The first stop of the tour.
We begin our tour with an ordinary water well - the simplest technical device that used to be built in most house yards. It was also commonly used by miners. Technically, the water well - or rather its winch - was the simplest form of a mill. The only difference is that most mills worked in the vertical system: their mechanism was perpendicular to the ground surface. The well winch mechanism is parallel to the ground surface, so that it works in the horizontal system. However, the working principle remains the same - the rope wound around the wooden cylinder makes it possible to lift heavier loads.
Since it turned out that you could lift objects more easily by winding a rope around a cylinder, people started to look for a device that could be used for lifting much heavier objects. In the lift presented in our park, the cylinder around which the rope is wound is practically the same as in the well winch. However, another equipment was applied here, consisting of a flexible rope and 2 pulleys, usually made of wood. The block and tackle system enables force transmission, so that 50 times larger weights can be lifted than by using the cylinder alone.
Or treadwheel is just a kind of engine that transforms "life energy" - in our case, the human energy - into mechanical energy. Animals, such as horses or cattle, were also used in treadmills. Instead of using the power of the arms only, as was the case in the hand lift, the whole weight of the human body was applied for lifting weights up to 2000 kg. The wheels varied in diameter and construction - ours is 7 meters in diameter and weighs approximately 3 tons. It is a very efficient device, because the block and transmission system can be operated by a single worker. It must be very well balanced, and all its elements must be perfectly matched. It was usually built from locally available wood - mostly spruce and pine wood, although wheels made of larch or oak wood were, of course, more durable. Such machines were always constructed from fresh, wet wood, so that when it dried up, any empty spaces were filled and the construction became more rigid and homogenous.
This device used the power of human or animal muscles and a transmission to lift huge weights. Such vertical treadmills were the most common mining devices. In most illustrations of medieval mines, you can see the characteristic conical structure resembling an Indian tipi. It was the next step of the development of machines that began to grow in size - our vertical treadmill is almost 15 meters high and can lift weights up to a dozen tons.
Technology was also used for designing war and siege engines. We should remember that the Middle Ages were a period of constant small or large scale military conflicts. The knights and the clergy were the pillars of the medieval society. The war and siege engines made military operations and sieges more efficient and effective. Technology was brought into play by medieval armies very early, as can be exemplified by this ballista (from the Greek word meaning "to throw"). This ancient thrower was mostly used during sieges of towns and fortifications.
How did the Egyptians move huge stone blocks? How could the large rocks from the shaft - or here from the ramp next to the vertical treadmill - be transported to the crushing machine? It turns out that it is not so difficult at all. All you need is several logs with holes at both ends and matching wooden poles. You place the rock on wooden planks or directly on the logs and you can move it easily - even a single person can do that!
So far, we have demonstrated machines that were used in the mine. The crushing mill, which is a basic machine for processing ore, was part of a foundry. It is also one of the first machines driven by the power of falling water. Our mill has an overshot waterwheel. It is the most efficient mechanism for waterwheels of all. Only the water turbine was more efficient than the waterwheel, but it was only invented more that 100 years later.
The crushing mill consists of two integral elements: crushing machine and gold launders.
This is a new tourist attraction of our park. Since machines could be driven by the power of human or animal muscles and falling water, why not harness the power of the wind, too?
The main problem with this force of nature was its unpredictability - the wind is not always optimal. If it is too weak, the machine will not work at all. If it is too strong, it can damage or destroy the mill. We are mostly familiar with windmills used for making flour, but there were many other types, too. Windmills were applied for grinding and mixing pigments, crushing rocks for building purposes, weaving hemp ropes, pressing oil, grinding tobacco, wood (for paper production), cacao, coffee or mustard seeds (for making mustard) - any works that could be interrupted. When the wind died down or became too strong, the grinding process was stopped, and the miller waited for the weather to improve.
Welcome to our medieval shaft. This 15 meter long ramp leads to where the miners extracted the ore. The shaft is situated directly below the horizontal treadmill lift. If you look up, you will see the whole mechanism of the lift and the so-called "waterworks" - a machine for draining excess water from the galleries. The direct supervisor of the miners was called foreman or watchman. As a rule, there was one foreman per shift, though sometimes, there were more, especially in larger mines. The foreman was responsible for the labour. He needed the skills of a carpenter, so that he could build pit props. He was supposed to know how to drain mines, find veins and pan metals. Before each shift, he distributed tools and suet for the miners' lamps and collected them when the shift was over. He made sure that the miners worked properly and honestly. For them, he was the most important person in the entire mine. He was their direct superior and had an immense practical knowledge.
We are leaving the Middle Ages and mining technology for a while. We have prepared an attraction for you that you will not easily forget. You will enter a derelict haunted house. You must find the way back to the Middle Ages. The arrows and other signs will guide you, but many unexpected adventures await you on your way. It will be a little scary, a little uncanny, a little funny and a little mysterious. All the attractions include light, sound and optical effects. It is hard to describe in words - you must experience it yourselves.
The job of the executioner consisted first of all in torturing the interrogated before the court reached a verdict. Since court sessions were held in the town hall, the interrogation room or the torture chamber was usually located in the basement of the town hall building. The aim of all tortures was to induce immense pain and fear in the prisoner. In most cases, such methods resulted in permanent damage to the prisoner's flesh and bones (crushing, burning, tearing apart, nailing, etc.). In consequence, the prisoner owned up to the most incredible crimes. Then, the court reached a verdict according to the "evidence" given by the prisoner and witnesses.
The executioner and his family usually lived outside the town walls and far from other buildings.