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Thuringia, Germany Tourism
A visit to the "Barbarossahöhle" (Barbarossa's Cave) in Rottleben, Thuringia, Germany
An den Mühlen 6
Phone 011 49 3034671-54513
Fax 011 49 034671-54514
April 1. to October 31, daily between 10:00 am
(first guided tour) to 5:00 pm (last guided tour)
November 1 to March 31., from Tuesday to Sunday
((Mondays closed) between 10:00 am (first guided tour) to 4:00 pm (last guided tour)
We recommend to use e-mail or fax if you do not speak German
Please watch for road signs to this attraction or stop and ask local people for directions.
If you do not speak German still don't be afraid to do so. The chances that the person you ask does not understand any English are very high.
But my experience in other countries was very often that such a situation can be lots of fun.
Being in the Kyffhäuser region I did not want to miss a visit of the "Barbarossahöhle" or Barbarossa's cave.
This cave is not a former mine but it was discovered by miners in 1865 when they were searching for copper.
It did not take very long and the cave was opened for the public. It is one of the most spectacular anhydrite caves in the world.
You can only visit it by joining a guided tour and strict regulations apply. Normally it is not allowed to take any pictures and I could not use the flash of my camera.
Sign with a detailed plan of the "Barbarossahöhle"
The entrance to the cave
But before I joined the tour I has something cold to drink and an early lunch in the little garden restaurant. I watched kids playing with a small excavator. They had great fun sitting on it shoveling and moving sand.
Then I purchased my ticket and checked out the gift shop without buying anything. I arrived without my luggage and was anxious to exceed the weight limitations if it arrives before my departure.
The access tunnel to the cave
I arrived during a heat wave at he "Barbarossa Höhle" and hardly could wait to be in the cool underground. I was told the average temperature would be 9° C or 48° F.
Many attractions in the "Kyffhäuser region" are related to the saga of Kaiser Barbarossa who is sleeping somewhere in the mountains and who will wake up when the country needs his help.
Most of the visitors put jackets or some warm clothing on - not me. I was confident that I would not start feeling cold during the tour which only takes about 50 minutes. I was right.
Luckily smoking is prohibited in the cave and everybody behaved properly which was a surprise to me.
However, the tour through this stunning cave is not suitable for handicapped people.
Please wear good walking shoes. Sandals or high heels are not the best choice for this little adventure!
I was surprised to see little ponds with clear water. When the guide asked us to estimate the depth everybody was wrong. You could not wade in them they are much deeper than expected (up to 4 m or 13 feet) and the water temperature was naturally almost the same as the air temperature. Too cold for a refreshing bath and also "verboten".
All explanations were given in German. I did not recognize any foreigners in our group.
Unfortunately, none of my pictures could capture the impressing and unusual scenery - especially when you never have been in an anhydrite cave like me. It felt sorry about the limitations which my equipment caused to the quality of my images.
It is an exciting walk through this anhydrite cave
A special permission for additional lighting would have been needed. Just get a little bit of taste what to expect and visit "Barbarossa's Cave" if you are in beautiful Thuringia.
Certain parts of the path through the cave were wide and easy to walk, others more narrow and steep. They were always well lit which was a help for taking pictures.
The total length of the cave is approximately 1 km or 0.62 miles. Sometimes the ceiling is low than it raises up to 70 m or 230 feet.
Our knowledgeable guide explains many details about the features of the cave and how it was created. I do not want to repeat all these details. In a few words the cave was created by the interaction of water and gypsum. Just visit the official web site and you may find what you are looking for.
I am not a geologist and copying other peoples work is not my intention. I also did not charge anybody for my work and I also did not get any financial support.
This service will be stopped next year.
Everybody of our group seemed to be impressed by the natural beauty of this cave.
I wish the guides and the management would allow the visitors more time to enjoy the different sights. When you travel thousands of kilometers to visit this cave it is not an inadequate request.
If you want to be well prepared for the visit, get some information before you participate in a guided tour and study them. I liked it in the garden restaurant and they have also indoor facilities. Why not do the preparation with a cup of coffee or some Thuringian snacks. Remember "It's a long way to McDonald's".
For special guests only
The table and the chair of the legendary Kaiser Barbarossa are an additional attraction. The legend says that Barbarossa's beard grew in the meantime through and around the table and that dwarfs check every 100 years wether his help is needed by the country.
We hope that our little English travel guide through Thuringia gives you a little bit of a feeling about this "new" state of the united Germany. Please never forget that the people here lived a long time under communist ruler ship and were brainwashed from both sides.
Unfortunately, we were not able to update this travel guide, because we did not receive any business in return from the Thuringian tourism industry. For that reason promoting our country- Canada - became first priority.
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