The Gold Mine ”Aurelia” in Złotoryja

The first great “gold-rush” in the Złotoryja region took place at the turn of the XI and the XII centuries. The area situated in the Kaczawa River valley was one of the richest in auriferous sand deposits places in Europe (they held approximately 0.15 to 0.2 grams/ton of gold). The annual output of a pure gold was 50 kilograms. The settlement was assigned the city rights in 1211 what makes Złotoryja the oldest Polish town. The excavation of gold was finished after the Napoleonic Wars. Due to the fact that the deposits of gold were depleted, several following attempts to reactivate the mine were unprofitable. It is said that during the centuries of the gold-rush, there were approximately five tons of gold excavated.
A 100 meters long adit was hewed out in 1660 at the slope of Saint Nicholas Mountain. It was used as a copper ore exploratory adit. A year later there was a small quantity of a mixture of copper with silver obtained from the output in the nearby temporary ironworks. However, the ore exploitation was unprofitable. There are none notices confirming neither the gold excavation itself nor the quantity of the possible output. The shaft was hewed out manually along the quartz reef set in the old Paleozoic slates and the volcanic diabase.
The adit was opened to tourists in 1973. The conversion was done by the miners from the nearby copper mine “Lena”. Even though, the adit was not directly associated with the gold excavation, we cannot deny its worth as a significant old mining structure. In 1998 during the adit exploration works, there was a 28 meters deep vertical shaft discovered. It was called the “Karol’s Shaft” after the name of its founder-Karol Pawlaczek. In November 2000 there was a new branch of the adit discovered. The present name of the adit, which is “The Gold Mine Aurelia”, was given in the 1990s. It is associated with gold – aurum and one of the first XIII century Latin town names – Mons Aurum dated back to 1217. Just above the mine, there was a church under the invocation of Saint Nicholas surrounded by the grave yard. It is said, that those who died there were “buried in gold”.

 Another sources indicate that the mine might have a connection with the cellars of the Saint Nicholas Church. However, the entrance to the cellars was never found. There is an air-shaft and several side passages diverging from the main passage. The adit itself is shrouded in mystery – it is not located on any of the old maps. Furthermore, it is possible that a part of the passages might have been blown up by the German troops in 1945. The evidence may be the elements of the German weapons found in the “Karol’s Shaft”.
The temperature in the tunnels is stable – approximately 8 degrees Celsius. The passages are low and narrow and the humidity is high. The adit is unavailable for the disabled people. There is a big parking place in front of the adit suitable for several buses.
The mine is open from May to September and is available prior to buying the tickets. The administrator of the mine is the ‘Złotoryjski Ośrodek Kultury i Rekreacji’

The other building associated with gold is the municipal Museum of Gold situated in the historical building dated back to the second half of the XVII century. It is integrated into the defensive walls of Złotoryja. In the museum one can find information about the history of the town, its relation to gold exploitation in the area and the complex mineralogy of the region. One can also get in touch with, for instance: the different gold minerals formations including the “Kaczawskie” gold-like minerals, the exploratory tools and the collection of the minerals and rocks of the leading Lower Silesian collectors.
The administrator of the museum is the “Złotoryjski Ośrodek Kultury i Rekreacji”

Edited by Andrzej Mateusiak
Translation: Andrzej Rudkowski


On the map