Thale Tourist Attractions
Thale lies in the wild and romantic Bode valley, on the northeastern fringes of the Harz. The town's main sources of income are the tourist trade and iron and steelworking. It is also noted for the calcium chloride spring of the Hubertusbad, which has been used for medicinal purposes since 1836.
St Andrew's Church
The parish church of St Andrew (1540) in Thale, within the precincts of a former nunnery, was rebuilt in 1786-90, incorporating remains of the conventual buildings. Notable features of the interior are a Baroque reredos (18th C.) and monuments of the 16th-18th centuries.
Southeast of the church in Thale stands a tower house of the ninth/10th C., the oldest secular building on the north side of the Harz, and all that is left of a medieval castle, the site of which is now under cultivation.
At Rathausstrasse 1 in Thale is the Heimatmuseum (prehistoric material from the surrounding area) and in the same street the Works Museum of the local iron and steelworks.
At the Hubertusbrücke in the Bode valley a cabin cableway goes up to the Hexentanzplatz. The cableway, 720m/785yds long, climbs 250m/820ft in 4 minutes (skis carried). There is also a chair-lift to the Rosstrappe.
Thale (Harz - International Folklore Festival für Kinder und Jugendensembles)
The Hexentanzplatz ("Witches' Dancing-Place") is a rock shelf (alt. 451m/1,480ft) that falls steeply down into the Bode valley; fine views of the surrounding peaks. Nearby is an enclosure containing typical Harz animals.
Thale Harz - Mountain Theater
On the steep scarp of the Hexentanzplatz is the Harzer Bergtheater (Mountain Theater; by E. Wachler, 1903), with seating for 1,400. Beside the theater stands the Walpurgishalle (museum), a timber building in the "Old German" style by the Berlin architect Sehring (1901), with paintings of scenes from the Faust legend.
Opposite the Hexentanzplatz is the Rosstrappe (403m/1,322ft), from which there is a fine view of the Bode valley, with the Teufelsbrücke (Devil's Bridge).The Hexentanzplatz and Rosstrappe were prehistoric cult sites. Stone and earth ramparts, such as the Heidenwall on the Rosstrappe and the Sachsenwall on the Hexentanzplatz and finds of material ranging in date from the Neolithic to the Early Iron Age, indicate that these sites were frequented over a very long period. In Christian times this was regarded as the abode of Satan, and legend had it that on Walpurgis Night (April 30th-May first) witches rode on broomsticks to the Brocken (Blocksberg) to make merry with the Devil.
The source area of the Bode is the high moorland of the Upper Harz, an area of high rainfall (1,000-1,600mm/39-63in. annually) with a long period of snow cover (160 days in the year). The Kalte and the Warme Bode (Cold and Warm Bode) rise below the Brocken, the Rappbode farther south. They join at Wendefurth to form the Bode, which flows through Thale, Quedlinburg, Oschersleben and Stassfurt to join the Saale at Nienburg after a course of 169km/105mi.
The deeply indented Bode Valley is caught between steep rock faces, with tumbles of boulders and detritus in the valley bottom. There is a particularly impressive stretch near Thale, where the valley emerges from the densely forested northern fringe of the Harz. There are a number of dams on the Bode, creating reservoirs that supply water to the drier eastern foreland of the Harz (in particular the industrial concentrations around Halle, Leipzig and Magdeburg), provide protection from flooding and are harnessed to generate power.