Welcome to Germany's Largest Geopark
It reaches from Wolfsburg in the north to Allstedt in the south. Wolfsburg, home of VW, has only been known by that name since 1945. At Allstedt Palace, a stop on the Romanesque Scenic Route in Saxony-Anhalt, Thomas Muentzer delivered his famous 'Sermon to the Princes' in 1524. This marked the beginning of the Modern era, in which people are no longer bound to display unconditional obedience to authority. It is people that are the focus of UNESCO Global Geoparks. An understanding of how the landscapes that they live in, or use for recreation, were created requires taking a look at their geology.
Geotopes are windows into geological history: natural formations that communicate knowledge about the development of the planet, and of life itself. Within the borders of the 9,800km2 Geopark Harz – Braunschweig Region – Ostfalen there is a dense concentration of such geotopes. Their extraordinary diversity provides insights into all periods of the Earth's history.
Where the Harz Mountains rise out of the lowlands of the Braunschweig Region, we find an area of the Geopark known as the 'Classic Square-Mile of Geology'. Rich in natural resources, including ores and salt, with fertile soils, plentiful supplies of wood and water power, this area of the Geopark was a centre of power during the Holy Roman Empire. The Imperial Residence in Goslar and other royal estates, like those at Poehlde, Tilleda, or Werla, are reminders of this. One thousand years later the region became a centre of industrialisation and also of plant breeding. The Association of German Engineers was founded in Alexisbad, in the Harz, in 1856.
Apart from being an area of industry and research, with the Julius Kuehn Institute (Federal Research Institute for Crops) among others, today the Geopark is one of the most important travel destinations in Germany. The nature parks in the Harz, and the Elm-Lappwald Nature Park, form extensive recreation areas. The Brocken is, at 1,141 m asl, the highest mountain in both the Geopark and the Harz National Park. Young people from all over the world study within the Geopark at the universities and colleges in Braunschweig, Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Halberstadt, Nordhausen, and Wernigerode. Culture is alive and well here!
Offices of the Geopark are located in Quedlinburg, Hohe Strasse 6 (Regionalverband Harz), and in Koenigslutter, Niedernhof 4 (Geopark Sponsors Association, Braunschweig Region – Ostfalen). The two authorities are sole partners in the Geopark Harz-Braunschweig Region-Ostfalen GbR (a non-commercial civil law partnership), which is the sponsor of the UNESCO Global Geopark of the same name.