Ore Mountains Attractions Erzgebirge
Situation and topographyThe Erzgebirge range lies on the German-Czech border, extending for some 130km/80mi from southwest to northeast between the Elstergebirge and the Elbsandsteingebirge (Elbe Sandstone Hills), with a breadth of 40km/25mi.
The hills, mainly built up from granites, gneisses, mica schists and porphyries, rise out of the Middle Saxon Uplands, gradually increasing in height towards the southeast from 350-450 m/1,150-1,475ft to 800-900 m/2,600-2,950ft and beyond the crest - which marks the frontier between Germany and the Czech Republic as well as the centuries-old boundary between Saxony and Bohemia - falling steeply down to the Ohre (Eger) rift valley.The highest peak in the Erzgebirge, Klínovec or Keilberg (1,244 m/4,082ft) lies within Czech Republic; the highest peak on German territory is its neighbor, the Fichtelberg (1214m/3,983ft). The second highest peak in the Saxon Erzgebirge is the Auersberg (1019m/3,343ft), near Johanngeorgenstadt.Among other prominent peaks are a number of isolated table-like hills in the central Erzgebirge, like the Bärenstein (898 m/2,946ft), the Pöhlberg (832 m/2,730ft) and the Scheibenberg (805 m/2,641ft), in which the gneiss and mica schist have been protected from erosion by covering layers of basalt.
Like the western part of the range, the eastern Erzgebirge is a popular recreation area at all times of year. In the Gottleuba valley are Berggiesshübel (Kneipp cure), which has been operating as a spa since 1722 and Bad Gottleuba, a spa since 1861 (chalybeate springs; mud baths). At Frauenstein, on the edge of the Obere Freiberger Mulde landscape reserve, can be seen the ruins of one of the largest castles in Saxony. There are other castles at Dohna, Weesenstein, Bärenstein and Lauenstein in the Müglitz valley.The principal attractions at the higher levels in the eastern Erzgebirge are the hill towns of Altenberg and Geising with their demonstration mines; the Geisingberg, a round-topped basalt hill (824 m/2,704ft) on which the mining of tin (still continuing) began around 1440; the scattered village of Zinnwald-Georgenfeld, on the crest ridge of the Erzgebirge; the Kahleberg (905 m/2,969ft), the highest peak in the eastern Erzgebirge, with the Blockmeer nature reserve; and the Georgenfeld moors, also a nature reserve.
The western Erzgebirge offers a wide range of features of interest, recreation areas and holiday centers. Among them are the Augustusburg, a 16th C. hunting lodge of the Electors of Saxony situated on the edge of the Zschopau valley, within easy reach of Chemnitz; the Sachsenring motor-racing circuit (8.7km/5.5mi long) at Hohenstein-Ernstthal; Schneeberg; the outlook tower on the forest-covered Auersberg; the well planned little town of Annaberg, with its monumental Late Gothic church of St Anne and the Frohnauer, an old ironworks; and the health resort of Seiffen, center of the Saxon toy-making industry, with the Erzgebirge Toy Museum.Artificial lakesAmong popular recreation areas, particularly in summer, are the numerous artificial lakes (reservoirs) formed by the building of dams (e.g. on the Flöhe, the Rauschenbach and the Sosa).