Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes Show Mine
"If these grottoes were in America rather than Germany, people would long have come from all over the world to see them!" This was said by Professor Ernst Haeckel, a famous naturalist in his time, in 1914, when the Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes Show Mine was opened. On 22 December 1913, scientists discovered the most beautiful part of the Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes, namely the Fairytale Dome. "And when the light of the lamps penetrates the darkness - who dares to say a word! The Fairytale Dome stands before its discoverers with its Holy Grail Castle, awe-inspiring, sublime, illustrious in untouched purity and glory," writes Hermann Meyer, one of the discoverers.
Fascinated by the beauty of the Fairytale Dome, Berlin banker Adolf Mützelburg decided to make the old "Jeremias Glück" mine accessible to the general public. So he opened the show mine to visitors on 31 May 1914. It is amazing that the grottoes were already lit by electric light when they opened, since far from every household had electricity at the time. Since then, more than 19 million guests have visited "the most colourful show grottoes in the world."
Scientific studies were also able to prove that the former mining gallery was beneficial to health. As early as 1937, the "Emanatorium", Germany's first inhalation healing gallery, was opened in a separate section.
Today there are also additional programmes in the Fairy Grotto Park - the Little Fairy World Adventure Forest, where young and old can explore the magic fairy kingdoms, and the Grottoneum Adventure Museum with numerous hands-on stations on the topics of mining, stalactites and minerals. The fantastic setting of the Fairytale Dome can also be used for weddings underground.
31 May 2014 sees the centenary of the opening of the show mine, which will be celebrated with lots of different events.