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The Brocken seen from Torfhaus

The chunks of peat seen from

height 1141.2  m above sea level NHN
location Saxony-Anhalt , Germany
Mountains Resin ( high resin )
Dominance 224 km →  Fichtelberg (Ore Mountains)
Notch height 856 m ↓  at Weißenborn-Lüderode
Coordinates 51 ° 47 '57 "  N , 10 ° 36' 56"  E Coordinates: 51 ° 47 '57 "  N , 10 ° 36' 56"  E
Brocken (Saxony-Anhalt)
rock granite
Age of the rock Unterperm
Development Brocken Railway , asphalt driveway
Normal way trail

The Brocken (popularly called Blocksberg ) is 1141.2  m above sea level. NHN the highest mountain in the Harz low mountain range , in Saxony-Anhalt and in all of northern Germany . It is located in the Schierke district of the city of Wernigerode in the Harz district of Saxony-Anhalt. The mountain and its surroundings in the Harz National Park are one of the most popular destinations in Germany.

From the Brocken summit , with good visibility , you can see the Großer Inselsberg in Thuringia , the Köterberg in the Weserbergland and the Petersberg north of Halle an der Saale . When visibility is very good, the Rothaargebirge (164 km away) and the Rhön (152 km) are also visible. In excellent conditions, the Fichtelberg, about 224 km away, and the neighboring Keilberg in the Czech Republic can also be seen.

The summit runs since 1899, with an interruption due to the German division , the narrow gauge Brocken railway . The transmitter systems on the Brocken, which have been in existence since the 1930s, have a large technical range due to their exposed location in the Hochharz .



The Brocken is located in the Harz / Saxony-Anhalt Nature Park . It rises in the territory of Wernigerode , the core of which is about 12 km northeast of the mountain peak. The border with Lower Saxony runs about 2 km west of the summit . The climatic health resort of Schierke is located at the southeast foot of the Brocken .

A little north below the Brocken summit, the Brockenteich was located until 1744 . In the Brockenfeld , west of the mountain, lies the headwaters of the rivers Bode , Ecker and Oder , in the Brocken bed east of the mountain that of the Ilse . The rounded summit crest is tree-free, but overgrown with dwarf shrub heather.

Natural allocation

The Brocken belongs to the natural spatial main unit group Harz (No. 38) and in the main unit Hochharz (381) to the sub-unit Brocken ( Eastern Brocken massif ; 381.0). In a counterclockwise direction, the landscape descends west to south-west into the subunit Torfhäuser Hügelland (381.1); to the south to the southeast it leads into the natural area of ​​the eastern Brocken foreland (380.61) and to the east to the northwest in the natural area of ​​the northern Brocken foreland (380.60), which belong to the sub-unit of the northern and eastern Brocken foreland (380.6) in the Upper Harz main unit (380) .

Mountain height and side knolls

Summit stone

The summit is 1141.2  m above sea level. NHN . With this information, structures such as pillars, granite boulders etc. are not taken into account. The height of 1140.7  m indicated on some topographic maps refers to the geodetic basic network point (GGP), which is used to measure the earth's gravity field . This is not on the highest point of the Brocken.

As early as 1849, the natural height of the Brocken was determined to be exactly 1141.09  m . In a new survey in 1999 this amount was confirmed in principle and was therefore up to the transition from sea level to mean sea level valid altitude of 1,141.1  meters above sea level. NN .

The height of the Brocken summit was given as 1142  m in most relevant maps and books until 1989 . The reason for this assumption was a one meter high granite pillar that stood on the Brocken until about 1989 for surveying purposes . In order to re-establish a reference to the old specification of 1142  m , granite boulders were placed at the highest point in the mid-1990s, with which the previous height specification is not only reached, but exceeded by around one meter. An altitude mark “1142 m” was attached to this summit stone. This height indication on the upper plate refers to the line on the lower plate. The stone at the summit is part and approximately the center of the Brockenuhr that surrounds it , a circular area around 40 m in diameter that has been free of vegetation at least since 2009, which by means of around fifty marks embedded in the ground, around one meter long, along circular arcs, provides direction and distance information to places and landmarks and connects to the traffic areas around the building via three footpaths. The summit is about 130 m southeast of the highest towering television broadcast tower.

Side peaks of the Brocken include the Heinrichshöhe (approx.  1045  m ) in the southeast, the Königsberg ( 1033.5  m ) in the southwest and the Kleine Brocken ( 1018.4  m ) in the north.


