Project 29: ENERGY Heritage Route of Lusatian Industrial Culture

Journey to the giants

Everywhere in Lusatia, the visitor encounters symbols of the lignite and energy industries so deeply rooted in the region, with the region’s industrial history and its sweeping transformation from a huge open-cast mine to a lake district dramatically reflected in the landscape. Some monuments to industry – like the F60 spoil conveyor bridge in Lichterfeld – are already popular mining-themed visitor attractions. But there are still plenty of the region’s industrial treasures waiting to be »discovered.« This is the purpose of the »ENERGY Heritage Route of Lusatian Industrial Culture«, which connects ten industrial attractions so they can be experienced as a combination.


Lusatia’s vast reserves of lignite placed it among the cradles of industry in Germany. Mines, briquette factories, coking plants, brickworks, power plants, glassworks, and textile factories sprang up all over the region. Everywhere, chimneys rose into the sky, and bulldozers bit into the earth. After 150 years of industrial history, Lusatia is home to a host of superlatives: Germany’s oldest Garden City, Europe’s oldest original lignite-fired power station, and the biggest spoil conveyor bridge in the world, to name but a few.
The end of the GDR was also the end for many coal mines, power plants, and factories. Many industrial sites were shut down, and subsequently demolished.


When the IBA was being founded, many buildings were about to be demolished or were in a derelict condition. The IBA included outstanding industrial constructions in the region’s landscape and structural transformation by suggesting designs that would incorporate them as symbols of the past. Once closed off from visitors, these production sites have become tourist attractions.
The »ENERGY Heritage Route of Lusatian Industrial Culture« project involved the IBA working with its partners from the regional tourism and marketing associations, the local bodies responsible for individual projects, and external experts to create a tourism network of industrial monuments that would reveal how the different levels of the historic Lusatia energy industry interacted at every level and reveal the Lusatian Lake Land in its character as a technologically determined landscape. Imposing industrial complexes and mining landscapes compellingly demon-strate how coal is transformed into energy.

Today, visitors can walk on mining machinery like the F60 spoil conveyor bridge at Lichterfeld, tour the Plessa power plant’s impressive control room, or see how an old briquette press works in Domsdorf. They can also view one of the most modern lignite-fired power plants in the world: the »Schwarze Pumpe,« with its futuristic architecture and almost sterile cleanliness. Cottbus’ diesel power plant is an example of a different source of energy, somewhere between these two extremes. Today, it is an art museum with a historic atmosphere. It presents collections and non-permanent exhibitions.
Anyone who wants to can take a step back in time by going to events like the Nachtschicht (night shift) at the Knappenrode energy factory or take a stroll through the wonderfully restored German Garden City Marga. Visitors can also tour the active Welzow-Süd open-cast mine – an unforgettable experience featuring huge machines and a canyon landscape! And the IBA Terraces in Grossräschen – with a visitor centre right next to the future Lake Ilse – are an ideal location to start any exploration of this fascinating »transforming landscape.«

These ten sites – five of which are IBA projects – have come together to form the »ENERGY Heritage Route of Lusatian Industrial Culture,« thereby bridging the gap between what the region used to be and what it will be in the future, when the Lusatian Lake Land is complete.
As part of the project’s development, all the project partners came up with a three- stage marketing strategy founded on product quality. All ten locations concentrate in their own special way on the theme of energy, and all of them are worth a visit. But they all welcome their visitors in a different way. Highlights are easy-access tourist attractions with all mod cons, sightseeing locations have less in the way of services, and insider tips are attractive places with no visitor centre as yet, where guided tours are only available by a prior appointment via the telephone.


The ENERGY Route is a recognised regional route in the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH), a network for tourists that connects important pieces of industrial history. This is a network of historic sites that impressively and engagingly showcases Europe’s varied industrial history and European industry’s shared roots. The ERIH route is constantly growing, and the Lusatia route also has space for more locations. Their common aim is to increase the relevance and profile of the industrial culture that has shaped our society in so many different ways and continues to do so. At the same time, the ENERGY route supports Lower Lusatia’s transformation from a mining region to the Lusatian Lake Land by helping the region’s tourist industry to prepare for the future.



Besucherzentrum IBA-Terrassen, Phone: +49 (0)35753 - 2610
Besucherbergwerk F60, Phone: +49 (0)3531 - 60 8014
Sächsisches Industriemuseum ENERGIEFABRIK KNAPPENRODE,
Phone: +49 (0)3571 - 60 42 67
KunstMuseum Dieselkraftwerk Cottbus dkw., Phone: +49 (0)355 - 49494040


Technisches Denkmal Brikettfabrik Louise, Phone: +49 (0)35341 - 94005
Industriedenkmal Kraftwerk Plessa; Phone: +49 (0)3533 - 6072-0
Kraftwerk Schwarze Pumpe, Phone: +49 (0)3564 - 35 33 17 (guidance on enquiry)


Biotürme Lauchhammer, Phone: +49 (0)3574 - 870473 (guidance on enquiry)
Gartenstadt Marga, Phone: +49 (0)3573 - 64 031 (guidance on enquiry)
Tagebau Welzow-Süd, Phone: +49 (0)3564 - 69 51 41 (guidance on enquiry)

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last update: 1/26/2017 13:13