Goslar was established mainly as a mining town, being just in the shadow of the Rammelsberg Mountain. Silver was discovered there in the 10th century, and the town immediately prospered from this - becoming known as "the treasure chest of the Holy Roman Empire". The town soon became a favourite summer residence of the German Emperors. In the later Middle Ages both lead and zinc were discovered in the vicinity. With this further boost to the local economy, Goslar was soon ranked as one of the most prosperous communities in Europe.
Two large fires swept through Goslar in 1800, destroying a large
number of buildings there. But in spite of this, and the bombing of
the Harz area in the Second World War, much of the town's historic
architecture remains intact. In fact, Goslar is home to almost 1500
buildings dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries - 168 of which
are from before 1550. Today the entire town now enjoys the status
of a protected monument.
Rammelsberg is a 2086 ft (636m) mountain at the edge of Goslar. The mines there served the town from the 10th century right up until the 1980s, when the mine was finally exhausted. The site was quickly awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, and there is now a museum detailing the history of the mine, and some of the industrial equipment used in it.
The Kaiserpfalz was built by the German Emperor Henry II at the beginning of the 11th century, after silver had been discovered in the mine nearby. The grand structure was designed as a summer residence, and was used as such for many years, though it was almost destroyed by the fires of 1800. However, it was restored by Kaiser Wilhelm I in 1868, and it is now the largest Romanesque palace to have survived anywhere in Europe. Now the palace is open daily, and the stunning interior is a joy to discover.