Even on our first visit, we really wanted to explore Zeitz underground. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out then due to time constraints, but on our second visit we were able to take part in a guided tour.
The meeting point for the tours is at the Altmarkt. The association runs a small shop there. But before you go underground, you are given a yellow mackintosh and a yellow helmet. I felt a bit like Bob the Builder, but I think the helmet suits me.
However, we did not go underground directly at the meeting point of the guided tour. First we walked a few metres through the city until we came to the Michaeliskirche.
Underground Zeitz – a guided tour
Our guide unlocks a nondescript front door. Behind it, steps go down into the depths, so we descend – I wonder what awaits us down there?
How were the tunnels created?
First we enter a barrel-like room.
Here we learn the most important facts that tell us about the formation of subterranean Zeitz.
The tunnel system was created in the Middle Ages. The entire system covers about 9 kilometres. Many areas are connected with each other and what is very amazing is that up to three floors, up to eleven metres, have been built into the depth.
To this day, the exact origin is not 100% clear. It is known that the cellars must have been built by experienced miners, but were obviously never dug for mining.
The vaults were used to store beer, which at that time was not only a drink but also food. Since there were no large breweries, each family brewed its own beer, usually once a year. In the cellars, one found a temperature of 12-13 degrees and a humidity of 90% all year round. The ideal place for cool storage. If one cellar was no longer sufficient, another cellar was built a little deeper with corridors and niches.
After the big breweries were built in the 19th century, the passageways lost their purpose. People began to fill their cellars with rubbish and debris. During the Second World War, the people of Zeitz cleared some areas and used the spaces as shelters. In GDR times, there were initial thoughts of making the passageways accessible again. It was only after the political turnaround and the founding of the association that the first sections were cleared and made accessible. In 1992, the first construction phase was completed and could be discovered by visitors.
Off into the Zeitz underground
Today you can go on a voyage of discovery about 700 metres below Zeitz. And that’s exactly what happened after the little historical excursion.
We climbed another flight of stairs deeper into the sandstone cellars. The air becomes more humid and the corridors are only lit by a little light. You have to be careful, nothing is standardised here – flat ceilings, crooked steps and narrow corridors. It’s good to have your helmet and rain jacket on.
We follow the path and I completely lose my orientation. It goes up and down, sometimes to the right and sometimes to the left – we stand in front of bricked-up private cellars or look into small niches. What a confusing and confusing underground Zeitz.
After almost 45 minutes we climb a staircase and stand in a barrel vault again. A door opens and we stand in the rooms where we got our helmets and jackets at the beginning of the tour.
I really enjoyed the tour of Zeitz underground. I am always amazed at what you learn about the life of a city when you are underground.
at present – Corona conditional
by arrangement (tel. or mail),
Group size 5 persons
hopefully soon again:
Tuesday, Thursday: 10-15 h
Wednesday, Friday: by appointment only (minimum 5 persons)
Saturday, Sundays, public holidays: 10am-4pm
Adults: € 7.00
Discounts are offered.
Disclosure: The guided tour Unterirdisches Zeitz was an item on the programme during our blogger trip to the Saale-Unstrut region. The report corresponds to our impressions and was written independently of the trip.