Abandoned mine Ofenkaulen
Abandoned mine Ofenkaulen

The Ofenkaulen are a tunnel system, former underground tuff quarries in the Siebengebirge. Today, they are a winter quarters for bats. When you are halfway up the L 331 motorway that leads from Königswinter to Ittenbach you see the driveway to Mount Petersberg on your left side and a bus station on your right side.

Some meters below the bus station a narrow path takes you into the woods to the Ofenkaulberg.

Since the end of the 18th century, one mined tuff here, working below ground, for the production of ovens. Those from Königwinter were well known throughout the region. When the electric ovens came up, the business declined, and in the 30ies the mines in the Ofenkaulberg were given up.

The reforestation at Ofenkaulberg hides painful memories of World War II,. When almost all of Cologne lay in ruins and the Allies continued their air raids, the Cologne-based Aero-Stahl Fluggerätebau GmbH moved its production to the Ofenkaulen in the Siebengebirge and brought in forced laborers in autumn 1944. Between 300 and 400 men and women had to work underground and make fuel injection pumps for fighter planes, under the worst conditions. Later, In February and March 1945 people from Königswinter sought shelter from air raids there.

Ofenkaulen, former side entrance
Ofenkaulen, former side entrance

Today, the mine is closed because it is an important winter quarter for bats; many can hibernate here safe and in peace.

Read more (German)
Klaus Bloemeke, Ofenkaulen

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