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Thuringia, Germany Tourism
A visit to the "Kyffhäuser Monument" in Thuringia
The Kyffhäuser Monument
06567 Bad Frankenhausen
Phone: 011 49 34651/2780
Fax: 011 49 34651/2308
April-October9:30 am to 6:00 pm November to March 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Closed on December 24 th.
We recommend to use e-mail or fax if you do not speak German
I made a really big mistake when I visited the famous "Kyffhäuser Denkmal" (Kyffhäuser Monument) close to Bad Frankenhausen.
I parked my car on a public parking lot close to a nice restaurant and started walking following the signs. At the beginning on a hiking path through the forest, then along a road.
I was told it would take about 15 minutes to reach the monument. It took me much longer with all the rests I needed to prevent a heat stroke. I can't see anybody in my age with all the camera equipment to so this on an extremely hot day in that time.
I was still on my way up the mountain when a horse drawn coach with very relaxed looking passengers was on its way down. "Why did I not check weather such a service is available"? I asked myself. But it was too late now and I proceeded walking up the mountain and taking a break at every second seat bench. This gave me the opportunity to talk to other exhausted visitors. They were really surprised to see somebody from Canada and were wondering about my good knowledge of German until they learned that I am a native German.
I read a message from Kaiser Wilhelm which was dated November 17, 1881 and addressed to the German people. It was chiseled in stone in 1896. Kaiser Wilhelm I became very fast a symbol for the "Deutsche Reich" (German Empire) which was established in 1871 during the war between France and Germany. This war was won by Germany.
The planning of the Kyffhäuser Monument began already in 1889.
I enjoyed that part of my way up to the Kyffhäuser Monument
When you walk you can enjoy the great scenery, but I am sure you can do that too sitting in the coach.
But now I was looking forward to reach my target the "Kyffhäuser Monument".
The message from Kaiser Wilhelm I
The "Kyffhäuser Monument"
After the death of Kaiser Wilhelm I in 1888 a request was issued by Dr. Alfred Westphal to erect a monument dedicated to Kaiser Wilhelm I and all the soldiers of the bloody war.
Kaiser Wilhelm I
Kaiser Wilhelm I
The "Kyffhäuser" was without any doubt the perfect location for the proposed monument.
First of all at this location mighty castle rules this area in the 12 th century. You still can find some ruins of it.
Furthermore a well known legend about Frederick I, known better as Friedrich Barbarossa or Kaiser Rotbart ("Frederick Redbeard") supported this idea. He was elected as king of Germany on March 4, 1152. In 1155 pope Hadrian IV. gave him the title Kaiser. Because of his reddish beard, the Italians called him for that reason "Barbarossa".
The saga about him say that he is not dead but sleeping in the Kyffhäuser mountain. He still has the crown on his head and his beard has grown through and around the table he sitting on.
As long as ravens circle around the mountain he will continue to sleep. But when the ravens disappear the time had come to step out of the mountain and to establish his empire again.
A dwarf checks every hundred years whether the ravens are still flying.
Luckily Kaiser Wilhelm I was also known as "Kaiser Whitebeard" - so it was no surprise that the proposal from Dr. Alfred Westphal was accepted to erect the"Kyffhäuser Monument" at this historic location.
You can walk through the monument
Walk through the monument but be prepared to climb many stairs. You are not allowed here during a thunderstorm.
One of the displays to honor the brave soldiers
After lost WWII II directives have been issued to destroy all monuments and museums dedicated to military and nationalism.
Excepted were only few objects. Especially the communists were eager to wipe out the "Kyffhäuser Monument" more or less completely and to use it for their own purposes.
Surprisingly, it were the Russians who saved the monument. Unfortunately, I can not share a vodka and a toast with them for doing so. I would like to do so.
Every country should have the right to show its history - whether it is good or bad. How can you learn from it when you hide it? I believe this is an essential part of a strong and powerful democracy. For that reason also critical comments to what is show should be allowed. You should not get brainwashed by only listening to one side.
You must climb many stairs if you want to see everything
Spectacular sights are the rewards for all the hard physical work to get to the top.
Just try to visit the monument on a clear and sunny day
Many written information are available about the construction of the monument.
Cost overruns, required technical changes - you name it. Then the celebrations when the official opening took place. If you understand German you can spend hours reading everything. But you also can take pictures of everything and study them at home. Just make sure that your digital camera has sufficient storage capacity.
After I had most of the sightseeing done I had some refreshments in the "Bistro" and used their clean facilities. I always met the same people. Obviously my touring pattern is very common.
Plan at least half a day for the visit of the "Kyffhäuser Monument". If you want to spare your energy for climbing all the stairs, see the nice gentleman at the restaurant close where the main parking lot is.
He does not charge an arm and a leg.
So schön ist der Kyffhäuserkreis
Impressions of the Kyffhäuser Region
The Bertholdsburg in Schleusingen host an interesting museum, Thuringia