Thuringian Forest Attractions Thüringer Wald
Situation and characteristicsThe name of Thuringian Forest is generally applied to the upland region, still covered with great tracts of forest, which extends from Eisenach in the northwest to the upper Saale in the southeast. In the narrower sense it is the range of hills, 60km/37mi long and 7-14km/4.5-9mi wide, between Hörschel an der Werra in the northwest and a line from Schleusingen to Gehren in the southeast, where it merges into the Thuringian Hills (Thüringer Schiefergebirge). Bounded as they are by fault lines, the hills of the Thuringian Forest rise directly out of the surrounding area in steep scarps 200-300m/650-1,000ft high.The hills in the central Thuringian Forest mostly range between 800m/2,600ft and 900m/2,950ft. They consist largely of New Red Sandstone, with some volcanic rocks including porphyry. Around the edges are later deposits of limestones and sandstones.
Grosser Beerberg (Schneekopf, Grosser Inselsberg)
The rounded hills which rise above the plateaux in the Thuringian Forest, such as the Grosser Beerberg (982m/3,222ft), the Schneekopf (978m/3,209ft) and the Grosser Inselsberg (916m/3,005ft), are eroded masses of porphyry. The extent of the plateaus increases towards the southeast. Where granites and gneisses, less subject to erosion, lie on the surface this has led to the formation of basins, as at Suhl, Zella-Mehlis and Brotterode.The Thuringian Forest is slashed by deeply indented valleys, often cutting into the rock to a depth of several hundred meters and enclosed between steep hillsides. A striking example is the Drachenschlucht ("Dragon's Gorge") near Eisenach. The scenic beauty of the Thuringian Forest lies in the contrasts between its forest-covered hills and its deep valleys.ClimateThe climate of the Thuringian Forest is cool, with a good deal of rain. The winters are long, with an abundance of snow, providing excellent conditions for winter sports. Spring comes late - several weeks later than in the surrounding foreland areas. In summer there are local differences in climate, depending on the topography of the area, exposure to the sun and the degree of exposure to, or shelter from, wind. In general the hills of the Thuringian Forest lie at an angle to the prevailing southwesterly winds, and their height tends to bring down rain.RiversThe numerous streams flowing down from the Thuringian Forest are within the catchment area of the Werra on the south side of the hills and for the most part in that of the Saale on the north side. There are a number of small dams in the river valleys; the largest is the Ohra Dam, which has formed an artificial lake with a capacity of 18.4million cu. m/4 billion gallons.Forestry and agricultureThree quarters of the area of the Thuringian Forest is under forest. The rest consists of arable and pasture land; but in general agriculture is of relatively minor economic importance.Holiday resortsThe best-known resort is Oberhof, situated at a height of 825m/2,707ft. Other climatically favored resorts are Tambach-Dietharz, Finsterbergen and Friedrichroda.