Sourced from Wikivoyage. Text is available under the CC-by-SA 3.0 license.

(WT-en) HaJo

The Harz is a low mountain range in the Central Uplands of Germany, famous for its historic silver mines that brought prosperity to the region and to the Electorate of Hanover. It lies between the river Elbe and Weser in the states of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and, to a small extent, Thuringia. The range runs for 100 km from northwest to southeast and is 30 km wide. The terraced plateaus are made of limestone, sandstone, and slate and have been cut by many narrow, deep valleys. The two highest peaks in the area are the legendary and mysterious Brocken (1,141 m or 3,743 feet high), just higher than Snowdon , and the Wurmberg (971 m or 3,186 feet high), both of which are made of granite. The higher, northwestern area is known as the Upper Harz (Oberharz) and the lower, southeastern area is the Lower Harz (Unterharz). The highest mountains - around the Brocken - are sometimes called the High Harz (Hochharz).
The Upper Harz plateau slopes from 1,000 m elevation in the west down to 485 m in the centre and suffers from a cold and damp climate, even in the summer, caused by its susceptibility to westerly winds. The Brocken rises above the plateau and is internationally famous for the stories and myths associated with it in local folklore and literature. The summit of the Brocken is bare and has an Alpine climate, but its lower slopes are forested and interspersed with moorlands and river beds.
The Lower Harz has a gentler climate which has enabled it to be exploited by agriculture. The area supports grain and cattle farming, and was once abundant with game, Eurasian lynx, brown bears, and wolves. They were hunted to extinction, but there are projects to reintroduce some of these native animals again. The lynx reintroduction at least has been successful, with the Harz mountains now being marketed as the Kingdom of the Lynx. The area is also famous for a number of rarer animal breeds, including the Harzer Roller canaries, bred for the mines.
Between the 10th-16th centuries, the area became immensely important for mining and metallurgy, lead, silver, iron, zinc, and copper being the main products. Easy access to water and wood helped the early settlers. Dams, however, have now been introduced to control the waters to remove the possibility of flooding or shortages in the summer. These dams generate hydroelectric power and ensure a steady supply of drinking water for the area.
Industries such as quarrying (marble, granite, and gypsum) as well as wood processing for paper and cardboard provide sources of income.
The area is also heavily dependent on tourism with water sports and resorts being important, but it is its forest scenery in the Harz National Park which attracts the majority of the tourists.



Get in

Get around





Go next