Guidebook to the Harz Recreational Region

Stephan

Guidebook to the Harz Recreational Region

Recreation, natural monuments and hikes
This category covers the most essential of a sheer countless amount of unique natural sites laden with myths and wonders. We hope you find this informative. The entire Harz Region is a German nature park, akin to the National Parks in America. Many parts of this region have been added to the U.N. world heritage nature preserves. Harz region is an exceptional region to visit. Skiing in the winter, mountain biking, hiking and sightseeing in the summer, flush with lakes, rivers and streams it's the most varying region in Germany next to upper Bavaria, just not as expensive and overrun. It's Germany's favorite "secret" recreational region.
The Brocken, or Blocksberg as it is sometimes called, is the highest peak of the Harz mountain range and also the highest peak of Northern Germany; it is located near Schierke. Its elevation of 1,141 metres (3,743 ft) may not seem that high, but it has a microclimate resembling that of mountains as high as 2,000 m (6,600 ft). It's usually snow covered from September to May, with mists and fogs shrouding it up to 300 days of the year. Average annual temperature stands at 2.9 °C (37.2 °F). The Brocken has always played a role in legends and has been connected with witches and devils; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe took up the legends in his play Faust. The Brocken spectre is a common phenomenon on this misty mountain, where a climber's shadow cast upon fog creates eerie optical effects. Today the Brocken is part of the Harz National Park and hosts a historic botanical garden of about 1,600 alpine mountain plants. A narrow gauge steam railway, the Brocken Railway, takes visitors to the railway station at the top on 1,125 m (3,691 ft).
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Brocken
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The Brocken, or Blocksberg as it is sometimes called, is the highest peak of the Harz mountain range and also the highest peak of Northern Germany; it is located near Schierke. Its elevation of 1,141 metres (3,743 ft) may not seem that high, but it has a microclimate resembling that of mountains as high as 2,000 m (6,600 ft). It's usually snow covered from September to May, with mists and fogs shrouding it up to 300 days of the year. Average annual temperature stands at 2.9 °C (37.2 °F). The Brocken has always played a role in legends and has been connected with witches and devils; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe took up the legends in his play Faust. The Brocken spectre is a common phenomenon on this misty mountain, where a climber's shadow cast upon fog creates eerie optical effects. Today the Brocken is part of the Harz National Park and hosts a historic botanical garden of about 1,600 alpine mountain plants. A narrow gauge steam railway, the Brocken Railway, takes visitors to the railway station at the top on 1,125 m (3,691 ft).
Featuring spectacular views into the Bode gorge, Hexentanzplatz is an Old Saxon cult site, at which celebrations were held in honour of the so-called Hagedisen (forest and mountain goddesses), particularly on the night of 1 May. The place did not become known as the Hexentanzplatz until the cult was banned by the invading Christian Franks. According to tradition the site was guarded by Frankish soldiers in order to enforce the ban and they were chased off by Saxons dressed as witches and riding on broomsticks. Above the Hexentanzplatz are the remains of the Sachsenwall (“Saxon Dyke”), a wall of granite rocks and possibly part of a larger fortification, more than 1,500 years old.
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Hexentanzplatz Thale
2 Hexentanzpl
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Featuring spectacular views into the Bode gorge, Hexentanzplatz is an Old Saxon cult site, at which celebrations were held in honour of the so-called Hagedisen (forest and mountain goddesses), particularly on the night of 1 May. The place did not become known as the Hexentanzplatz until the cult was banned by the invading Christian Franks. According to tradition the site was guarded by Frankish soldiers in order to enforce the ban and they were chased off by Saxons dressed as witches and riding on broomsticks. Above the Hexentanzplatz are the remains of the Sachsenwall (“Saxon Dyke”), a wall of granite rocks and possibly part of a larger fortification, more than 1,500 years old.
The Barbarossa Cave (Barbarossahöhle) is a gypsum cave near Rottleben in the east German state of Thuringia. It is a cave with large caverns, grottos and lakes. The anhydrite has formed gypsum on the surface due to the air moisture in the cave and, as a result, has increased in volume. The resulting layers of gypsum gradually separate from the underlying rock and hang like wallpaper from the walls and ceilings of the caverns. Its location in the Kyffhäuser Hills gave rise to its link with the Barbarossa Legend and its proximity to the Kyffhäuser Monument led to it being renamed Barbarossahöhle at the end of the 19th century. According to the legend, Frederick Barbarossa will sleep in an underground palace until Germany is unified. His beard is growing around a round table. To date, it has gone around the table twice, but when it has encircled the table a third time, the end of the world will begin or Barbarossa will awaken and begin his reign anew. According to the legend, until then, there will be no other good emperors.
