Mountains in Germany


Bavarian Forest Mountain Range

The Bavarian Forest (German: Bayerischer Wald) is a low mountain range in Bavaria, Germany. It extends along the Czech border and is continued on the Czech side by the Sumava (Bohemian Forest). Geographically the Bavarian Forest and Bohemian Forest are the same mountain range.

The highest mountain is the Großer Arber “Great Arber”, 1456 m. The main river is the Regen, which is formed by the conjunction of White Regen and Black Regen and leaves the mountains toward the city of Regensburg.

Part of the Bavarian Forest is occupied by the Bavarian Forest National Park (240 km²). Founded in 1970 and was the first national park in Germany.

Black Forest Mountain Range

The Black Forest (Schwarzwald) is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 meters (4,898 feet). The name Black Forest comes from the general dark color of the numerous pine trees that grow in this region. The Black Forest gateau originated from this region.

Geography – Geologically, the Black Forest consists of a cover of sandstone on top of a core of gneiss. During the last ice age, the Würm glaciation, the Black Forest was covered by glaciers; several cirques such as the Mummelsee are remains of this period.

Rivers in the Black Forest include Danube, Enz, Kinzig, Murg, Neckar, and Rench. The Black Forest is part of the continental divide between the Atlantic Ocean watershed (drained by the Rhine) and the Black Sea watershed (drained by the Danube).

Administratively, the Black Forest belongs to the following counties; in the north: Enz, Pforzheim, Rastatt, and Calw; in the middle: Freudenstadt, Ortenaukreis, and Rottweil; in the south: Emmendingen, Schwarzwald-Baar, Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, Lörrach, and Waldshut.

The forest mostly consists of firs; the main industry is tourism. Dialects spoken are Alemannic and Swabian.

This forest has suffered serious damage from acid rain and is only a fraction of the size it used to be; however, the storm Lothar knocked down hundreds of acres of mountaintops in 1999, leaving some of the high peaks and scenic hills bare, with only primary growth shrubs and young fir trees.

Many people say that they call it the black forest mountains because when on the mountain, in the wooded areas, is seems dark from the shadows of all the trees.

Quick Fact: The highest mountains are the Feldberg at 4,898 ft., the herzogenhorn at 4,642 ft., the belchen at 4,639 ft., the Schauinsland at 4,212 ft., the Kandel at 4,072 ft., the Blauen at 3,822 ft., and the Hornisgrinde at 3,819 ft.

Eastern Alps

Eastern Alps is the name given to the eastern half of the Alps, usually defined as the area east of the Splügen Pass in eastern Switzerland. North of the Splügen Pass, the Posterior Rhine forms the border, and south of the pass, the Liro river and Lake Como form the boundary line.

The Eastern Alps include parts of Switzerland, most of Austria and of Liechtenstein, as well as parts of southern Germany, northern Italy and of Slovenia. The eastern border are the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods) and the Viennese basin which is the transition zone to the Carpathian mountains.

The Eastern Alps are traditionally divided according to the Alpenvereins-Einteilung (arrangement of the Alpine Club) into several dozen small regions, each assigned to the Northern Calcareous Alps, the Central Eastern Alps or the Southern Calcareous Alps. Fuller details are given on those pages of the regions they contain.

The highest mountain in the Eastern Alps is Piz Bernina (4052 m) in Switzerland, followed by the Ortler (3905 m) in Italy/South Tyrol and then Großglockner (3798 m) in Austria.

During the Würm glaciation, the Eastern Alps were drier than the Western Alps, with the contiguous ice shield ending in the region of the Niedere Tauern in Austria. This allowed many species to survive the ice age in the Eastern Alps where they could not survive elsewhere. For that reason, many species of plants are endemic to the Eastern Alps.

