If you’ve been to Germany but have never been to the countryside, it may surprise you to learn that Germans have a rich mythological history that’s still celebrated today. German cities tend to be models of efficiency, but as soon as you’ve stripped away the rapid transit and the busy boulevards, you’re able to see just how deep these currents of superstition go.
To really understand Germany’s rich history, visit places like Hamelin – where the Pied Piper was once known to roam – and the Black Forest – where seeing spirits and apparitions were commonplace occurrences once upon a time. Here are some of Germany’s most fascinating supernatural landmarks.
The Roßtrappe is a very tall vertical rock formation found in the Bode Gorge in central Germany. To get up there, you can hike or take a convenient chair lift that gets you right to the peak in no time. Many people go there for the beautiful views, but others visit because of the story that’s connected to this particular rock.
Legend tells of the beautiful Princess Brunhilda who was fleeing her husband-to-be, a giant named Bodo. She made it to the gorge, but realized she had nowhere to go. Deciding to take her chances with the gorge rather than be caught, she launched herself and her horse off the edge. They made it across, while Bodo fell to his death. There’s still a hoofprint to mark where her horse jumped.
The Lorelei is another interesting rock formation, which can be found on the banks of the Rhine River near Sankt Goarshausen. Because of the currents flowing around the rock, and a small waterfall nearby, there’s a distinct murmuring that can be heard as you’re standing near the rock.
Local legend attributes the murmuring to a young woman, Lore Lay, who was betrayed by her sweetheart and sentenced to life in a nunnery. On her way to the nunnery, she came across Lorelei rock and asked to view the Rhine one last time. She thinks she sees her sweetheart in the river and accidently falls to her death. Now, people claim that the auditory phenomenon is really her whispering.
Eltz Castle is a spectacular castle that sits on a clifftop above the Moselle River, and has been standing on that spot, inhabited by the same family since the 12th century. Although the castle is open to visitors for part of the year, the family is in residence the other half of the year so make your visit during the summer season.
If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the resident ghost, Agnes, who died fighting to defend the castle. The breastplate and axe that you see in the Countess’ bedroom once belonged to her.