Who could fail to be intrigued by a journey that tells a story? Archaeology and astronomy is the theme of this approximately 150 km route to four fascinating locations in Saxony-Anhalt, offering insights into faraway worlds, ancient times and fascinating visions of the future.
The Sky Paths message is simple. The people who lived 3,600 years ago were not very different from us. They too were searching for the meaning of life and at night they looked up at the same stars. Saxony-Anhalt a region renowned for its exquisite castles and fine wines, also holds some remarkable treasures. It seems you only have to stick a spade in the ground and you'll unearth something important.
The Nebra Sky Disk
It all began with the spectacular find of the century when the Nebra Sky Disk, a bronze disk inlaid with gold symbols dating back around 3,600 years, was unearthed on Mittelberg Hill in 1999. The bronze disk, which weighs almost two kilograms and is almost completely circular in shape, has a diameter of approximately 32 cm and is made from just one piece of bronze. One of the most clearly marked symbols on the disk is a ship sailing through the sky past the sun, moon and stars. Seven gold dots in the shape of the Pleiades constellation can also be identified. In many cultures, this constellation was used as a calendar as it disappears and reappears once as the year progresses.
Today the Nebra Sky Disk and the associated finds are kept in the State Museum in Halle in a space crowned by 70,000 stars. Not far from the discovery site near Nebra, the Arche Nebra visitor centre rests above the Unstrut valley like a golden spaceship. The goddess stone of Langeneichstädt was uncovered at another excavation site a mere 18 km away.
In Goseck, around 30 km from Nebra, 1675 oaks trunks were used in the reconstruction of the world's oldest sun observatory, discovered in 1991. At this cult site, Stone Age sorcerers studied the heavens to discover the meaning of life a good 2,000 years before Stonehenge was built. As well as making a strong visual impact, visitors are also struck by the impressive acoustics inside the Stone Age sanctuary. When are you going to visit this wonder of European history?
Length: 150 km
Theme: archaeology, astronomy
Goseck: Sun Observatory Information Centre, castle
Halle: Regional Museum of Prehistory (Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte)
Langeneichstädt: goddess stone dating from the Middle Neolithic period
Mittelberg: Sky Disk discovery site
Wangen: Arche Nebra visitors' centre
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