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Listed under Caves & Caving in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

  • Photo of Baumannshohle
  • Photo of Baumannshohle
  • Photo of Baumannshohle
  • Photo of Baumannshohle
Photo of Baumannshohle
Photo by gregorybrick
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Hohle, related to the English word hole, means cave in German, and so this is Baumann’s Cave. Friedrich Baumann was an iron miner in the Rubeland (Rough Land) of the Harz Mountains when he discovered this natural cave in 1536. Guided tours began more than a century later, after the Thirty Years War, making this one of Europe’s oldest show caves. Baumannshohle is especially well-known for its association with the great German poet Goethe, who first visited it in 1777, and the largest room in the cave is known as Goethesaal, or Goethe’s Chamber. This has been converted into an underground theater, where many plays have been performed over the years. In another room, there's a forest of tall stalagmites.

Baumannshohle is equally important from a paleontological perspective, however. Vast number of bones of the extinct Ice Age cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) have been found within its walls. Originally, these bones were interpreted by the local people as the bones of unicorns. It was not until about 1800 that Rosenmuller published a monograph forming the basis of our present understanding of the cave bear. An oddity is that these were the most vegetarian of all bears. While the bones of the cave bear are found widely over Europe, there are only a few locations where their bones are so heavily concentrated as in this cave. A complete, articulated skeleton of one of the bears forms a display within the cave. A classic account is Bjorn Kurten's book, "The Cave Bear Story," published in 1976.

The entrance building, containing the ticket booth and gift shop, also has a nice historical display about the cave, as well as artifacts and bear bones found within the cave. Tours are conducted in German only.

Rubeland is located 14 km south of Wernigerode, in what had been part of East Germany. In the same town, within walking distance, you'll find Hermannshohle, another bear cave, and a large rockshelter offering "Imbiss" (fast food), a nice place to enjoy the shade on hot summer days!

Written by  Greg Brick.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

What days and hours is it open?

We would like to know what times you are open and also what is the fee to go in.

1 Reply

Hi Mary - It's about €5 for adult entry, and the caves are open from 9:00 to 5:30 every day during the summer and until 4:30 once September comes around.

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