View from Bärenbergturm, Zierenberg

There are different good reasons to visit the area around Zierenberg, Germany. Most people know the Hoher Dörnberg and the Helfensteine, the Alpenpfad and maybe the Schreckenbergturm and the blue stones underneath. A rather seldomly visited place is the 600 meters high Großer Bärenberg (‘bear mountain’). Maybe you just know it when you pass on motorway A44 from the Ruhr area to Kassel – as there is a rest area named after the mountain.

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The Alps of northern Hesse

Alpenpfad, Dörnberg, Zierenberg

There are different nice places around Kassel, Germany, for a wonderful walk – but my most beloved path is currently the Alpenpfad at the Dörnberg mountain close to Zierenberg. For sure it is far away from the Alps but it is a beautiful narrow path which you can only do in single file. It leads you in loops through tiny valleys, through forests and nature there feels pretty unusual for the region.

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Burgruine Schartenberg

Burgruine Schartenberg, Zierenberg

While roaming art museums around the world I learned that ruins are an often-used symbol for the caducity of life – at least in romanticism. A prototype for such a painting could be the Burgruine Schartenberg or Schartenburg close to Zierenberg, Germany. The only thing left is the donjon with impressive walls that have a thickness of three metres. Around the donjon, you can see some structures on the ground, plateaus that show you how large the castle and the neighbouring Groppeschloss once were.

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Schreckenbergturm, Zierenberg

High above Zierenberg, Germany, you can find a watchtower on the 460 meters high mountain Schreckenberg. In medieval times the Schreckenbergturm was used to watch out for enemies and to spark a fire to warn the inhabitants of the city underneath. Later it deteriorated but in 1911 the tower was restored and opened to the public as a wonderful viewpoint. The more than 15 meters high tower is today owned and maintained by the Hessisch-Waldeckische Gebirgs- und Heimatverein (HWGH).

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Table mount

Burghasunger Berg, Zierenberg

Northern Hesse has its own table mount! Not as vast as the Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa but very worth a visit. When coming from Kassel, Germany, you need to pass around the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe and then you will see it very fast: the Burghasunger Berg belonging to Zierenberg. The mountain is flat and on top, you will find a small lake, the ruins of a former cloister, good views and some places to rest.

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Helfensteine, Zierenberg

It’s a bizarre landscape. A vast area without bushes and trees, strangely formed rocks on one of the surrounding mountains, many people walking around and climbing these rocks and gliders starting on an airfield in between. That is what you can all find close to Zierenberg, Germany (15 kilometers northwest of Kassel). The strangely shaped rocks are called Helfensteine and are visible because of the erosion of the surrounding area over a very long time.

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