GERMANY: Hellenthal – Eifel – Bergwerk Grube Wohlfahrt – Historical Graffiti in Underground Mining

Reverse graffiti in the “Grube Wohlfahrt” visitor mine in the Eifel region

“Official” markings in mining are commonplace and necessary: In many underground tunnels and roadways of many historic mines, signs of the old surveyors (mine surveyors), cryptic Gedinge and heading signs (measure of the miners’ work progress or directional indication of the roadway heading), but also pit field boundary and breakthrough signs on the walls (“Stößen”) in underground mining can often be discovered. Until the beginning of the 20th century, these were mainly driven into the rock by hand using a hammer and chisel. Later, metal plates and grease crayons were preferred, and finally paint spray cans were used to make the markings or highlight old ones.

In a lead ore mine that has been closed for a long time and then reopened – today open to the public as part of a guided tour – you can also find the “private legacies” of the miners themselves as a curiosity and attraction alongside these official operational markings. All of the figurative representations, symbols, texts and numbers scratched or chiseled into the smooth rock faces of the “Deep Adit”, with which the ordinary miners “passed the time” during breaks or in unobserved moments, mostly in areas of the mine that were difficult to see, but also used to vent their frustration, fulfill the criteria of reverse graffiti – a rare genre anyway – and in a very special place: underground!

In addition to simple dates and mining symbols (in the form of “mallets and irons”), this visitor mine also features disrespectful “sketches” of higher-ranking superiors (miners) and state mining officials. More than 150 “drawings” and signatures can be admired. They bear witness to the working world underground from the period between 1893 and 1907.

This historical graffiti, which cannot be seen in any other European visitor mine, and many other interesting things, can be seen during a highly recommended, exciting guided tour of the “Grube Wohlfahrt” visitor mine near Rescheid (53940 Hellenthal, Euskirchen district, Eifel). It is well worth it! Glück auf!  –  Aurora Irxnschmoiz



Adress:  53940 Hellenthal, Euskirchen district, Eifel


 Opening Hours:  Daily guided tours at 11am and 2pm

Photographer  &  Author:   IRXNSCHMOIZ

Hashtag:  #irxnschmoiz



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