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museum fuer naturkunde chemnitz


 “A forest of precious stones – given by volcanoes – the Sterzeleanum“ (at first floor)

Precious stones of wood?
Almost 300 years ago, a forest of stone was found in Chemnitz – a sensation that still has some mysteries. Later it was agreed, that the petrified wood ist too precious to be used as jewelry. It is a desired research subject for many generations and its rarity makes it a tourist attraction. Experience the intense fascination of petrified wood in the years of the rapid industrial expansion in Germany. Learn about the work of an Electoral Saxon gemstone-inspektor and avid collectors, and meet the father of the Chemnitz ‚Petrified Forest’. Listen to what Goethe said about the petrifications and listen to a group of amused scientists singing satirical songs about the errors of their admired colleagues.




A tropical oasis…
Come with us into the past of the Chemnitz valley, like it was 290 million years ago, in the Permian. Experience a hot landscape of swamps and deserts, wide floodplains and grumbling volcanos. Explore the exotic flora and fauna of a time, when even the idea of flowers and blossoms, meadows and grasses and, not to mention, dinosaurs, was not existent. In that time, dragonflies had the size of wild ducks and armored millepedes of more than two metres length searched cover under tree ferns.


…destroyed and conserved by the volcano
This opulent life had no chance in the light of the coming catastrophe. Massive clouds of volcano ash darkened the sky and took away the air to breathe. In the east of Chemnitz a volcano broke through with an enormous explosion. Its lava rolled down the valley with the multiple speed of an hurrican, accompanied by the thunder of elemental forces. 30-metre-trees were cut down like they were matches and our little tropical oasis was buried under a mighty layer of ash. See a multimedia presentation of what can hardly be described verbally, feel the restless earth and let boulders of whinestone fly around yourself.

But where do we know all this from?
Learn how geologists and paleologists use criminalistic flair to interpret leavings and traces of past life, and how the fantastic and endless book of rock formations becomes understandable. Feel how astonishingly close to the viewer the far-away millions of years can be, how they are reconstructed or just join the research. Be aware that there have never been more questions than there are now although the knowlege about this distant world has never been better before.


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