Witch altar and devil's pulpit , two granitic rock formations on the Brocken

The Brocken and its surroundings, the Brocken massif, consist mainly of granite (the so-called Brocken granite ), a plutonic rock . The granite plutons of the Harz, the Brocken, the Ramberg and the Oker plutons, emerged after the end of the plate tectonically caused Variscan orogeny during the Lower Permian about 295 to 280 million years ago. Initially, basic and intermediate rock melts penetrated the structure of stacked and folded marine sedimentary rocks , which today make up the majority of the resin, but at that time were deep below the surface at that time. The melts, which came from a far greater depth, crystallized there and formed gabbro and diorite bodies , for example the Harzburger gabbro . A little later, acidic , granitic melts rose several times and created a large magma chamber at a depth of about 3–5 km, in which they finally also crystallized. Brocken granite is one of the so-called S-type granites, which means that its magmas were created by melting sedimentary rocks that were sunk deep (more than 10 km) into the earth's crust during the Variscan Orogeny. In the approximately 1.5 km wide border area between granite and adjacent rock, the so-called contact zone , the much less deeply submerged sedimentary rocks in the vicinity of the magma chamber (predominantly greywacke and slate) were transformed into various horn rocks by the heat of the melt (around 750 ° C) . The summit of the Achtermannshöhe consists of such horn rock, which is still there today on the granite. However, due to erosion in the course of the uplifting of the Harz floe since the Upper Cretaceous , the Hornfels shell including the overlying cover rock was largely removed, exposing a large area of ​​the granite. Since the granite is significantly more resistant to weathering and erosion than most of the other resinous rocks, the outcrop of the Brockenplutons with the Brocken located in the center today forms the highest part of the Harz with the summit of the Brocken as the highest point. But the Hornfelse, which are also more resistant than the sedimentary rocks from which they emerged, have already played a part in the modeling of the Brocken massif.

Only in the most recent geological time, in the Quaternary , did the typical rounded weathering formations (" wool sack weathering ") of the granite and the granite block heaps of the Brocken emerge . Such block heaps are very rare in Central Europe outside the Alps and are in need of protection. Their formation took place predominantly under periglacial conditions, that is, in the course of the most recent Ice Age . The current block piles of Brocken granite, but also other rocks in the Harz National Park, for example in the Oder Valley, are therefore over 10,000 years old. Physical weathering, including frost splitting , played a decisive role in their formation . So the huge mountains could arise from loosely stacked boulders. In 2006 the granite block heaps of the Brocken, together with 76 other geotouristically interesting geotopes, were recognized as a national geotope .

In September 2013, the State Office for Surveying and Geoinformation Saxony-Anhalt carried out a measurement of the acceleration due to gravity on the Brocken summit. This measurement gave the value 9.81000 m / s². The mean value of the acceleration due to gravity at the earth's surface is usually given as 9.81 m / s². A metal plaque on one of the stones on the summit reminds of this measurement.


Winter landscape (2003)
Brockenwarte in winter (2001)

Due to its exposed location in northern Germany, the mountain is a place of extreme weather conditions. The short summers with low temperatures are often followed by very long winters with numerous days of snow and heavy storms, up to and including hurricanes . The climate on the Brocken corresponds to an alpine location of 1,600 to 2,200 meters or the climate of Iceland .

Due to the significant height difference compared to surrounding areas, the chunk as a precipitate richest point in the north Central Europe measured rainfall to 1814 millimeters in average (1961-1990). The long-term mean annual temperature is 3.5 ° C.

The following weather records were measured by the weather station (period 1895–2012) ;
(unless otherwise stated according to DWD ):

  • Highest temperature: 29.0 ° C on August 20, 2012
  • Lowest temperature: −28.4 ° C on February 1, 1956
  • Maximum precipitation in 24 hours: 154.5 mm on July 17, 2002
  • Highest monthly amount of precipitation: 515.3 mm in December 1974
  • Highest annual amount of precipitation: 2725 mm in 2007
  • Lowest annual amount of precipitation: 984 mm in 1953
  • Maximum sunshine duration : 2004.5 hours in 1921
  • Shortest duration of sunshine: 972.2 hours in 1912
  • Maximum of days with strong wind (Bft. 6): 341 days in 1951
  • Maximum of days with stormy winds (Bft. 8): 221 days in 1952
  • Maximum of days with a storm ( Bft. 12 ): 26 days in 1990
  • Maximum wind speed: 263 km / h on November 24, 1984
  • Maximum snow depth : 380.0 cm on 14./15. April 1970
  • Maximum days with snow cover : 205 days in 1973
  • Average number of snowy days : 120
  • Maximum of days with fog : 330 days in 1958
  • Maximum horizontal visibility : approx. 230 km u. a. January 11, 1998