Elbe Sandstone Mountains

The Elbe Sandstone Mountains (German Elbsandsteingebirge, Czech Labské pískovce) is a mountain range. It straddles the border between the states of Saxony (in south eastern Germany) and the Czech Republic. The name derives from the sandstone which was carved by the river Elbe. The holiday region of Elbe Sandstone Mountains (Saxon Switzerland), one of the most unique regions of natural beauty in Germany, is right on Dresden`s doorstep: the wildly romantic rocky landscapes of Elb Sandstone Mountains Roaring streams in craggy gorges, trees perched on promontories of rock jut out from the surrounding forest to form a unique backdrop for tourists and hikers alike. Places of interest include fortress Königstein, Fort Stolpen, Fort Hohnstein, Kuckuckstein Castle, and Weesenstein Castle. There are some 14,000 climbing routes via which mountain climbers can conquer 1100 free-standing peaks. Visitors can experience the spectacular natural scenes on the asphalt Elb cycle path, or on board a steam paddle boat that is part of the oldest fleet of its kind in the world.

In the Elbe Sandstone Mountains you find numerous facilities for cure, rehablitation and the likes. The region has a tradition of many years. E.g. in the year 1730 there were discovered the first ferrous and sulphurous sources in Bad Schandau, what caused a brisk demand for this place as a health resort and let to the build of swimming baths.

Sandstone: Sandstone is a bedrock from rounded to sharp-edged grains, whose diameter lies in between 0,063 mm to 2 mm according to the DIN 4022. The term sand thus describes a defined grain size interval. In contrary to most other rocks the sandstone is not defined by a certain mineral constituent. Quartz is generally regarded as the main mineral. The various grains of sand, the components, can also consist of other minerals or rock fragments. A sandstone, whose components consist to more than 90% of quartz grains, is called quartz sand stone. If a sandstone component leads, whose diameter exceeds 2 mm, then it is called conglomerate sandstone (e.g. OLSBRUECKER SANDSTONE). Sandstones with portions of grain sizes under 0,063 mm or 0,002 mm are called silty and/or clayey sandstones.

Genesis: Sandstones are deposit or sedimentary rocks, resulting from the solidification of loose sand, the sediment. After CORRENS sediments are regarded as deposited products of mechanical and chemical decomposition after transport. Means of transport are essentially water, wind and ice. The deposit of the sand takes place due to the force of gravity via mechanical sedimentation. All components of a sandstone set off mechanically after transport are called detritus. Characteristic for all sedimentary rocks is the layering. It results from changes in the sedimentation conditions, e.g. the supply of materially different detritus or the change of the grain size of the depositing substances. The banking which can be observed in sandstone sequences is to be due to repeated sedimentation interruptions. The emergence of sandstones is possible in different deposit areas. The deposit of sand can take place within by streams nerved lowlands, within the muzzle range of rivers (delta levels) as well as within the sea range in direct proximity of the coast or on shallows. The diversity of the deposit areas mentioned with their specific deposit conditions, which experienced their unmistakable development in the temporal succession of earth-historical procedures, lead to different sandstones, which arrive into the trade with a large sort-variety.

Layer sequence in the sandstone

Today the sandstone of this region shapes the landscape which was the sea bottom millions of years ago. Large rivers rinsed sand and decomposition debris into the Cretaceous sea. Rough quartz sand, clay and fine marl sank and solidified themselves layer for layer. A compact sandstone plate developed, about 20 x 30 kilometres wide and up to 600 meters thick.

1. Bohemian massif
2. Lusatian-Saxonian block
3. Elbe Sandstone territory
4. Rhenish massif
5. Prehistoric sea of the Cretaceous period

When the sea left approx 80 million years ago, the mountainforming decay began. At first bursts developed. From the north coming the Lusatian granite massif pushed itself gradually onto the sandstone plate. From the south the lifting mountains of the today’s Erzgebirge caused counterpressure – which slanted the brittle sandstone plate and bursted it. From the nearly right-angled break lines later the typical, cuboid-like fissure of the Elbe sandstone developed.

Estergebirge

Estergebirge is a small mountain range in Bavaria. It is classified either as part of Bavarian Prealps or larger chain of Northern Limestone Alps. The range stretches for about 15 kilometers, from the west is bordered by valley of river Loisach, from the east by Walchensee lake and valley of river Isar. With highest peak Krottenkopf (2086 m) the highest part of the range just excedes 2000 m level.

Prominent peaks are Krottenkopf (2086 m), Bischof (2033 m), Hohe Kisten (1922 m), der Hohe Fricken (1940 m). Standing few kilometer away is Simetsberg (1.836 m).

