The Upper Harz region’s water channeling network is unique in the world and was declared a World Heritage nature and culture site by the UNESCO in 2010. It consists of 107 historical ponds, 310 kilometers of canals and 31 km. of water “runs”. The system was set up more than 800 years ago by Cistercian monks in order to produce the water power for medieval machinery used in the mines.
A sophisticated network of storage ponds and conduits once powered the pumps and waterwheels of the silver, lead, copper and iron mines in the Harz. This harnessing of water power caused the area to develop into a major metal supplier of Europe. The facilities of the Upper Harz Water System have been designated as historical monuments and are still partially in use, for supplying drinking water to cities far away.