Glowworms and jack-o'-lanterns, bizarrely shaped rocks, caves, stone circles, hot springs and sacred sites: they are everywhere, places enshrouded with myths, sagas and legends that still exude an air of magic today.
Roman rituals in the Taberna Archaeologica: the temple of Isis and Mater Magna in Mainz
This temple, devoted to the ancient Egyptian deity Isis and the Mater Magna or 'great mother' goddess of Asia Minor, dates from the 3rd century AD and is the only one of its kind in Germany. Located beneath the Römerpassage shopping arcade in Mainz , the exhibition of the ancient shrine provides a sensational insight into the religious mythology and rituals of Roman times. Multimedia infotainment stations provide plenty of enjoyment as well.
The spiritual power and mystical magic of Mount Untersberg
The nearly 2,000-metre-high mountain massif separating Berchtesgaden and Salzburg is enshrouded in myths and legends – tales of time travel, giants and even the sleeping Emperor Charlemagne are associated with this enigmatic mountain. It is believed to be a place of great energy and has a vast cave system, in fact Germany's biggest ice cave – there are many fascinating things to see and experience in and on Mount Untersberg.
The mystery of Goseck, Europe's oldest sun observatory. This set of concentric ditches pre-dating Stonehenge had many functions: it was a place where sacrifices were offered to the sun, exact calendar calculations were made and the Henge culture was venerated. But what happened exactly 7,000 years ago? Guided tours and festivities for the summer and winter solstices offer an insight into the culture of the Neolithic settlements.
Early Germanic sacrificial site: the largest pagan site in Thuringia to have undergone archaeological investigation
You can explore the reconstructed 2,000-year-old sacrificial site at the exhibition area in Oberdorla, in the authentic location of the Celto-Germanic ritual site and shrine, and learn all about the beliefs and mythology of our ancestors. For centuries, it was used by the Germanic tribes to worship their gods and to honour them with sacrifices. Guided tours on request.
Legendary cave system beneath the Kyffhäuser hills in Thuringia
The fabled Kyffhäuser caves are shrouded in by myth and legend and are said to be the home of the mystical Emperor Barbarossa. The caves are of particular interest from a pagan and symbolic perspective. The underground caverns were first used as a venue for ancient rituals, before becoming the subject of the Barbarossa legend and other myths. Today they have become a tourist attraction. The best-known is Barbarossa's Cave which is open to visitors.
The magic of Walpurgis Night: a colourful spectacle of 'devilish' antics!
Every year on 30 April and into the early hours of 1 May, witches dance with the devil and many other guests to celebrate the ancient tradition of Walpurgis Night. This takes place on the witches' dancing ground, 454m above the Bode valley, an Old Saxon ritual site. The nearby Walpurgis Hall Museum shows scenes from Walpurgis Night and myths and legends from the Harz. There is also plenty going on here at other times of year.
Wartburg Castle in Eisenach – true stories and great legends within the walls of this famous castle
As a cultural beacon, UNESCO World Heritage site and proud bearer of the European Heritage Label, Wartburg Castle is interwoven in Germany's history more than any other castle. St. Elisabeth of Thuringia lived here and Martin Luther translated the New Testament here. Goethe spent time at the castle and Franz Liszt played music within its walls – many other great figures are also associated with the fortunes of Wartburg Castle. more »
The world's largest park cemetery: Ohlsdorf Cemetery in Hamburg
A dignified setting of eternal beauty – with no sense of monotony. Ohlsdorf Cemetery creates a harmonious whole with its fine landscaped grounds of 400 hectares, its 1,000 sculptures, and its 300,000 graves, mausoleums, chapels and crematoriums that are non-denominational and represent numerous faith communities – a meeting place and impressive cultural monument in one.