Occupying a greater part of the 16th-century Freundenstein castle, this astounding collection of minerals makes human-made art seem insignificant compared to the genius of nature. The experience is akin to snorkelling over coral reefs – as you descend from the 5th floor, the dramatically dim-lit halls fill with thousands of colours radiating from dazzling gems. Each hall represents a continent where exhibits come from, with a separate section dedicated to meteorites.
The exhibition is a tribute to mineralogy enthusiast and heiress to the Wella cosmetics empire, Erika Pohl-Ströher, who donated her collection to Freiberg Bergakademie in 2004. An annexe to the museum, the adjacent Krügerhaus, contains a collection of minerals found in Germany. Audioguides are available for the main exhibition (€3) and Krügerhaus (€2).