Skip to main content
Prosper Haniel

Prosper Haniel

Architectural unicorn in Bottrop

The Prosper coal mine was the longest active in the German Ruhr area. The mining giant was named after its director, Duke Prosper Ludwig von Arenberg, in the nineteenth century.

A few years after its founding in 1856, the mine was expanded with a second pit. The headframe became a unique architectural feature. It consists of a Malakoff tower on which a metal headframe was later erected. The Malakoff tower dates from the 1870s and was typical of the Ruhr area.

You found over a hundred such brick towers in the German coal region. They were about thirty meters high and sometimes had walls up to three meters thick to support the weight of the extraction machines. What makes Bergwerk Prosper II's Malakoff Tower special is the metal headframe that was built on top of it in the early twentieth century.

Power and monumentality

The Malakoff towers only received their nickname after they were no longer built-in 1902. That was when mining expert Wilhelm Koschwitz was the first to use the term 'Malakoff.' That name referred to the brick towers built everywhere in Europe as a reminder of the battle of Malakoff. The Malakoff Fortress was originally a fortress in Sevastopol that played a leading role during the Crimean War.

During the battle of Malachov (or Malakoff), the allied French and English armies crushed the Russians in 1855. The victory led to the fall of Sevastopol, the Russian naval port on the Black Sea, and the end of the Crimean War.

The battle was widely reported in the Western media. In this way, the term 'Malakoff' soon became synonymous with something unbeatable, with power and monumentality. Some thirteen Malakoff towers are still preserved in the Ruhr area today. 


Production at shaft II in Bottrop was stopped in 1974 when Prosper merged with the mine imperium of the Haniel family (hence the new name Prosper-Haniel). The mine complex itself was preserved. Since 1988, the duo of the brick tower and the metal headframe has been protected as a monument.

Other pits at Prosper-Haniel remained active much longer, such as the 'Prosperberg.' In 1984, a tunnel of more than 3 kilometers long was drilled at this location, ultimately leading to the mine veins 786 meters underground. A conveyor belt ran through the shaft of Prosper Förderberg that brought the coal above the ground, and miners could descend into the underground using all-terrain vehicles.

The Prosper-Haniel mine was active until December 21, 2018, when coal production in Zeche Frans Haniel from the Prosper-Haniel mining group ended in the presence of German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

How To Get There?
Gain Access to all of the information!

  • Get access to all practical information to prepare your visit, for example addresses, GPS-coordinates and instructions how to legally visit this venue.
  • Discover this location on a detailed map.
  • Get instructions how to get there, together with extra info for walkers and bikers.
  • Discover more interesting places nearby.
  • Explore hundreds of other hidden landmarks on the interactive heritage map.
  • Download the Hidden Monuments 2024 travel guide with 10 hand-picked destinations off the beaten track across Europe.

Become a member only 49,90 euro / year

Already subscribed? Log In

Discover more

Find sites in or discover more

Latest from the blog