The range is of limestone. Treeline is around 1700 m.

As only the peak Wank (1779 m) is accessible by cable car, and most tourist and mountaineers are attracted to nearby higher ranges Wetterstein, Karwendel and to highest peak of Germany Zugspitze, Estergebirge stays relatively calm, with the exception of Wank.

Estergebirge offers various trekking and mountaineering possibilities both in summer and winter.

Fichtelgebirge

The Fichtelgebirge is a mountain range in northeastern Bavaria, Germany. It extends from the valley of the Red Main River to the Czech border, where it is continued by the much higher Ore Mountains.

The highest mountain is the Schneeberg (1051 m). Rivers rising from the Fichtelgebirge are the White Main (German: Weißer Main) , the Saxon Saale, the Ohře (German: Eger) and the Fichtelnaab which later joins the Waldnaab. Cities on the edge of the mountains include Bayreuth and Hof.

While the mountains slope gradually away to the north and the south, there is a steep slope to the west, where the Red Main forms the boundary of the mountains.

The Fichtelgebirge attracts many tourists both during summer and winter, mainly for hiking and skiing, but also to see the large rock formations.

Frankenwald

The Frankenwald is a mid-altitude mountain range in Northern Bavaria, Germany. It is located in the district Oberfranken and forms the geological connection between the Fichtelgebirge and the Thuringian Forest. It is a broad well-wooded plateau, running for about 45 kilometers (30 miles). in a north-westerly direction, descending gently on the north and eastern sides towards the Saale, but more precipitously to the Bavarian plain in the west, and attaining its highest elevation in the Döbraberg near Schwarzenbach am Wald (794 meters). Along the centre lies the watershed between the basins of the Main and the Saale, belonging to the systems of the Rhine and Elbe respectively.

Harz

The Harz is a mountain range in northern Germany. The northernmost mountain chain of Germany, it straddles the border between the states of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The name Harz derives from a Middle High German word meaning “forest”.

The Harz has a length of 95 km (southeast to northwest) and a width of 35 km. It occupies an area of about 2000 km², and reaches its highest point at the Brocken (1141 m), situated in Saxony-Anhalt. The Wurmberg (971 m) is the highest peak in the Lower Saxony part. 600,000 people live in towns and villages of the Harz mountains.

The Harz is divided into the Upper Harz (Oberharz) in the northwest and the Lower Harz (Unterharz) in the southeast. The Upper Harz has a higher elevation and features fir forests, while the Lower Harz gradually descends towards the surrounding land and has deciduous forests mingled with meadows.

The settlement of the Harz began only 1000 years ago. In ancient times dense forests made the region inaccessible. 968 saw the discovery of silver deposits near the town of Goslar, and mines became established in the following centuries throughout the mountains. The wealth of the region declined after these mines became exhausted in the early 19th century. People abandoned the towns for a short time, but prosperity eventually returned with tourism. Between 1945 and 1990 an international border ran through the Harz, the west belonging to the FRG and the east to the GDR. Today the Harz forms a popular tourist destination for summer hiking as well as winter sports.

The Harz National Park is located in the Harz; it covers the Brocken and surrounding wilderness areas.

Hunsrück

The Hunsrück is a low mountain range in Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Germany. It is bounded by the river valleys of the Moselle (north), the Nahe (south) and the Rhine (east).

The Hunsrück is continued by the Taunus mountains on the eastern side of the Rhine. In the north behind the Moselle it is continued by the Eifel. To the south of the Nahe, the Pfalz is to be found.

Many of the hills are not higher than 400 m. There are several chains of higher peaks within the Hunsrück, all bearing names on their own: the (Schwarzwälder) Hochwald, the Idarwald, the Soonwald and the Binger Wald. The highest peak is the Erbeskopf (816 m). Notable towns located within the Hunsrück include Simmern, Kirchberg, and Idar-Oberstein, Kastellaun and Morbach. Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, a growing low-fare carrier and cargo airport is also located within the region.

The climate in the Hunsrück is characterised by rainy weather. Slate is mined in the mountains.

