Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Brennender Berg-Germany's "Burning Mountain"

Guide sign at Brennender Berg
Brennender Berg, or Burning Mountain, is a coal fire that tourists can visit in Saarland, Germany. Just park up at the Dudweiler Cemetery and walk about 15 minutes into the woods to find a rocky gorge where you can experience some of the effects of this centuries-old coal fire.

Brennender Berg ignited in 1688. No one is quite sure how. There are stories that a shepherd lit a tree on fire and that ignited the coal. It's also possible that the fire started on its own–a common enough occurrence. Whatever the case, it burned dramatically for a long time. Tourists through the centuries would come up to see burning red rocks and smoke emitting from crevices. They also noted the smell of sulfur.

Today, Brennender Berg has quieted down. You can still seek the rocky gorge, under which it burns, and feel the warmth of the rocks, but smoke is rare and the smell has subsided. There is an information sign at the site, but it's in German. Do your research before you go.

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