There are indications that in January 1938 an even stronger hurricane than the one, officially considered the strongest at 263 km / h ≈ 73 m / s, raced over the summit. At 81 m / s (= 291.6 km / h), however, a defect occurred in the recording device that was loaded beyond the limit.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Monthly average temperatures and precipitation for the Brocken
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) −2 −2 0 4th 9 12 13 14th 11 7th 2 −1 O 5.6
Min. Temperature (° C) −6 −6 −5 −1 3 6th 8th 8th 6th 2 −3 −5 O 0.6
Precipitation ( mm ) 180 135 159 126 115 142 132 125 128 133 183 211 Σ 1,769
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 1.8 2.5 3.0 4.1 5.6 5.4 5.4 5.3 3.8 3.5 1.6 1.7 O 3.6
Rainy days ( d ) 24 21st 19th 19th 18th 17th 20th 20th 19th 22nd 21st 23 Σ 243
Humidity ( % ) 80 81 80 76 71 71 69 71 66 61 69 73 O 72.3
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec



Brocken, tree line

Due to the harsh climate, the Brocken is a habitat for rare species. The Brocken summit belongs to the supraboreal and alpine altitude levels above 1000/1100 meters . Its flora and fauna are comparable to those of northern Scandinavia and the high alpine regions . The Brocken summit is the only mountain in the German low mountain range above the tree line , so that only very small spruces can be found there. The natural area is characterized by dwarf shrub heather . In the Brockengarten , founded in 1890 , the flora is looked after by national park staff and shown to visitors in regular guided tours. There not only plants from the Brocken are shown, but also high mountain plants from other regions and countries. Among other things, the endangered swallowwort gentian (Gentiana asclepiadea) grows here .

Swallowwort gentian (Gentiana asclepiadea)

The typical species on the Brocken, which are otherwise rarely or hardly found in northern Germany, are from an altitude of around 1050  m above sea level. NHN the Brockenblume or Brocken anemone called Little Alpine Pasque Flower ( Pulsatilla alpina subsp.alba ), hawkweeds such as the Brocken hawkweed ( Hieracium nigrescens ) and the Alpine hawkweed ( Hieracium alpinum ), incense grass ( Anthoxanthum ), the lady's mantle ( Alchemilla ), the bloodroot ( Potentilla tormentilla ), the diphasiastrum alpinum ( Diphasiastrum alpinum ), the lichen Icelandic moss ( Cetraria islandica ) and the reindeer ( Cladonia rangiferina ). The crowberry is also called lump myrtle here .

On the high moor areas around the Brocken summit, for example, cotton grasses , sundew and the dwarf birch ( Betula nana ) can be found.

As of May 2020 are large areas of spruce forest on chunks of bark beetle infestation, which in turn through the multi-year drought from 2018 was favored, died .


Some animal species have also adapted to the living conditions on the Brocken. The meadow pipit ( Anthus pratensis ) and the ring owl ( Turdus torquatus ) breed in the summit area .

The forest lizard appears on the Brocken with its own, dark-colored variant, Lacerta vivipara aberr. negra . The common frog ( Rana temporaria ) can also be found there. Insects are very numerous. There are many beetles , for example ground beetles like Amara erratica , and hundreds of species of butterflies . The cabbage white butterfly has only one generation per year here, while there are two in the lowlands.

Among the glacial relicts, mammals and birds include the Northern bat ( Eptesicus nilssonii ), the alpine shrew ( Sorex alpinus ) and the Ring Ouzel.

Protected areas

In addition to its central location in the Harz National Park , parts of the Brocken are located in the Harz landscape protection area and northern Harz foreland ( CDDA no. 20784; designated 1968; 1587.6238  km² in size), the Hochharz fauna-flora-habitat area (FFH no. 4229- 301; 60.23 km²) and the Hochharz bird sanctuary (VSG no. 4229-401; 61.12 km²).


Astronomical meaning

As early as the Bronze Age , the Brocken probably served as a landmark for the observatory on the Mittelberg, 85 kilometers away . At the summer solstice , the sun sets behind the Brocken from there, so that the Nebra Sky Disc found on the Mittelberg could be precisely aligned using the line of sight to the Brocken and the horizon arcs attached to the disc. On the Gehrdener Berg near Gehrden (Hanover region) is the ring wall on the Gehrdener Berg , from which you can see the sun rise between Brocken and Wurmberg at the winter solstice . The complex can be dated to the Neolithic as well as the Cheruscan period through artifacts . A dating to the time of the Saxons has also been suggested, but without evidence from finds.

