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A Magical Mountain in Thuringia | Kickelhahn

Hello folks!

Despite many visits to Thuringia, the "Green Heart of Germany," this was the first time I visited the Kickelhahn, located within the municipal area of Ilmenau. This mountain, one of the highest peaks in the Thuringian Forest, draws tourists not just with its beautiful and enchanting forest but also for its significance in German literature.

"I always loved being here, I believe it comes from the harmony of everything around here…" (Goethe to Schiller, Ilmenau, August 29th, 1795)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the master of German literature, made his way to Ilmenau no less than 28 times. The idyllic forest and landscapes inspired many of his poems, such as the Wanderer's Nightsong, which he penned on the wall of a hunters' cabin near the mountain's summit. Over two centuries later, the harmony Goethe spoke of on the Kickelhahn feels as palpable as ever.

On a brilliantly sunny day in July, Christian and I, on a whim and sans hiking gear, set out to ascend the mountain. Fueled by sheer enthusiasm, we embarked on the 861-meter climb to its summit, where a 24-meter tall lookout tower offers expansive views. We chose the scenic route, losing track of time amidst the enchanting scents and hues of the forest, which induced a profound, almost synesthetic experience. Along the way, I delighted in picking wild raspberries, marvelling at paths strewn with raspberries and strawberries—a magical encounter.

Reaching the top of the Kickelhahn, we explored the ruins of an old hunting lodge and the little wooden cabin where Goethe composed the Wanderer's Nightsong. We also ascended the observation tower, erected in 1869 by Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. Though I was quite tired and already enchanted by the glorious valley views from a lookout spot, I'm glad my husband persuaded me to climb the tower—the view was breathtakingly beautiful.

Tracing Goethe's steps on the Kickelhahn has etched one of the most unforgettable experiences in my memory. I eagerly anticipate returning in December, hoping to witness the mountain's snowy embrace.

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forest of ilmenau thuringia

forest of ilmenau thuringia

forest of ilmenau thuringia

forest of ilmenau thuringia

forest of ilmenau thuringia

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