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Naturpark Südharz

Set on tradition

Where the Harz is at its southernmost ...

Miners and charcoal burners

The turbulent history of the earth with seas and volcanoes also shapes the cultural history. Copper, iron, hard coal, salt and gypsum - "white gold" - founded an early mining industry. With the miners came the charcoal burners - the "carbonari". Their charcoal kilns smoked in the forests and supplied the charcoal for smelting the ore. Charcoal burning is a tradition here and is kept alive.

Meiler im Südharz (© P. Schneller) vergrößerte Ansicht
Meiler im Südharz (© P. Schneller)
Harzziegen auf einer Alm (© A. Apel) vergrößerte Ansicht
Harzziegen auf einer Alm (© A. Apel)

Sheep and goats

For centuries, herds of sheep and goats roamed the barren karst landscape. They helped shape this cultural landscape. These frugal domestic animals reliably supplied wool, meat and milk. Today, this Harz tradition is being reintroduced.

Deeply connected

Since time immemorial, water has seeped through the karst and pierced it like a Swiss cheese. The landscape is constantly changing. Bizarre rock formations and deep sinkholes have emerged. As if by magic, rivers disappear and reappear elsewhere. Underground they connect caves and flush fantastic halls, while above ground it remains dry.

Salzaquelle (© A. Apel) vergrößerte Ansicht
Salzaquelle (© A. Apel)
Die Kelle, eine Höhle im Kartsgestein. (© P. Schneller) vergrößerte Ansicht
Die Kelle, eine Höhle im Kartsgestein. (© P. Schneller)

Green Karst

The southern Harz Zechstein belt is a recognised hotspot of biological diversity. The near-natural karst beech forests with liverworts and fragrant wild garlic carpets are impressive. Lynx and wildcats roam here. The life in the gypsum dry grasslands seems exotic - with fragrant orchids, fly orchids and fringed gentian.

On the way ...

... through the Green Karst

Numerous natural phenomena lie hidden here. On the karst hiking trail, gypsum karst phenomena are strung together like a string of pearls. Certified nature and landscape guides know the most beautiful places in the Nature Park and invite you to go on a discovery tour with them.

... to the Green Belt

It is colourful and full of life. Yet the Green Belt reminds us of the time when the Iron Curtain divided Europe into East and West. It reminds us to be vigilant.

Zweiländer-Eiche (© P. Schneller) vergrößerte Ansicht
Zweiländer-Eiche (© P. Schneller)
Himmelsberg bei Woffleben vergrößerte Ansicht
Himmelsberg bei Woffleben (© P. Schneller)

The one with the pug face

In summer, the barbastelle bat lives in the crevices of old trees ...

... and hunts for insects in the forest. It hibernates in caves and tunnels. The Western barbastelle goes hunting - off to the South Harz Cube!

…at full-steam ahead

A discovery tour is well worth the time. The best way is with a steam locomotive of the Harz narrow-gauge railways. Get off and explore the Nature Park on the Südharzer Dampflok Steig (Southern Harz Steam Locomotive Trail) with numerous Harzer Wandernadel stamps. Bizarre rock formations visible from afar, picturesque views and historical testimonials along the way invite you to linger. Experience diversity and tradition on the Harz circular route by bicycle.

Die Bielsteine (© P. Schneller) vergrößerte Ansicht
Die Bielsteine (© P. Schneller)
Harzer Schmalspurbahn (© A. Richter) vergrößerte Ansicht
Harzer Schmalspurbahn (© A. Richter)

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