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Barbarossa Cave
6 Mühlen
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The Barbarossa Cave (Barbarossahöhle) is a gypsum cave near Rottleben in the east German state of Thuringia. It is a cave with large caverns, grottos and lakes. The anhydrite has formed gypsum on the surface due to the air moisture in the cave and, as a result, has increased in volume. The resulting layers of gypsum gradually separate from the underlying rock and hang like wallpaper from the walls and ceilings of the caverns. Its location in the Kyffhäuser Hills gave rise to its link with the Barbarossa Legend and its proximity to the Kyffhäuser Monument led to it being renamed Barbarossahöhle at the end of the 19th century. According to the legend, Frederick Barbarossa will sleep in an underground palace until Germany is unified. His beard is growing around a round table. To date, it has gone around the table twice, but when it has encircled the table a third time, the end of the world will begin or Barbarossa will awaken and begin his reign anew. According to the legend, until then, there will be no other good emperors.
The Rammelsberg is a mountain, 635 metres (2,083 ft) high, on the northern edge of the Harz range, south of the historic town of Goslar in the North German state of Lower Saxony. The mountain is the location of an important silver, copper, and lead mine, the only mine which had been working continuously for over 1,000 years when it finally closed in 1988. In 1992, the visitor mine of Rammelsberg was added as a UNESCO World heritage site. After more than 1000 years during which almost 30 million tonnes of ore were extracted, the mine was finally closed by the Preussag company on 30 June 1988 as the mineral deposits had been largely exhausted. A citizens' association argued forcefully against plans to demolish the surface installations and fill in the historic underground mine workings. Consequently, the disused mine was developed into a museum to preserve its heritage and display the history of the mine and its industrial equipment. If this mine interests you, you should definitely also visit Deutsches Museum in Munich, where a live size model of a mine was created in the 1950's.
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Rammels-Berg
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The Rammelsberg is a mountain, 635 metres (2,083 ft) high, on the northern edge of the Harz range, south of the historic town of Goslar in the North German state of Lower Saxony. The mountain is the location of an important silver, copper, and lead mine, the only mine which had been working continuously for over 1,000 years when it finally closed in 1988. In 1992, the visitor mine of Rammelsberg was added as a UNESCO World heritage site. After more than 1000 years during which almost 30 million tonnes of ore were extracted, the mine was finally closed by the Preussag company on 30 June 1988 as the mineral deposits had been largely exhausted. A citizens' association argued forcefully against plans to demolish the surface installations and fill in the historic underground mine workings. Consequently, the disused mine was developed into a museum to preserve its heritage and display the history of the mine and its industrial equipment. If this mine interests you, you should definitely also visit Deutsches Museum in Munich, where a live size model of a mine was created in the 1950's.
After the death of William I (Wilhelm I.), first German Emperor, in 1888, numerous memorials were erected in his honor all over the German Empire. Architect Bruno Schmitz drew up plans referring to the tradition of massive monuments like the Bavarian Walhalla memorial, the Hermannsdenkmal in the Teutoburg Forest, or the Niederwalddenkmal near Rüdesheim. The monument was built atop the ruins of the medieval Imperial castle of Kyffhausen, a German Baron. Stylistically, it recalls the castles and fortresses of the Hohenstaufen era in Germany in the 12th and 13th centuries. In the beginning period of Wilhelminism, it was intended to suggest that the Prussia-dominated German Empire founded in 1871 was the legitimate successor to the medieval Holy Roman Empire. It also signifies the national theme of decline and rebirth. The monument features a 6.5-metre-tall (21 ft) sandstone figure of the Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick Barbarossa ("The Red-Bearded") by Nikolaus Geiger (1849–1897). Referring to the king in the mountain legend of Barbarossa, which held that the emperor was sleeping under the Kyffhäuser Mountain and someday would rise again when Germany needed his leadership, the sculpture appears to just have awakened. Above him stands an 11-metre-tall (36 ft) copper equestrian statue of Emperor William I, designed by sculptor Emil Hundrieser (1846–1911) in a Neo-baroque style. This composition expresses the monument's theme: That William I brought to fruition the unification of the German nation that had been so long desired since Barbarossa's time. Towering over the monument is a 57-metre (187 ft) tower topped by a huge imperial crown. A 247-step stairway leads to the top of the tower, offering a panoramic view over the Kyffhäuser range to the Harz mountains in the north and down to the Thuringian Forest in the south. An adjacent building features exhibits depicting medieval Kyffhausen Castle and the Barbarossa legend.
