If you have read my article about the Nordburg Lichtenstein in the Haßberge Nature Park, you may have noticed that the interior holds some "unearthed" treasures, which science does not really use or at least from my point of view leaves a lot in the dark. Those who visit the inner courtyard of the castle and follow the so-called "Legend Trail" down the valley should not be less surprised what awaits them there.
I would like to let you participate in the walk of a few kilometres, so that you can get an impression of what we are dealing with here.
From the ruins of the castle, the hiking trail runs through an interesting rocky landscape, which requires a lot of attention and undoubtedly has nothing to do with the medieval fortification situation above. It is obvious, however, that this is not only a pure natural spectacle and that it must have been more than the following "fairy tale" and "legend" table would have us believe.
The traces of the work are so obvious in all places that one could even come to the conclusion that the location and position of the isolated rocks weighing tons is not exclusively geological either. I know that a little imagination is part of this view, which from a scientific point of view is considered unacceptable. Nevertheless, at least the compromise might lie in the fact that everywhere here a powerful "hand" was put on in order to change existing structures.
As in the previous chapter on the castle ruins, it is also pointed out here that general research does not exceed the period of 800 years into the past. Nevertheless, one does not tire to emphasize that this is supposedly the most researched castle ruin of all. Perhaps this is what is said to prevent further questions from arising in the first place. One also has to expect fewer questions. Most people are certainly satisfied with that ... Apart from a pile of shards (up to 12,000), tournament crowns and a tiny carved cube, not much came to light after excavations up to 6 metres deep.
The tear rock remained "dry" during our visit.
The tour begins with the "tear rock" and the "tear rock cave". An exalted rock below the foundation walls, from which water should drip even in dry summers. I can't confirm that. April 2018 already had almost 30 degrees, but nothing dripped. But I don't want to deny that such observations may be confirmed at other times. Representing the tears of a lady who misses her lover at Raueneck Castle because she was not allowed to marry him, the rain is supposed to be sucked up by the rock to drip off there later step by step. In addition to the legend, a geological solution is also presented.
View from the "dressmakers hole" to the outside.
The round seat in the "dressmaker's hole".
In the so-called "dressmaker's hole", which is located at the upper edge of the castle ruins and is still in front of the "tear rock", a dressmaker is said to have once lived who lay in wait for knights to kill and rob them. At some point he was caught and tortured to death with glowing scissors and needles. Maybe there is something to the story. But I strongly doubt that the true purpose of this institution was the housing of campers. This cave is (still) located on the castle grounds and certainly served other purposes, which may have been spiritual rather than protective in the past (my theory). For a guard it might have been unpractical to have entered (just because of the location).
There should also be an escape tunnel at the castle - in the opinion of the "experts" it is only a story. Except for a small escape passage, there is nothing there.
Probably not the only escape tunnel from the castle.
A few meters away from the "tear rock" we find a stone outdoor seat, which was interpreted as a courthouse stone. It is said that in the Middle Ages judges sat here and tied the delinquent to a side loop and pronounced their verdict on him. We have to keep in mind, of course, that the Rhätsandstein (kind of sand stone) of the rocks can or could be brought relatively easily into the desired shape at any time. Whether there is something to these legends, everyone is allowed to answer for himself.
So the seat could have served other purposes at "better" times just as well (for example that of regeneration) and one attached the side loop only later, when the purpose of the seat changed. Why should one work out a judge's seat practically at ground level, if the height of the rock would have gone further up? It would even have been possible to cut in steps at the bottom to underline the authority of the judge and his " higher position". Of course you could hold against it, below the seat it went further down than it is visible today. So why didn't the erosion layers be removed when the research on this castle was supposedly so detailed? Basically, we can continue to speculate... Personally, I don't believe that the original idea of the seat was based on judging.
Above the " judges" seat, here the supposed fixing possibilities for prisoners (according to the legend).
We continue on the 800 metre circular path to larger rocks, such as the "bear cave". Bears were not to be found as expected, but a conspicuously worked out "shelter" with seats, petroglyphs and unusual rock forms. The upper right rock is called the "Devil's Jump". According to legend, a girl who was haunted by the devil fell over the rock. The upper left opening is commonly known as the "frog grotto".
From the side, the rocks and the cave entrance are reminding of reptile heads or stranded fish. Of course, everything lies in the personal eye of the viewer.
