• Nebra Ark – large-scale full moon sculpture
    Nebra Ark – large-scale full moon sculpture © Arche Nebra (J. Lipták)
  • Harz mountain theatre
    Harz mountain theatre ©Koglin
  • Externsteine rocks in Horn-Bad Meinberg
    Externsteine rocks in Horn-Bad Meinberg ©Kulturagentur des Landesverbandes Lippe
  • Isis temple in Mainz
    Isis temple in Mainz ©Landesarchäologie Mainz
  • Vogtei sacrificial site
    Vogtei sacrificial site ©Zweckverband Mittelpunkt Deutschland, Niederdorla
  • Rose garden in Ohlsdorf
    Rose garden in Ohlsdorf ©Hamburger Friedhöfe (AöR) 2009
  • Kyffhäuser hills/Barbarossa's Cave
    Kyffhäuser hills/Barbarossa's Cave ©Barbarossahöhle
  • Castle Frankenstein
    Castle Frankenstein ©Burg Frankenstein/Medianet World
  • Healing gallery at Mount Untersberg
    Healing gallery at Mount Untersberg ©Berchtesgadener Land Tourismus GmbH
  • Goseck information centre
    Goseck information centre ©Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt (Liptak, Pie und Hunold)

Time for magic moments

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.
Isis temple in Mainz
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.

Healing gallery at Mount Untersberg
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.

Goseck information centre
Older than Stonehenge: Goseck Sun Observatory

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.

Vogtei sacrificial site
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.

Kyffhäuser hills/Barbarossa's Cave
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.

Harz mountain theatre
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 »

Rose garden in Ohlsdorf
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.

Externsteine rocks in Horn-Bad Meinberg
Externsteine rocks: a pagan ritual site to worship the Germanic gods Odin and Freya

This sacred site from medieval times is encircled by 13 bizarre sandstone columns in various formations, which rise to heights of around 38 metres, in an area that is otherwise almost free of rocks. It is the most spectacular and fabled monument in the Teutoburg Forest and attracts over 500,000 visitors a year. Festivities for the summer solstice and Walpurgis Night are still celebrated here today.

Nebra Ark – large-scale full moon sculpture
Nebra Ark: discover and unravel the secrets and mysteries of the fascinating Nebra Sky Disk

What did the sky look like 3,600 years ago? What is the secret of the Nebra Sky Disk? In the 'golden barge', visitors can enjoy an exhibition of elaborate displays that is as captivating as the sky disk itself. Answers to questions and puzzles about this phenomenon can be found at the interactive visitor centre where you can find out everything about the sun, moon and stars. Accessible for wheelchair users.

Castle Frankenstein
Castle Frankenstein: inextricably linked with Mary Shelley, anatomist J.K. Dippel and Halloween

The ruins of myth-enshrouded Castle Frankenstein near Darmstadt have an exceptionally fascinating history that is well worth discovering. The castle provides the fabled setting for a classic tale of horror and is especially popular at Halloween. One of Germany's largest Halloween festivals has taken place here since the 1970s. Themed events, guided tours of the castle and gastro-experience packages are available all year round.

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