Inner German Border
You find the wildest part of Germany wandering along the former Eastern inner German border from Mödlareuth (South) to Priwall at Travemünde. (North near Lübeck).
This area is called the "green belt" in German "das grüne Band" and is the longest nature sanctuary of Germany. It is a small strip and around 1400 km long but only 50 to 200 meters width.
This small but long part of Germany remained nearly forty years untouched as it is located right at the former inner german border to the former DDR.
The frontier (Iron Curtain) lasted from 1949 to 1990 between the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany until the "Berlin Wall Fall". Since then the fortifications of the border were cleared and hundreds of roads and railway lines were rebuild and completed in 1994.
Before that time 30 000 soldiers worked daily along the east german border. Around 872 people were killed, trying to escape from East Germany. From 1949 to the end of the border in 1990 around 28 soldiers of the DDR were killed.
Before you could reach the metal fence you had to cross a lot of other barriers.- 1-5 kilometer "restricted zone" where access was heavily restricted
- Control strip
- Signal fence
- 500 m width "protective strip" (Schutzstreifen), monitored by guards stationed in watchtowers, a patrol road for guards to move fast to the place of an attempted crossing (Kolonnenweg)
- Control strip with high-intensity floodlights
- Anti-vehicle barriers, that could not be overcome by a tank
- Minefields and antipersonnel mines that are fence-mounted, cone-shaped, tripwire activated and mounted to concrete posts
Driving along the inner German Border
This area originally had high security fencing surrounding it, with anti-vehicle ditches and various watchtowers. This pathway would have been the access/patrol road for the Border Police.
The Green Belt
Image created by Nickel van Duijvenboden
Along the border there are not many big cities and not much heavy industry but a lot of agriculture and forestry. During the time when the border was still active a very rich plant and wildlife developed that is hard to find anywhere else in Germany.
You find the european wild cat, but they are very shy. The fox, marten, bunny and the wild pig. The creeks are crystal clear and nature is amazing. You walk along the green belt which was used by the border guards in earlier times. There are sometimes concrete slabs which makes walking harder.
Start walking or cycling from the southern villages below and work your way up north to Travemünde where you can take one of the two ferries to get to Priwall. There are long and lonely beaches and a nature sanctuary.
It will take you around 7 weeks to walk all the way up to Travemünde.(Ostsee) Just get a tent and camp in the nature sometimes. No dangerous snakes. The "Kreuzotter" cannot kill you as it takes the poison of five Kreuzotters to kill a man.
I just list some highlights below but there is much more to see.
Remaining German Watchtowers from the German-German Border
MödlareuthThis is a small village in Bavaria and Thuringia. The northern part was in East Germany and the southern part in West Germany and for this reason it was called "Little Berlin". Parts of the wall are still there. (BILD)
HirschbergThis amall town looks old and historical, cobble stone pavement and a castle, in-between forests, grassland and the river "Saale".
SonnebergA town in Thuringia and a well known centre of toy making. PIKO, a model railway manufacturer is located there and you can visit the German Toy Museum.
is a small village of 1000 inhabitants, 2 km long, surrounded by forest. Has a few hotels and lives from tourism especially in winter. There are yearly sled dog races in winter.
is the highest peak in the Rhön Mountains within the German state of Hessen. You have a very nice view there.
A Cold War observation post between Rasdorf, Hesse (former part of West Germany) and Geisa, Thuringia (former part of East Germany) observing part of the "Fulda Gap", that was probably the most likely prime invasion route for Warsaw Pact forces to overrun Germany in the case of actual warfare. Nowadays it is a memorial place.
Monte Kali or Kalimandscharo (Overburden Stockpile)
These are artificial Salt Mountains that can be climbed by tourists Potassium chloride is used as fertilizer and road salt. These Overburden Stockpiles of Wintershall look bizarre and are created by the company "Kali und Salz". These artificial mountains are 200 meters high and consists of 150 million tons of potassium salt which consists of 96% cooking salt. You have a great view from above.
The Wartburg is a castle overlooking the town of Eisenach. It is surrounded by forests and a world cultural heritage since 1999 and one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. Martin Luther translated here the new testament of the bible from Latin into German.
is situated near the Hainich National Park. Its population is around 43,626 inhabitants.
Image created by Tola69
The third biggest natural sweetwater spring in Europe.
It is at the eastern part of the Rotenberg ridge near the village of Rhumspringe (2000 inhabitants) in the Harz mountains and is the source of the River Rhume.
The spring is just a few meters deep.
Einhornhöhle (Unicorn Cave) near Herzberg
In "the Harz" (Mountain Range) there are a lot of caves. One of them is the Einhornhöhle (Unicorn cave) a show cave, which is 600 meters long and one of the biggest caves in this region.
The "Brocken" (a Mountain)
The Brocken is situated in a nature sanctuary. You can wander up to the top and on clear days you will enjoy a great view. Since 1989, after the wall fall, "the Brocken" is open to the public and there are many tourists walking to the top.
Norddeutsche Tiefebene (North German Plain)
When you leave "the Harz" you finally reach the Norddeutsche Tiefebene (Drömling, a sparsely populated depression of 340 square kilometres, former swampland), a flat major geographical region, leading to Northern Germany.
There is more to see as you come further north. It will be an adventure for you to go on a trip like this. You will get to know a lot of interesting german people from the east.
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