History of the Markkleeberger lake
500,000 - 600,000 years ago
The Elster glacial period forms the Wachauer lake (20 km²), the sediments of which can still be found today 600,000 years later.
280,000 years ago
Ancient stone age men settle on the banks of the ancient Pleiße river making tools out of flint stone such as scrapers, swords, hand axes, flint-borers and speers.
100,000 - 250,000 years ago
During the Saale glacial period the Dehlitz-Leipzig glacial lake is formed over an area of 500 km² and with a depth of up to 55 m, leaving sediment layers that are up to 5 m thick.
1895 and 1905
In 1895 the Saxonian geologist Franz Etzold discovers the first man-made flint-stone artifacts in former gravel quarry pits. After further findings by Karl Hermann Jacob in 1905 a long-term comprehensive excavation project is started. With around 10,000 artifacts Markkleeberg counts as one of Europe's richest excavation sites of the Lower and Middle Paleolithic, gaining international significance with over 200 publications to date.
The nicest and most popular river and family bathing area around Leipzig emerges in Markkleeberg-Ost (swimming area 6500 m² and 0.6 - 4 m deep, 360 changing cubicles, cloak rooms for 6,000 people, an enormous playing field with paddling pools, climbing frames and monkey bars etc. It had to close because of the pollution of the river Pleiße as a result of lignite mining in the area. The area is used as an "air bath" until the 70's.
Lignite exploration with the Espenhain quarry begins, the extraction of lignite starts in 1939, 1944 sees the initial operation of the conveyor bridge; boasting a length of 590 m it was the largest conveyor bridge in Europe until the 70's. It became disused in 1994 and was blasted in 1997. The Espenhain quarry: area: 3973 ha, extraction of 570 million tonnes of raw lignite, excavation waste: 1.7 billion m³, depth: 91.1 m
1967 - 1972
The villages of Cröbern and Crostewitz belonging to the Markkleeberg district have to give way to the Espenhain quarry.
In 1974/75 parts of Markkleeberg-Ost are also lost to the quarry and in 1976 the outlying estate of Auenhain
The last lignite coal is mined from the quarry and remediation work begins.
An exhibition is set up about the villages lost to lignite mining in Central Germany. The ruins of the church in Wachau becomes the focal point for the galleries of the lost villages.
Flooding of the Markkleeberger lake begins.
The flooding starts with groundwater being pumped out of the quarry of Profen, which is pumped into the Markkleeberger lake through a closed circular pipeline.
The final research and rescue excavation work conducted by the Saxonian Regional Office for Archaeology interests a great number of visitors.
Opening of the Markkleeberger lake..