On our way to Switzerland, from Berlin and Thuringia, we spend one night at Lindenfels in the Odenwald.
Some pretty spots in the city of Lindenfels
Lindenfels is located on 360m in the Odenwald north of Heidelberg. It is a spa resort…
… with pretty half-timbered houses …
… and some cosy gardens.
This shingled house has an interesting history that is explained on the panel: It was an inn and a brewery, acquired by Michael Rauch in 1850.
At that time, Lindenfels founded its tourist organization, and Rauch was one of the founding members. Peter, the youngest son of his nine children, took over the inn before the First World War. In 1949, Peter’s son, Heinrich, carried on with the inn. From 1969, Heinrich’s foster daughter Else lead the inn with her husband. The inn was closed in 2003. Recently the great-great-grandson of the original buyer, Michael Rauch, has bought the house back.
By the way, five members of the family Rauch emigrated to America in the 19th century. They have many descendants, and their name is pronounced “Rauk”.
What a tradition!
The castle Lindenfels guards over the village
Above the village are the ruins of the castle Lindenfels.
The castle was founded in the early 12th century by duke Berthold Junior. He was the bailiff of the monastery Lorsch (not far from here). In 1277, the castle was taken over by the Electoral Palatinate (Kurpfalz with the centre Heidelberg).
The nucleus of the original castle from the 12th century has been preserved as a ruin.
In the 14th century, the small city Lindenfels emerged around the castle. Up to the 16th century, the Electors (Kurfürsten) of Heidelberg used the castle as a secondary seat.
As the information panel in the castle shows, it was an impressive castle in 1634.
The Electors enlarged the castle of Heidelberg in the 16th century, lost interest in Lichtenfels, and the castle decayed. The citizens obtained building material here.
As the panel shows, by 1891, the castle had become a ruin.
We climb up to the lower defensive wall and take a photo of the Odenwald hills. We are in the crystalline, western part of the Odenwald (see post scriptum).
Now we are on top of the ruin, again enjoying the view of the Odenwald.
Emperor William First is venerated with this monument.
“To our beloved emperor”, the people of Lindenfels say thankfully. I cannot find out, what he has done for Lindenfels.
In the castle, there is this huge sycamore (Bergahorn), a natural monument. Beware of hornets, the panel on the mighty old tree says!
The foundation of the Savings Bank (Sparkassenstiftung) of Starkenburg is setting up the summer open air cinema which will take place this weekend.
I do wish you good weather for the weekend! I would have liked to watch the film of Monsieur Claude with his sons-in-law from all nations and all religions.
Lindenfels – the dragon city
Lindenfels is located on the Nibelungen hike (Nibelungensteig commemorating the Song of the Nibelungs). In the song, the dragon Fafnir was killed by Siegfried.
In 2010, the city named this lump of rock “dragon rock” (Drachenfels). On 25th of November 2009, it had broken off under the castle, slid down, destroyed two castle walls and stopped here above the spa gardens.
A dragon guards the “dragon rock”.
In 2010, Lindenfels participated in the competition “ab in die Mitte” of Hessen and won the first prize for their project “Lindenfels – the town of dragons”. The city opened the dragon museum (Drachenmuseum) and organized a parade of colourful dragons. The dragons of the parade now decorate the city and the hiking paths around Lindenfels.
We come across this dragon the colour of which may have faded in the meantime.
Under the castle, Siegfried fights the dragon Fafnir. It is a rather abstract interpretation of Fafnir and Siegfried.
We leave the dragon city Lindenfels with its castle, gorgeously located in the hills of the Odenwald.
Post Scriptum: Short insight into the geology of the Odenwald
This is the morphological map of the Odenwald, north of Heidelberg and with the small Odenwald (Kleiner Odenwald) in the south around the river Neckar.
Source: Wikipedia entry about the Odenwald (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odenwald#/media/Datei:Odenwald_-_Deutsche_Mittelgebirge,_Serie_A-de.png)
In the Lindenfels castle, a panel divides the Odenwald into the “crystalline” (western) and into the “sandstone” (eastern and southern “small”) Odenwald.
In Lindenfels, we are in the crystalline Odenwald. Here, the Odenwald is like a window giving insight into lower levels of the earth crust, as Peter Rothe, p. 77, writes. What we see, is crystalline bedrock (kristallines Grundgestein), mostly various kinds of granite.
This is, in a nutshell, what happened: About 300 million years ago (late Palaeozoic), the Variscan mountains evolved here. The rocks were transformed both by pressure and temperature becoming what we call crystalline bedrock. The bedrock was covered by sediments. About 50 million years ago, the area was lifted which caused it to break apart. Part of the “broken” area dropped down by 3000 meters and formed the Rhine valley rift. The western Odenwald mountains “lost” their sediments; they were eroded and deposited in the Rhine valley. The crystalline bedrock, uncovered from the sediments, provides insight into lower levels of the earth crust. The bedrock consists of various kinds of granite (magmatic rocks) that invaded the existing metamorphic rocks from below. Geologists observe the stripes of the “original” metamorphic rocks (gneiss and mica slate or Gneis and Glimmerschiefer) amidst the prevailing granite rocks (map in Rothe, p. 78). The more resistant granite rocks remained as mountains.
The soil is rich in nutrients. Broad-leaved forests and agriculture dominate the landscape.
The eastern and southern Odenwald is different. It is dominated by sand- and claystone (Sand- und Tonsteine). They are sediments deposited, when, in the Mesozoic, the area was covered by lakes and traversed by rivers (about 240 million years ago). I came across this sandstone rock at Neckargmünd on the river Neckar.
The sandstone Odenwald is low in nutrients and covered by conifers. The landscape is dominated by table mountains.
Later in the Mesozoic, the eastern Odenwald was a seashore, as shell limestone (Muschelkalk) and sea fossils tell the geologists.
This post scriptum is a short insight into the geology of the Odenwald. Not being a geologist, I tried to understand the overall picture that Peter Rothe gives about the Odenwald in his book “die Geologie Deutschlands”. It was the old family friend that we visited south of Heidelberg who gave me this book. Her mother was a geologist and so was my mother. Thank you so much. My mother would be happy, could she watch me diving into this well written book. I admire, how geologists can read the landscape and some vertical sections to derive the history of the earth from them.
We will next explore some cultural sights at the Odenwald with the old family friend.
- Wiki entry of Lindenfels https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindenfels
- Homesite of Lindenfels https://www.lindenfels.de/tourismus/drachenstadt/
- Peter Rothe, “Die Geologie Deutschlands: 48 Landschaften im Portrait”, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2006.