Langenstein: A historical gem on the edge of the Harz Mountains

Christina/ March 8, 2024/ The daily grind, Culture

After all the tours I have taken in the last few years, I am always surprised that there is something new for me to discover too. Last Sunday we went to Langenstein. I couldn’t believe what there was to discover here. In addition to the cave dwellings, there is a castle and castle park, a concentration camp memorial, the Hoppelberg and the Schäferhof restaurant. The day was so varied that it ended up going by far too quickly. Unfortunately the visibility was a bit hazy that day. But from both Schäferberg and Hoppelberg you have a fantastic view of the towers of Halberstadt Cathedral.

Langenstein Castle
When we arrive in Langenstein late on Sunday morning, the sun is still a little behind. The fog fields only slowly dissipate. Our starting point, Langenstein Castle, is located still in the gray Sleeping Beauty sleep. In the meantime it is no longer used as royal accommodation. It is a residential and therapy facility for autistic children, young people and adults. I discover a memorial plaque on one of the building walls. Dr.-Else-Giegler-Rundweg is written on it. Ms. Dokotor worked here in tuberculosis research at the time.

The hiking trail takes us to the castle park. We are excited. Not from the back of the castle, but first from the four stone flower pots that adorn the garden wall and are decorated with snake elements. And of course HE was a guest here too. Our Goethe. Back then as a visitor to the former owner, Mrs. von Branconi. You can imagine the rest. Furthermore, we are fascinated by the budding bushes and trees. The magnolia trees are starting to sprout buds. The path down to the small castle lake finally leads us to a quite interesting bridge. It is the Ybbsitz Bridge<, donated by the twin town of the same name /a>. This takes us over the Goldbach. We don’t discover anything about the popular precious metal, but that doesn’t dampen our joy.

And that’s not all. We are still fascinated by this wonderful reception, and the next highlight is already in front of us: the cave dwellings from Schäferberg.

However, we don’t take the direct route. We first walk through the town and are amazed at a bell tower that stands next to the church. Before that we pass the obligatory GDR Trabbi, which can probably still be found in many towns. Just a little further I discover a Harley Davidson bike on the roof, which is made of wood. Then you go up the narrow stone steps to the Schäferberg. Here we take a breather for the first time. The sun has now cleared the fog so we can open the zippers on our winter jackets. We climb a little between the stones and caves. We feel like little children happily jumping between the stones and playing hide-and-seek in the caves. However, when we realize that we have already lost a lot of time, we set off for the top of the Schäferberg. The actual tour begins here.

Langenstein-Zwieberge: A place of horror
A beautiful narrow forest path leads us to a place of horror: the Langestein-Zwieberge concentration camp memorial. Even the sign at the entrance to the former concentration camp branch makes your blood run cold. Here we are talking about a death pine that served as an execution site. There are mass graves and the camp’s motto was “extermination through labor.” I think it couldn’t be more cynical. A terrible, depressing place that only hints at the torment of the inmates. I don’t even want to imagine what it must feel like to stand at the roll call area for 1.5 hours in the dead of winter, only barely dressed, and being shouted at. I really quickly run out of words.

On the Hoppelberg
We leave the horrific scene and head to Hoppelberg. Here it gets even more strenuous, because it goes up to over 300 meters. At the top there is a view that Humboldt is said to have described as the seventh most beautiful in the country. Well, we don’t know what six other viewpoints he had in mind, but yeah, the view of Halberstadt isn’t bad. The rock formations on the mountain top are also impressive. I think I recognize a frog, among other things. But the interpretation is certainly always in the eye of the beholder.

Stop at the Schäferhof inn
After the hike we look forward to stopping at the Schäferhof inn. In the almost spring-like weather, the first people are already sitting in the yard. But since it is now in the shade, it is still too cool for us. The first thing I notice is a red box that is also standing outside. That won’t be a stamp box, will it? We suspect that it is a special stamp. It says “In the Shadow of the Witches”. Aha, we can’t figure it out for now. A look inside the box is sobering anyway: the rubber stamp is broken. Well hello!

No matter, so let’s try our luck at the restaurant. We got a seat without any difficulty, although we had to wait quite a long time for service. Finally I get to my ladies’ place setting. We realized that we had missed the Hohlgasse and a cave dwelling. Hmm, we can’t let that go. Nothing helps, we have to do it again.

He has to come through this hollow alley
So after the coffee break we head back towards Schäferberg. When we want to climb up to Hohlgasse, we notice that it is closed. Apparently because of falling sandstones. Of course that doesn’t deter us. We squeeze past the barrier, we’re slim enough. And lo and behold, we come to our hollow alley and cave dwelling photo. Now we can complete this day of hiking with peace of mind. The way back to the car takes us again through the castle park, which is now in the evening. We are simply completely thrilled with this varied tour.

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