The Brocken - The Blocksberg

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Here two old picturepostcards.

They showing, what is the matter in the Walpurgisnight on the Brocken.


Witches rush to the Brocken's meet.
Yellow the stubble field, green is the seed.
The the multitudes do gather.
Above them Satan like their father.
Up hill, down dale, they chase their luck,
the farting witch, the stinking buck.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

"Faust", Walpurgis Night

The Witches' Choir



On the Brocken we was in our holidays in the summer 1997.

The Brocken is also famous as "Blocksberg".

How the old picturepostcards that shows, meeting every year in the Walpurgis night (the night from the 30th april to the 1th may) all witches to the big event.

On the top of these mountain found Goethe impressions for his "Faust". By two rocks, called "Teufelskanzel" (devils pulpit) and "Hexenaltar" (witches altar).

Today is the Brocken part of a nationalpark.

The situation on the Brocken is totally other as the land around this mountain. On the Brocken most snow from september to may. And a climatic situation like in other mountains around 2000 m. But the Brocken is "only" 1142 m high. And nothing is higher all around. So is the Brocken the highest thing in North-Germany. The next high mountains are only on the deep south, the Alphen in the south of München (Munich).

On the Brocken top is also a Brocken garden, since 1890, with mountain plants.

And there is also a railway-station. Like in old times, with a steamtrain, can the Brockentop also be arrived. With the HSB, the Harzer Schmalspur-Bahnen (small-railway). But more beautiful are the footpaths and wanderways.

The first little house on the Brocken was build 1743. And a better one from a lord from Wernigerode, Graf Christian Ernst zu Stolberg-Wernigerode.

On these mountain was also the world's first television tower. Since 1935 sending the Deutsche Reichspost (German Reichspost) from the Brocken in image and sound. And 1936 to 1937 was the television tower on the Brocken build. And 1936 was also the televisions premiere, the broadcasting of the Olympic Summergames in Berlin in 1936.

To september 1939 (begin WorldWar II) was the television still sending.

And in the end of these war was the Brocken also bombed (17th april 1945), the Brocken-Hotel and the weather-station was complete destroyed, the television tower not. Probably the allied forces wanted to capture the tower in tact, for the Americans continued to use the installations from 1945 to 1947. Before the Americans left the Brocken 1947, they made the weather station and the television tower unusable and took all interesting technology with them...

And from 1973 to 1976 was a new modern television tower build, near the old one, for the second GDR-TV. Today these tower is for the second german TV (ZDF - Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen).

From 1957 was the Brocken a security zone and since the Berlin wall on the 13th august 1961 was the Brocken a military high securyty zone. And turned into a fortress. Border troops took up their quarters at the Brocken railway station. And of course has the soviet army a large own territory.. And the Stasi (from Staatssicherheit - the east german secret police) was in the television tower (since 1985 in a own new building - now a Brocken-museum).

To top it up, the entire Brocken plateau was then sealed off by a concrete wall. Build with 2318 sections, every 2,4 tons and 3,60 m high. Where the wall stands is now a round-way.

Also the stuff from the russians is away: the barracks and domes of their listening posts were torn down.


But back to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He make also a lyrics on his way, on the 17th august 1783, "Wanderung zum Gipfel des Brockens".

I think, good impressions, we have the same seen...

Journey to Brocken Peak

At a quick pace,
Through sweat was flowing freely,
I strode up the mountain's side,
Which like a giant looking down on dwarfs
Rises above surrounding hills,
This fateful mountain where the Devil's Majesty
Had once his wedding celebrated
By a ballet of ladies of his court.
Up, up, with strenght and courage,
Up the steep Brocken sides!
My genius called to me with silent voices.
Up, up, and do not shun the winds
tousling your curls,
For way up there stillness yet does await you.
How grand, thought I, to stand up there on high
And in the dawn look down on valleys far below !
How gorgeous then to view like someone drunk
and overwhelmed with joy
Around me all the glories of creation
of Lord and Men. Look!
I came and saw - and veiled I saw
The grandeurs of creation!
How gloomy, how cheerless was the view!
As melancholy filled the heart
A silent tear welled up.
How sad! For in a happy mood not unlike this
Did once I scale the sloping hills of hope
With paces never broken,
As wings of dreams and visions carried me
High to the lofty eyries of the peaks.
From there I saw far off
Joy's valleys blossom in a sea of roses,
And high above the stars of a bright future
Shone brightly with a golden glow -
Alas! Too soon, too soon did hazes turn
To thicker fogs forever veiling my horizon,
And with it went, swallowed as if by magic,
The sunshine of the coming day.

Yes, we have the same seen on the top: nothing. Only floating fogs, thinner and thicker. A very strange atmosphere. But the air was clear - so clear. And i have read, in a year is on around 300 days fog.

A other famous visitor on the Brocken was Heinrich Heine. He has wrote a book "Harzreise" (A Harz Journey). Heinrich Heine says: "The mountain somehow appears so Germanically stoical, so understanding, so tolerant, just because it affords a view so high and wide and clear. And should such mountain open its giant eyes, it may well see more than we, who like dwarfs just trample on it, staring from stupid eyes."

Brocken-Links

Here is a page about the Brocken.

And here is the Brocken-WebCam. A few different Live-Pictures from the Brocken.

Here the newest Brocken-weather.

And here are the Brockenwirt.
Here you can stay at night on the Brocken top and a restaurant.

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Last edition: 1th july 2000

© Klaus Eichfeld 2000