The town of Freiberg in the east German region of Saxony played an important role in the history of mining, thanks to the rich mineral and metal deposits of the nearby Erzgebirge mountains. The local technical university, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, also profited from these conditions, assembling one of the largest and most comprehensive mineralogical collections in the world.
The massive Terra Mineralia exhibition is housed inside the Renaissance-era Freudenstein Castle, where it spans five floors. Among the staggering 3,500 exhibits are mineral formations of incredible size, outstanding beauty, and unbelievably odd shapes. The ground floor hosts a “schatzkammer” (treasury) where the most breathtaking stones are on display.
Besides local minerals, the exhibition displays a variety of precious gems from across the globe, since Freiberg geoscientists were very active in joining excursions around the world.
The museum also displays the private collection of Erika Pohl-Ströher, a chemist, collector, and former owner of one of the world’s largest hair care companies, Wella. Pohl-Ströher donated her treasures to the Terra Mineralia museum in 2008, and a newly discovered mineral was later named in her honor.
Know Before You Go
The museum is open from Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.