Further along the saga path we find on the side facing the mountains even more interesting rock formations with conspicuous working traces.
The more you look around, the more petroglyphs you'll find. If you try to get an overall view, you could also fall for the idea that at some point this was a connected building complex from prehistoric times. The rock formations run partly straight-lined, right-angled and connected ... as if burst apart by a cataclysmic event.
Especially in the next picture it could have been a carrying building unit, which fell down sometime. Squareness, stripes at the lower end, layers in the upper part (which do not remind of usual breaks) and the tapering shape upwards give rise to speculations that we may be dealing here with constructed units.
Huge sharp-edged chunks show numerous symmetries - Natural coincidence? The "natural" labyrinth of rocks made of Rhätsandstein blocks offers numerous attack surfaces for erosion and weathering due to the slow sliding downhill (explanation on the signposts). So far so good ... At this point one cannot even disagree.
I can neither confirm nor deny whether we are dealing here with a horse watering hole, as is claimed. Why did they bother to set up such a thing in this remote place? The gutter seems a bit narrow to me for that.
The so-called "magnetic stone" is anything but magnetic, but is said to have served as a test of courage for prospective miners. They were supposed to spend a night there alone and were tied up there for this purpose.
A rock section the size of a house was given the name "whales rock". Everything that we see here in striking structures or indentations (like the "eye") should be the result of weathering. The whale's head is really quite remarkable. It seems questionable to me that nobody should ever have touched it.
In the eye of the whale
More bizarre rocks on the legend trail
Here again one of the typical "lizard" heads. Including the torso this rock looks like a gigantic turtle.
Below the "tail" and the side view of the turtle being.
The following rock formation is also interesting: One sees very clearly that a huge rock is prevented from sliding over the edge by a completely different small rock. You have to see it personally to ask yourself how this much smaller rock got to the statically important place in order to prevent the big rock, which weighs tons, from falling down. Surely one could bet on coincidence, but this smaller rock seems so out of place that one rather gets the idea that this rock was purposely moved there.
Some rocks look like melted into each other.
A small turnoff from the circular path and after another kilometre you have arrived at the "Devil's Stone". Science speaks here of a "fortificationally unfavourable location", which sounds like a strong belief that you are dealing with a high medieval rock castle. If that was the case, I am a little surprised that only a small high plateau of about 6 x 6 meters on a rock in a hillside location is said to have formed a real castle.
It becomes even more interesting when one admits that there is no documentary evidence of its history. Without any documents one wants to know, however, that this castle stable was already abandoned in the High Middle Ages.
As in Rotenhan (about 5 km away), systematic archaeological research on the "Devil's Stone" is still missing. I would say that nobody from mainstream science is seriously interested in that either. As in Rotenhan, everything is neglected here and nobody can assume that someone will start to study, explore and possibly reveal the true secrets of this landscape with its countless traces of processing.
One can easily assume that this large rock, which has been classified as a "castle" somewhat quickly and obviously without great research, has been extensively worked on in any case.
Impressive are the steps that lead up to the rock and have already been worked into the rock. Whether they were originally only steps can be questioned from my point of view. The arrangement of the treads is a good argument against it. They are not a real relief for the ascent.
A large-format petroglyph on one of the carved rocks is visible from afar.
It was not easy to make it from a standing position, but at least a ladder or a construction was needed.
Further traces of processing are heavily weathered and eroded over time.
On the plateau of the rock there are further inlets, which I would not classify as profane steps either.
Have the horizontal inlets of a rock at the foot of the "Devil's Stone" been niches for lighting installations?
Many of the cutting marks raise questions.
Have wooden constructions been fixed over such notches?
Opposite the following step (next picture) the previous picture is covered with rock tracks, which do not make the climbing easier.
An engraved medieval mill game on the plateau of the "Devil's Rock"?
In addition to further plateau notches, an extra fixing option for flagpoles or similar.
The view down to the neighbouring rocks, which also show impressive traces.
You can also see from the neighbouring rocks that not all the notches are erosive in nature, but that people have worked here. Perhaps the "Devil's Rock" was once part of a larger complex?
Visit the place and make your own thoughts about it. Free of scientific suspicions ... You might discover more interesting traces. Contact me if you want to add certain aspects.