The German TV drama trilogy Heimat, directed by Edgar Reitz, examined the 20th-century life of a small fictional village in the Hunsrück.

Lusatian Mountains

Lusatian Mountains (Czech: Lužické hory, German: Lausitzer Gebirge), a mountain range of Europe, on the southeastern border of Germany and the Czech Republic, east of the Elbe River, a continuation of the Erzgebirge which is west of the Elbe. The Lusatians themselves are an extension of the Sudeten Mountains of Bohemia and Moravia, and which join the Carpathian Mountains. The adjacent portion in southeastern Germany is called Lusatia.

The highest peak is Luž (Lausche) 793 m. Other notable peaks include Pěnkavčí vrch (Finkenkoppe) 792 m, Jedlová (Tannenberg) 774 m, Klíč (Kleis) 760 m, Hvozd (Hochwald) 750 m and Studenec (Kaltenberg) 736 m.

Ore Mountains

The Ore Mountains (German Erzgebirge, Czech Krušné hory) are a mountain range in Germany and the Czech Republic. They form the border between both countries for 150 km, extending from the western border of Saxony to the Elbe river.

The western portions of the Ore Mountains have the highest peaks. The Klínovec (1244 m) on the Czech side and the Fichtelberg (1214 m) on the German side are the highest mountains of this range. In the west the Ore Mountains are continued by the much lower Bavarian Fichtelgebirge. In the east the Elbe Sandstone Mountains on both banks of the Elbe river may be regarded as the easternmost extension of the Ore Mountains. East the Elbe, the mountain chain continues as the Lusatian Mountains. The Ore Mountains slope gently away to the north, where the cities of Zwickau and Chemnitz are located on the foothills, but the southern incline is extremely steep.

The Ore Mountains were virtually unsettled during the Middle Ages and covered with dense forests. In the 15th century the discovery of silver and tin deposits led to the settlement of the mountains and the foundation of cities. The name is derived from the richness in mineral resources. Segmented Erz-gebirge, the name takes Erz- from the Tuscan city Arezzo, which produced such fine metal that its name became the German word for metal. Gebirge are “mountains.” Today the mountains are also a popular winter sports resort.

The Ore Mountains are famous for many Christmas traditions. During the decline of silver and tin deposits, former miners had to look for new ways to feed their families. Besides lace making and woving, they went into wood carving. Nutcrackers, Smoking Men, Pyramids (carousels with figures of the Christmas story or from mining) and Schwibbogen (wooden arcs with candles in the windows, symbolising the opening of a mine) are just some of many Christmas items of the Ore Mountains. Seiffen in the East Ore Mountains was a centre of the wooden toy industry.

Orlické Hory

The Orlické Hory (Polish Góry Orlickie, German Adlergebirge) are a mountain range located mainly in northeastern Bohemia, Czech Republic, forming a subgroup of the Sudetes. They follow the border with Poland for 25 miles (40 km). The mountains are mainly composed of crystalline rocks, consistent with the makeup of the northern rim of the highlands of Bohemia. The highest point in the range is Velká Deštná, at 3,658 feet (1,115 m).

Rhön Mountains

The Rhön Mountains are a group of low mountains in central Germany, located in the states Hesse, Bavaria and Thuringia. They are the product of ancient volcanic activity and are separated from the Vogelsberg Mountains by the Fulda River and its valley.

These mountains are a popular tourist destination. Hikers come for the nearly 6,000 km (3,750 miles) of tracks through the picturesque scenery, and gliding enthusiasts have been drawn to the area since the early Twentieth century. More recently, farmstays are flourishing in the region.

Since 1991, UNESCO has declared the Rhön a Biosphere Reserve on account of its unique high-altitude ecosystem.

The peaks of the Rhön include:

  • Wasserkuppe 950 m (3,110 ft), (hessian rhön)
  • Kreuzberg (mountain) 928 m (3,040 ft) (bavarian rhön)
  • Schwabenhimmel 926 m (3,040 ft) (bavarian rhön)
  • Heidelstein 913 m (3,000 ft) (bavarian rhön)
  • Milseburg 835 m (2,740 ft) (hessian rhön)
  • Feuerberg 832 m (2,730 ft) (bavarian rhön)
  • Ellenbogen 814 m (2,670 ft) (thuringian rhön)

Spessart

The Spessart is a hill chain in northwestern Bavaria and southern Hesse, Germany. On three sides it is bounded by the Main River, which describes a long curve. Two large cities are located at the foot of the Spessart: Aschaffenburg and Würzburg.

