this mining disappeared. But here we can find preserved two of the hugely impressive surface mining machines: the bucket-wheel excavator (approx. weight: 1,300 tonne, built in 1986) and the overburden spreader (approx. weight: 2,400 tonne, built in 1985)
  After lunch in the city we will see the Leipzig Hauptbahnhof (left) which is the central railway terminus in Leipzig. At 83,460 square metres, it claims to be the world's largest railway station measured by floor area. It now has 19 overground platforms housed in six iron train sheds, a multi-level concourse with towering stone arches, and a 298 metre long façade. The station was opened in 1915 but heavily damaged in 1944. It was fully restored to its original design by 1965 and modernised in 1997.
We can also take a look at the former Public Butchery, now a broadcasting centre.
Also the Buntgarnwerke a factory founded in 1887 as the “Saxon combed yarn factory” considered to be one of the largest preserved Industrial Heritage buildings in Germany – now used as residential and office space.
On the way back to Chemnitz we will see a former brown coal briquette factory of 1887 at Neukirchen, rescued from demolition in 1995 it is now re-used for leisure purposes.
Dinner at the hotel
Sunday 20th May
The tour ends after breakfast at our hotel.
08:30  Optional coach transfer to Prague, about 2.5hrs
Helmuth Albrecht, Professor of the History of Technology and Industrial Archaeology at the Technische Universität Bergakademie, Freiberg will join us at some sites. We will be led by local English speaking guides at a number of the sites. We have attempted to secure guides who will give us information at a level suited to the knowledge and experience of the group but this is not guaranteed.
We will be staying in the Chemnitzer Hof Hotel, Theaterplatz. 4, 09111 Chemnitz. All rooms are en-suite with Flat-Screen Smart TV and Radio including Sky Sport and National league; Direct dial telephone; Safe; Bathrobe and slippers; Hairdryer. There is a lift to all floors and free Wi-Fi is available.
The tour starts at the hotel on the Monday evening and ends after breakfast on the Sunday morning.
We leave you to make your own travel arrangements to and from Chemnitz to suit your own convenience and use of alternative departure points. I will be flying from London to Prague and back and I will let you know which flights I am using in case you would like to travel on the same flight.
Detailed joining instructions will be supplied about two weeks before the start of the tour.
Travel during the tour will be by luxury, air-conditioned coach.
All site visits will include some walking which may include stairs.
All participants must carry a valid passport for travel in the European Union.
The cost of the trip is £695 per person sharing with a single supplement of £200. The supplement represents the additional cost applied by the hotel for single occupation of a double room. The cost includes:
  • A programme packed with visits to fascinating sites
  • 6 nights dinner, bed & breakfast accommodation
  • Lunch on 5 days
  • Entrance fees at all sites, private boat trip and visits, steam rail trip and local guiding fees, all of which amount to more than EUR 80 per person
  • Luxury air conditioned coach transport throughout including driver tip
  • Expert guiding and services of an experienced tour manager throughout
  • Research for the visit and professionally produced, comprehensive tour notes
Excluded are:
  • Drinks and any other expenses at the hotel
Additional cost options:
  • Monday 14th : Transfer from Prague International airport to Chemnitz, £30 per person
  • Tuesday 15th : Visit to the Meissen factory, approximately £26 per person
  • Sunday 20th : Transfer from Chemnitz to Prague International airport, £30 per person
All prices are quoted in Pounds Sterling (GBP) whilst most of the costs are in Euros (EUR). Major changes to exchange rates, accommodation, transport costs or taxes may necessitate a price change.
For this unique and very full itinerary we believe the price represents excellent value for money.
Please note that cancellation charges will apply from 19th March 2018 and, although these will be modified to the extent that costs are not actually incurred, you are strongly advised to insure against the need to cancel and to cover medical treatment and repatriation charges in the event of illness etc.
Participants who do not have travel insurance must nevertheless accept full responsibility for these eventualities.
To get state-provided healthcare in Germany UK citizens will need a current EHIC which you can obtain free online at or by phone: 0300 3301350. If you already have an EHIC you should check the date as they expire after 5 years.
Booking and management of this tour has been entrusted to Heritage of Industry Ltd which is run by Bill Barksfield. Bill is Overseas Tour organiser on the AIA Council and will accompany the tour.
Bookings will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to space availability. Booking is subject to a minimum of 40 and a maximum of 50 people . Book as soon as possible and by 19th March 2018 to ensure a place but please feel free to enquire after that date if a place is still available. We will contact you as soon as possible to confirm the booking and to issue an invoice for the balance of the price. Invoices for the balance of the price will be issued about 8 weeks before the tour starts.
A non-refundable deposit of £70 per person is required on booking. Bookings can be made definite only when the booking details and deposit are received and accepted in writing/email by Heritage of Industry Ltd. The company's standard terms and conditions apply.
The balance of the price is to be paid to Heritage of Industry Ltd on presentation of the invoice. All monies paid to Heritage of Industry Ltd will be held, in accordance with government regulations**, in a customer protection account until the tour is complete so that your money is safe no matter what happens.
Payment should be made via your bank’s online banking facilities, the necessary details are shown on the confirmation of booking. Please send an email note when you have made payment. Non-UK residents please note the changed BIC and IBAN, the UK clearing code and account number are unchanged.
If you are unable to use electronic banking please send a sterling cheque drawn on a UK bank made payable to Heritage of Industry Ltd. There is no extra charge for using cheques at present.
We are sorry that we are unable to accept payment by credit/debit card or PayPal.

Booking is now closed

Enquiries about this tour should be directed to:
Bill Barksfield Managing Director
Heritage of Industry Ltd,
The Gables,
20 Main Road,
East Hagbourne,
Tel: +44 1235 352275 (9am - 5.30pm GMT)

** The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (SI 1992 No. 3288)