Lusitania, past and present of a coal mining region

Photo Catherine Gras

There are many coal, or more precisely lignite, producing regions in Germany and one of its regions lies between Brandenburg and Saxony, both regions of the former GDR.

These regions are undergoing strong economic and social but also environmental change. The end of lignite production, which will probably last for another ten years, is giving rise to significant changes in the landscape.

In fact, lignite here is mined in the open air, over considerable areas, and the closure of the mines often results in impoundment. It is therefore a landscape that is currently being transformed into a lake area. Tourism around these lakes should help regenerate a struggling local economy.

The end of the mines also gives rise to an enhancement of the industrial heritage.

Welcome to the land of gigantism, with mining machines that can be visited today. Not recommended for those who are afraid of heights.

View from below:

View from the top:

PTo visit the F60:

Not all the mines are closed yet, and villages are still being destroyed regularly by the growth of operations. It is also quite complicated to access the mines themselves. Nevertheless, there are a few observation points that allow one to see the extent of these operations and their environmental consequences.

If you have the curiosity to look at satellite views of the area, you will notice these impressively large open-cast mining areas.

On the way to the Polish border, in Brandenburg, it is worth stopping to visit Cottbus, a town that lived off the wealth of its mines. This will be the subject of my post next week.

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