Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff


Romanesque portal of the Collegiate Church in Wechselburg near Rochlitz, Germany


Local native name

Rochlitzer Porphyrtuff

Year designation



Ignimbrite; rhyolitic tuff with hematite-bearing groundmass and lapilli inclusions


Red to pale red, with violet lapilli and small veins of light color crossing through

Geological settings

Paleozoic – Permian – Rotliegend – Rochlitz Formation; part of the North Saxon Volcanic Complex connected to the late to post-Variscan magmatic activity


Rochlitz Mountain within the National Geopark “Porphyrland”, Saxony

Romanesque portal of the Collegiate Church in Wechselburg near Rochlitz, Germany


A unique building stone from Saxony

Already used as grindstone material in prehistoric times, the Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff has been intensively utilized as building and ornamental stone since in the early 12th century. Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings and monuments witness the use of this stone in the region of occurrence over all European architectural style periods. Until the 19th century, the use of Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff was limited to the close proximity of the quarries and the adjacent areas. Thus, the conspicuous colour and texture of the stone is a characteristic feature of numerous historic buildings and monuments in the rich cultural landscape of north-west Saxony. The rapid development of infrastructure in the second half of the 19th century facilitated the distribution of Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff far beyond the borders of Saxony. Since then it was used in many cities in all parts of Germany, occasionally also abroad. Iconic buildings with Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff are, among others, the church St Thomas in Leipzig, the domain of the composer J.S. Bach (Renaissance galleries in the interior), the Villa Esche in Chemnitz, designed by Henry van de Velde in Art Nouveau style (1911), and the mausoleum of the philosopher Immanuel Kant in Königsberg (today Kaliningrad, Russia). The material was used for all kinds of construction elements like ashlars, columns, tracery, cladding, but also for sculptures, gravestones, millstones, troughs, weights, and even for cannon balls. Two quarries are still producing stone for construction and restoration purposes as well as for sculptures.

Historic, abandoned Gleisbergbruch quarry on top of the Rochlitz Mountain

Typical appearance of Rochlitz Porphyry Tuff in wall cladding of the Historic Museum in Leipzig, Germany