Although the Spessart is a roughly circular hill country, the main ridge extends from the southwest to the northeast. It is continued by the Odenwald in the southwest and by the Rhön in the northeast.

Its highest peak is the Geiersberg (586 m). Apart from the edges, the region is sparsely populated. Two nature parks called Bavarian Spessart and Hessian Spessart occupy large portions of the hills.

Sudetes

The Sudetes, also called Sudeten or Sudety is a mountain range in Central Europe. It stretches from eastern Germany to Poland and Czech Republic. The highest mountain is Sněžka-Śnieżka in Krkonoše/Karkonosze Mountains on the Czech-Polish border. It reaches up to 1,602 m.

The Sudetes are divided into:

1. Western Sudetes
- Lusatian Mountains (Germany and Czech Republic)
- Karkonosze/Krkonoše/Giant Mountains (Poland and Czech Republic)
- Jizera Mountains (Poland and Czech Republic)

2. Central Sudetes
3. Eastern Sudetes

Especially Krkonoše Mountains are facing growing tourism for winter sports during the past ten years. Its skiing resorts are becoming a serious alternative to the Alps.

Some of the famous towns in this area are Zittau (Germany), Karpacz (Poland), Szklarska Poręb (Poland), Špindlerův Mlýn (Czech Republic), Harrachov (Czech Republic)

The name Sudetes has been derived from Sudeti montes, a Latinization of the name Soudeta ore used in the Geography of Ptolemaios (Book 2 Chapter 10) ca. 150 for the present-day northern Czech mountains. Ptolemy said that they were above the Gabreta Forest, which places them in the Sudetenland. Ptolemy wrote in Greek, in which the name is a neuter plural. Latin mons, however, is a masculine, hence Sudeti. The Latin version is likely to be a scholastic innovation, as it is not attested in classical Latin literature.

The meaning of the name is not known. In one hypothetical derivation, it means Mountains of Wild Boars, relying on Indo-European *su-, “pig”. A better etymology perhaps is from Latin sudis, plural sudes, “spines”, which can be used of spiny fish or spiny terrain.

The exact location of the Sudetes is not very clear, as it has varied over the centuries. For example, the name was used before World War II to describe the German province of Sudetenland. The Germans living there were called Sudeten Germans. They were heavily clustered in Bohemia. Hitler redefined the term to mean the entire mountainous periphery of Czechoslovakia, and under that pretext, got his future enemies to concede the Czech defensive border, leaving it helpless. The Germans soon overran Czechoslovakia.

The ancient Sudetanland certainly did not have that meaning. It meant at least the northwest frontier of today’s Czechoslovakia, probably extending to the north. By implication, it was part of the Hercynian Forest mentioned by many ancient authors.

Taunus

The Taunus is a mountain range in Hesse, Germany that composes part of the Rhenish Slate Mountains. It is bounded by the river valleys of Rhine, Main and Lahn. On the opposite side of the Rhine, the mountains are continued by the Hunsrück. The mountains themselves span the districts of Hochtaunuskreis, Main-Taunus, Rheingau-Taunus, and Rhein-Lahn.

Not to be confused with the more famous and high Feldberg in Black Forest, the highest peak is the Großer Feldberg (880 m above sea level), which was also used for the Feldbergrennen hillclimbing contest and rallying stages. It is followed by the Kleiner Feldberg and the Altkönig (798 m) with the remains of a late Iron Age hill fort (La-Tène A, ca. 400 BC) near the summit.

The Roman Limes was built across the Taunus. The Saalburg, a restored Roman castellum, now houses a museum. After the fall of the Limes (in 259/260 AD), the Alamanni settled here. For this reason there are some Alemannic cemeteries in the southern foothills of the Taunus (Eschborn). This area became Frankish after the Battle of Tolbiac.