There are only four locations on the Sky Paths Scenic Route, or Himmelswege in German, but that’s all it takes for us mere mortals to understand that maybe (just maybe) we’re connected to something bigger than ourselves.
The Sky Paths route is found within Saxony-Anhalt, connecting four towns with each other. The four towns are located within a triangular region, on about 90 km or 56 mi, so it’s not like you’ll get lost while you’re gazing around the stars and planets, the castles and vineyards, or museums and monasteries.
Start of the Sky Paths Route
So, where do we begin now?
With its views of the Saale Region, it might seem like an odd choice to look towards the Heavens (because you won’t be able to take your eyes off the natural landscape) — but Ancient Man did. At Castle Goseck (which was also a monastery at one time) there is a solar observatory that’s two millennia older than England’s Stonehenge.
Yes, that makes it around 7,000 years old.
The observatory isn’t all that was found around here. Archaeologists found also animal and human bones, and Neolithic graves that are thousands of years old.
There’s more to see in Halle (Saale), so time to get moving along. C’mon, ’cause it’s not good to stare at the sun too long from Goseck’s solar sundeck. ;-)
Halle. The city of Handel. A city on the Luther Trail. What else more can this fantastic city offer?
Well, how about millions of prehistoric exhibits (artifacts, archaeological finds, cultural history) at the Prehistoric Museum? The amount of knowledge found within the walls of the museum is just astounding—and the reason it’s here on the Sky Path.
As if that’s not enough, the city’s got castles and festivals on top of it all.
I wouldn’t dream of leaving Halle before seeing its historic Marktplatz, or its 10th century Giebichenstein Castle, Moritzburg Castle, Jewish cemetery and synagogue, or party at the Handel Festival in June.
Langeneichstädt, part of Mücheln, is up next; and thank the Heavens (good route we’re on for that, huh?) we only have to enjoy it, not try to say it. From atop Langeneichstädt’s observation tower you’re able to see as far away as Halle (hey, isn’t that where we just came from?).
Before you run off to see the old prehistoric graves, make sure you’ve gotten in a stop at the 8th century Church of St. Wencelas (the building today comes from around the turn of the 11th/12th century), and the 12th century Church of St. Nicholas.
What this town is most famous for is its dolmen goddess. A dolmen, by the way, is the name scientists give to people looking figure that represent a woman. More specifically, the Mother Earth. The 1.76-meter tall figure (made of sandstone) was found in a tomb here in Langeneichstädt. If you went to the National Museum in Halle, you just saw it.
Other tombs from around the same period (2900 – 2500 B.C.) were found, but none had any more “Mother Earth” deities found with them. So, time to leave then. ;-)
Only one more town left on our celestial (and prehistoric) quest of Germany. Nebra. Never heard of Nebra? Let me fill you in.
The city has an entire museum dedicated to the Sky Disk of Nebra; so named because this 30cm, 5,600 year old bronze disc was found near here. This amazing piece of history is decorated with stars, the moon, and the sun—proof that prehistoric man pondered the far reaches of space as much as we do today.
One day isn’t enough to enjoy it all? I’d think so. But not to worry… Nebra’s 15,000 year old Late Palaeolithic campsite has you covered as people settled here for more than 400,000 years.
You can walk in the footsteps of our ancient brethren, follow the hiking trails along the countryside — which even pass by castle ruins, sandstone cliffs, and many a vineyard.
That means we still get to ponder the far reaches of space, time, the Ancients — just that we get to do it over a Riesling. ;-)
Sky Paths Web Site
For more information, feel free to visit the Web site about the newly established Sky Paths (Himmelswege).