Something you should know about Saxon Switzerland

Knowledge moves mountains…

… as we say in Germany. Though ours in Saxon Switzerland did not, of course, come from Switzerland. They were home grown. If you are interested in what Saxony’s Elbe Sandstone Mountains have to do with Switzerland or the sandstone from the Elbe valley with Copenhagen’s castle and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, if you would like to know where you can go via an elevator from district to district or where you can go by a streetcar into a National Park – you are in just the right place.

For instance, did you know…

  • … that the “Kirnitzschtalbahn” in Saxon Switzerland is the world’s only streetcar that services a National Park? It runs 8 kilometres between Bad Schandau and the Lichtenhainer Wasserfall (waterfall). Adjusted for conservation, it runs on partly on solar energy (40 %). Owing to its ecologically friendly nature, the streetcar is also known as the “Electronical”.
  • … that you can rise 50 metres above the Elbe in seconds on the “Ostrauer Fahrstuhl” (“Ostraus’ Elevator”) in Bad Schandau? It goes from Bad Schandau’s Elblevel up to the community of Ostrau. The elevator is similar to that found near the “Vierwälder See” in Switzerland proper, but is four times smaller.
  • … that beyond the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady), Zwinger and other architectural highlights in Dresden, the famous sandstone of the Elbe valley was also used to build the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin an the Copenhagen Castle?
  • … that “Saxon Switzerland” was given its name by two Romantic-era painters (Antonio Graff and Adrian Zingg)? They taught at the Dresden Academy and were very fond of the nearby Elbe Sandstone Mountains. In their romantic descplritions of the countryside they likened the landscape to that of mountainous Switzerland.
  • … that Germany’s first landscape photographs were taken by Hermann Krone in Saxon Switzerland? He managed to take 13 pictures near the Bastei in October 1853?
  • … that the “kleine Bärenstein” (“Little Bear Mountain”) with its 338-metre altitude actually stands higher than the “Großer Bärenstein” (“Big Bear Mountain”) which is 10 metres smaller?
  • … that “free-climbing” (climbing without man-made aids) originated in Saxon Switzerland in the middle of the 19th century?
  • … that so-called “boofen” (sleeping outdoors, underneath rock walls or in one of the numerous caves) is popular with climbers and is permitted outside of the National Park’s central zone?
  • … that with 23 different fern species, Saxon Switzerland boasts the richest fern population in Central Europe?
  • … that due to the “Kellerklima” (“cellar climate”), two floral relicts of the glacial period the “Gelbe Veilchen” (“Yellow Violet”) and the “Sumpfporst” (wild rosemary) survived in Saxon Switzerland? They are normally only found in the “Tundra” and similar climates. .
  • … that there were more than 56 rock castles in Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland, all of which were built in the 14th century?
  • … that the famous Bastei Bridge was initially constructed out of wood before the sandstone bridge was built in 1850/51? Due to growing numbers of tourists, following Rosseaus’ “… back to nature” movement, it became necessary to replace the wooden bridge. The Bastei Bridge was the first construction in Europe that was intended only as a tourist attraction. Today a million feet cross that historical bridge every year on their way “…back to nature”



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