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Kyffhäuserdenkmal mit Kaiser Barbarossa
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After the death of William I (Wilhelm I.), first German Emperor, in 1888, numerous memorials were erected in his honor all over the German Empire. Architect Bruno Schmitz drew up plans referring to the tradition of massive monuments like the Bavarian Walhalla memorial, the Hermannsdenkmal in the Teutoburg Forest, or the Niederwalddenkmal near Rüdesheim. The monument was built atop the ruins of the medieval Imperial castle of Kyffhausen, a German Baron. Stylistically, it recalls the castles and fortresses of the Hohenstaufen era in Germany in the 12th and 13th centuries. In the beginning period of Wilhelminism, it was intended to suggest that the Prussia-dominated German Empire founded in 1871 was the legitimate successor to the medieval Holy Roman Empire. It also signifies the national theme of decline and rebirth. The monument features a 6.5-metre-tall (21 ft) sandstone figure of the Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick Barbarossa ("The Red-Bearded") by Nikolaus Geiger (1849–1897). Referring to the king in the mountain legend of Barbarossa, which held that the emperor was sleeping under the Kyffhäuser Mountain and someday would rise again when Germany needed his leadership, the sculpture appears to just have awakened. Above him stands an 11-metre-tall (36 ft) copper equestrian statue of Emperor William I, designed by sculptor Emil Hundrieser (1846–1911) in a Neo-baroque style. This composition expresses the monument's theme: That William I brought to fruition the unification of the German nation that had been so long desired since Barbarossa's time. Towering over the monument is a 57-metre (187 ft) tower topped by a huge imperial crown. A 247-step stairway leads to the top of the tower, offering a panoramic view over the Kyffhäuser range to the Harz mountains in the north and down to the Thuringian Forest in the south. An adjacent building features exhibits depicting medieval Kyffhausen Castle and the Barbarossa legend.
The Devil's Wall (Teufelsmauer) is a rock formation in the northern part of the Harz Foreland in central Germany. This wall of rock runs from Blankenburg (Harz) via Weddersleben and Rieder to Ballenstedt. The most prominent individual rocks of the Devil's Wall have their own names. Many legends and myths have been woven in order to try to explain the unusual rock formation. It was placed under protection in 1833. The part near Weddersleben has been protected since 1935 as a nature reserve and is thus one of the oldest nature reserves in Germany. The rock formations of the Devil's Wall are all accessible by footpath. In order to conserve protected plant species, it has become necessary to implement measures for visitor management. The rocks may be reached from hiking trails and vantage points are protected by safety railings. Several of the rocks in the Devil's Wall may be climbed. The Brothers Grimm said this about the Devil's Wall: "On the Northern Harz, between Blankenburg and Quedlinburg, one sees an area of rocks south of the village of Thale that the people call the Devil's dance floor, and not far from there is the rubble pile of an old wall, opposite which, north of the village, stands a large ridge of rocks. Those ruins and that ridge are called by the people: Devil's Wall. The devil fought long with our dear God for dominion over the earth. (actually the devil built it in order to share the world with Him. But since he was only given a certain time and the whole wall was not completed within the time limit, the evil one in his anger destroyed a great deal of his work again, so that only a few pieces of it were left.) At last, a division of the land then inhabited was agreed. The rocks, where the dance floor now is, were to separate the border and the Devil built his wall with loud cheers and dancing. But soon the insatiable one started new quarrels, which ended in him also being given the valley at the foot of the rocks. There is added a second Devil's Wall."
Teufelsmauer
The Devil's Wall (Teufelsmauer) is a rock formation in the northern part of the Harz Foreland in central Germany. This wall of rock runs from Blankenburg (Harz) via Weddersleben and Rieder to Ballenstedt. The most prominent individual rocks of the Devil's Wall have their own names. Many legends and myths have been woven in order to try to explain the unusual rock formation. It was placed under protection in 1833. The part near Weddersleben has been protected since 1935 as a nature reserve and is thus one of the oldest nature reserves in Germany. The rock formations of the Devil's Wall are all accessible by footpath. In order to conserve protected plant species, it has become necessary to implement measures for visitor management. The rocks may be reached from hiking trails and vantage points are protected by safety railings. Several of the rocks in the Devil's Wall may be climbed. The Brothers Grimm said this about the Devil's Wall: "On the Northern Harz, between Blankenburg and Quedlinburg, one sees an area of rocks south of the village of Thale that the people call the Devil's dance floor, and not far from there is the rubble pile of an old wall, opposite which, north of the village, stands a large ridge of rocks. Those ruins and that ridge are called by the people: Devil's Wall. The devil fought long with our dear God for dominion over the earth. (actually the devil built it in order to share the world with Him. But since he was only given a certain time and the whole wall was not completed within the time limit, the evil one in his anger destroyed a great deal of his work again, so that only a few pieces of it were left.) At last, a division of the land then inhabited was agreed. The rocks, where the dance floor now is, were to separate the border and the Devil built his wall with loud cheers and dancing. But soon the insatiable one started new quarrels, which ended in him also being given the valley at the foot of the rocks. There is added a second Devil's Wall."
