• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland
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  • 9 June 2017

    The historic silver, lead and zinc mine in the Tarnów mountains and their water supply systems, unique to any geographical area and cultural context, has been proposed to join the list of UNESCO World Heritage, a decision to be taken between 2-12 July 2017 in Krakow during the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee.

    It is the largest and most important lead-silver-zinc mine in Poland, with an integrated groundwater management system that was the largest of its kind in the world. Its lead production during the 16th century played a key role in European silver casting, and its 19th century zinc procurement dominated the world's architectural metal supply. The mine, and associated industrial concerns of the Prussian State, became the foundation of the German industrial revolution in Silesia, and adapted an irrigation system to supply water to both the population and industry.
    The mining and water management system was built on a leveled and technically challenging terrain, at a gently rolling plateau with an elevation between 270-300 m above sea level (the difference between the highest point and the lowest is less than 50 m). This is unusual, as most European deposits of lead and silver are located in mountainous terrain, an occurrence that strongly influences drainage techniques. In contrast, this underground system comprises a basin of more than 50 km of main drainage tunnels and 150 km of tunnels and access axes of secondary drainage, along with prolific mining steps of production. This network is complemented by a water management infrastructure, both above and below ground, connected directly between them.

    The unusually accessible underground heritage is maintained by a conservation community that has its roots in the 1930s, with uninterrupted formal activity since 1957. Such a commitment demonstrates the strength of the mining industry at the heart of Silesian cultural tradition. This nomination demonstrates the support and continuation of Poland's contribution to the conservation of the world's most important underground mining heritage.
    The following BOOKLET has been prepared by the National Heritage Institute, together with the Friends of Tarnogórska Association.


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