The Stone Key (Steiner Schlüssel) tomb near Apeldorn, Emsland
The Stone Key (Steiner Schlüssel) tomb near Apeldorn, Emsland ©Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e. V. (Hartwig Wachsmann)
Scenic routes from A to Z
The Route of Megalithic Culture

A journey through a mystical kingdom of stone

The signposted Route of Megalithic Culture, which runs for approximately 330 km through the Osnabrücker Land region and the Weser-Ems region, brings together around 33 striking and historically significant megalithic sites and more than 70 neolithic chambered tombs dating from 3500 – 2800 BC. Almost every single one of the graves is found in the areas inhabited by the Funnelbeaker culture, with each region possessing its own unique style of tombs.

During the Stone Age, farmers used glacial boulders to build imposing burial chambers for the dead, so-called chamber tombs. Archaeologists also refer to these monumental constructions, which are older than the pyramids of Egypt, as "megalithic tombs". This archaeological journey of discovery through dolmens and passage tombs is also a fascinating exploration of prehistoric myth and legend.

Monuments to the Stone Age elite

The Route of Megalithic Culture winds through the Osnabrücker Land region, the Emsland district, the Oldenburger Münsterland district and Wildeshauser Geest Nature Park as it makes its way between the cities of Osnabrück, Meppen and Oldenburg. The megalithic monuments displayed along the route are huge granite constructions brought to Germany by the Scandinavians during the last Ice Age. Yet another fascinating feature of these prehistoric stone tombs is their location. Often found in the midst of great forests, mysterious shadows dance across the surface of the stones as the sun casts its rays through the treetops.

Mystical stones take centre stage

Legendary tombs such as the Glaner Braut, the Visbeker Braut, the Bräutigam, the Kleinenkneter Stones (Kleinenkneter Steine) and the Heidenopfertisch are only a very short distance away from each other and bring 5,000 years of history to life amongst idyllic wooded heath and against the picturesque backdrop of the regions small towns and villages.

More than just relics

The route also includes many other sites of ancient, medieval and even modern significance such as churches, abbeys, mills, the site of the legendary Battle of the Teutoburg Forest and the poignant ruins of the Cistercian abbey in Hude.

The Stone Age riddle

Plenty of fascinating facts can be learned from these puzzling remnants of the Stone Age: facts about their sophisticated construction, mysterious death rituals and Stone Age beliefs about the afterlife, as well as the everyday lives of the people who lived here thousands of years ago which, until now, have been largely unknown. The route also offers a chance to find out about religious worship in the more recent past. The Stone Age puzzle – megalithic culture and the birth of architecture Even today, no-one really knows for sure how Stonehenge and other prehistoric monuments were constructed or what purpose they served.

Route of Megalithic Culture

Length: approximately 330 km

Theme: megalithic culture, archaeology, countryside

Bramsche: Malgarten Abbey
Cloppenburg: Museum Village
Kalkriese: Battle of Teutoburg Forest Museum and Park
Meppen: ecclesiastical buildings, museums, city walls
Oldenburg: State Museum (Landesmuseum)
Osnabrück: City of Peace
Sögel: Clemeswerth Palace
Wallenhorst: St. Alexander Church (Alexanderkirche)
Wildeshausen: nature park, collegiate church (Stiftskirche)
Venne: Iron Age House (Eisenzeithaus)

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