The Iberg Dripstone Cave (German: Iberger Tropfsteinhöhle) is a public cave and geology museum in southern Lower Saxony near Bad Grund, Germany. It is located on the western edge of the Harz mountains in the 563-metre-high (1,847 ft) Iberg mountain at a height of 440 metres (1,440 ft) above sea level in the chalk of an upper Devonian atoll reef. The actual dripstone cave is 123 metres long. With its 78-metre-long (256 ft) Captain Spatzier Gallery, the Yellow Climb (Gelben Stieg) and two other caverns, the total length of the cave is 300 metres (980 ft). The cave was discovered in the 16th century by miners, who were looking for deposits of limonite or 'brown iron ore'. In 1524, the presence of caverns in the Iberg massif was mentioned for the first time. The first account in 1737 described a visit to the cave by a doctor, Franz Ernst Brückmann, on 30 March 1723. In 1874, paths and steps were laid out and the show cave was opened to the public with a viewable length of 220 metres. The entrance gallery, the Captain Spatzier Gallery (Hauptmann-Spatzier-Stollen), was built in 1910 and 1911. Electric lighting was added in 1912 and was extended in 1935.
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Caves experience center Isenberg limestone cave
1 An der Tropfsteinhöhle 1
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The Iberg Dripstone Cave (German: Iberger Tropfsteinhöhle) is a public cave and geology museum in southern Lower Saxony near Bad Grund, Germany. It is located on the western edge of the Harz mountains in the 563-metre-high (1,847 ft) Iberg mountain at a height of 440 metres (1,440 ft) above sea level in the chalk of an upper Devonian atoll reef. The actual dripstone cave is 123 metres long. With its 78-metre-long (256 ft) Captain Spatzier Gallery, the Yellow Climb (Gelben Stieg) and two other caverns, the total length of the cave is 300 metres (980 ft). The cave was discovered in the 16th century by miners, who were looking for deposits of limonite or 'brown iron ore'. In 1524, the presence of caverns in the Iberg massif was mentioned for the first time. The first account in 1737 described a visit to the cave by a doctor, Franz Ernst Brückmann, on 30 March 1723. In 1874, paths and steps were laid out and the show cave was opened to the public with a viewable length of 220 metres. The entrance gallery, the Captain Spatzier Gallery (Hauptmann-Spatzier-Stollen), was built in 1910 and 1911. Electric lighting was added in 1912 and was extended in 1935.
Neighborhoods
Places to dine, go shopping and buy groceries
Bad Sachsa is a mere 7 minute drive from Zorge. It's intersting history (It was first mentioned in 1229 and housed the children of Graf Stauffenberg, one of the architects of the Hitler assassination attempt). The town offer lots of sightseeing attractions (the art nouveau town hall, the St. Nikolai Church, Römerstein Rocks & the Sachsenburg ruins to name a few) and great places to eat, drink coffee, get beer & shop. It's close proximity to Zorge makes it an excellent destination.
Bad Sachsa
Bad Sachsa is a mere 7 minute drive from Zorge. It's intersting history (It was first mentioned in 1229 and housed the children of Graf Stauffenberg, one of the architects of the Hitler assassination attempt). The town offer lots of sightseeing attractions (the art nouveau town hall, the St. Nikolai Church, Römerstein Rocks & the Sachsenburg ruins to name a few) and great places to eat, drink coffee, get beer & shop. It's close proximity to Zorge makes it an excellent destination.
Braunlage is about a 10 minute drive from Zorge. It offers great locations to dine, get coffee & for buying gifts for friends. First mentioned as Brunla in 1227, the town started out as a pit settlement in the Harz forests. It appeared as Brunenlo in a 1253 register of the Saxon counts of Regenstein and was revived, when their successors, the Counts of Blankenburg, established an ironworks here in 1561. With the extinction of the Blankenburg dynasty in 1599, Braunlage fell to the Dukes of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.
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Braunlage
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Braunlage is about a 10 minute drive from Zorge. It offers great locations to dine, get coffee & for buying gifts for friends. First mentioned as Brunla in 1227, the town started out as a pit settlement in the Harz forests. It appeared as Brunenlo in a 1253 register of the Saxon counts of Regenstein and was revived, when their successors, the Counts of Blankenburg, established an ironworks here in 1561. With the extinction of the Blankenburg dynasty in 1599, Braunlage fell to the Dukes of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.