In the town of Altmannstein the first language you might hear might not be German, but Latin. What might you hear in Latin? Fagus sylvatica. Means nothing to you? Means plenty around here. It’s the official name of a European Beech.
Better put, Altmannstein is where you’ll find the Bavaria-Buche, a beech tree in the village of Pondorf that’s thought to be almost 800 years old. What’s really remarkable is beech trees aren’t known to live more than 300 years or so…
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There is also the Große Eiche, a 29-meter high Oak tree in the hamlet of Ottersdorf. Take a good look at the trunk… that’s a “scar” caused by lightning.
What’s really great is that these two trees aren’t the only ones. Altmannstein lies within the Altmühltal Nature Park, so hike away and find your own tree to carry on about.
Impressed yet? I am.
I’m also impressed by Altmannstein’s two castles. Schloss Sandersdorf is now a Baroque beauty of a castle, although it was originally from the Middle Ages.
Burg Altmannstein is also from the medieval period (around 1120). Difference is, good ol’ Altmannstein Castle lies in ruins; having been sacked in the late 15th century. Don’t feel bad for it… it’s so romantic looking up there on its hill.
The castle’s park is also a romantic place, so wander around — and you’ll see what I mean.
Another one of Altmannstein’s impressive buildings is the Pfarrkirche Hl. Kreuz, or Parish Church of the Holy Cross. This is a wonderful example of Rococo architecture (all frilly, ornate, decorative — with its choir designed by German sculptor Ignaz Günther); however, it too is older than it looks.
Care to see more of Ignaz Günther’s work? Splendid, there’s a museum of it located in town.
You’ll also find lots of other little surprises throughout Altmannstein’s fourteen districts and beyond, including hiking trails throughout the Franconian Jura.
I guess it all leads back into the natural part of Altmannstein; and that transcends any language.