Ascent, development and use

Development on the Brockenkuppe at the beginning of the 19th century

The Brocken was climbed as early as 1460, as Friedrich Dennert (1954) shows. The first well-known ascent of the Brocken happened before 1572 by the Stolberg doctor Johannes Thal . He first described the flora of the Brocken in a book in 1588 . Count Christian Ernst zu Stolberg-Wernigerode , whose county was among the chunks left, 1736 at the summit known as the Clouds hut and on to his son Heinrich Ernst named Heinrichshöhe build a guest house to protect the chunks travelers. The first inn directly on the Brockenkuppe was built in 1800.

Bronze plaque on the Brocken with some historical data

In 1775, Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann , Professor of Physics at the Collegium Carolinum in Braunschweig, together with the engineer officer and later Major General Bonaventura von Rauch from Ilsenburg measured the height of the Brocken with the help of a special barometer. In December 1777, Goethe climbed the Brocken.

Memorial plaque on the summit stone for the Gaußsche Landaufnahme (triangle, 1821–1825)

From 1821 to 1825 Carl Friedrich Gauß used the visual connection to the Hohen Hagen and the Großer Inselsberg for the Gaussian survey of a large triangle. A height measurement of the lump by the Prussian general staff in 1850 resulted in the still to the conversion of sea level to mean sea level valid altitude of 1,141.1  m above sea level. NN . On July 23, 1859, the second-hand store burned down. The new Brockenhotel was inaugurated in 1862. The Göttingen botanist Albert Peter established the Brockengarten on the mountain in 1890 as the first German alpine garden . The area of ​​4,600 m² was made available free of charge by the Princely House of Stolberg-Wernigerode as the owner.

View from the Heinrich-Heine -Wanderweg past the Brockenbahn to the Brocken summit (2008)

The narrow-gauge Brocken Railway was opened on March 27, 1899. The Brocken station is today, with 1125  m above sea level. NHN one of the highest located train stations in Germany. The track width is 1000 mm. In 1935 the first television broadcast of vom Brocken was achieved with a mobile transmitter. The following year the first television tower was built on the mountain. In 1937 the Brocken was declared a nature reserve Upper Harz together with Wurmberg , Achtermann and Acker-Bruchberg .

Summit region of the Brocken:
View from the weather observation platform of the weather station (2006)

The first meteorological station was built on the Brocken in 1895. Technically poor and too small, it was partially demolished in 1912 and supplemented by a large stone extension, which was only completed as the Hellmann observatory during the First World War . As an academic and nature lover, sub-director Georg Grobe took over the observation post in 1917, where his daughter supported him until his death in 1935. “After the death of the excellent observer Grobe, the mountain calamity occurred immediately: There was no permanent observer for the Brocken. The only way to overcome that was by sending scientific officials. ”Today's weather station began operations in 1939.

The broadcasting of the Brocken was set in view of the approaching United States Army on April 15, 1945. During an air raid by the US Air Force , the Brocken Hotel and the other buildings were destroyed by bombs on April 17, 1945. On April 20, against resistance, the Brocken Plateau was occupied. Until April 27, 1947, the Brocken was occupied by US troops. Afterwards, in the course of an exchange of territory (determined at the Yalta Conference ), the transfer to the Soviet occupation zone took place . The ruins of the Brockenhotel were blown up in 1949. From 1948 to 1959 a part of the Brocken was again accessible to tourists, although at least in 1954 and 1955 no permits were required. After the popular uprising of June 17, 1953, the SED erected a directional radio tower ( A tower ), which was intended for communication between the SED central committee and the SED district leaderships in the event of a crisis. In 1955 the Brockenhotel (the restaurant part in any case) was reopened. The later issuing of passes was handled generously. From August 1961, the Brocken, which lay in the immediate border area between the GDR and the Federal Republic of Germany, was declared a restricted military area and was therefore no longer accessible to the population. The summit was greatly expanded militarily. At last it was surrounded by a three-meter-high barrier wall made of inverted T-shaped concrete elements. The security of the area was the responsibility of the border guards of the “7. Grenzkompanie Schierke ”, which were stationed in force on the summit. The Brocken station served them as accommodation. In 1987 the traffic with freight trains to the Brocken was stopped due to the bad track condition. The Soviet systems were still sealed off by a double fence within the area secured by the Brocken Wall.

General plan of the Brockenkuppe

The Brocken was used extensively for surveillance and espionage purposes. On the summit there were two large and powerful listening stations which, due to their exposed location, could record radio traffic in almost all of Western Europe. One belonged to the Soviet military intelligence service GRU and was thus also the westernmost outpost of Moscow, the other was subordinate to Department III of the Ministry for State Security of the GDR. The objects had the cover names "Yenisei" and "Urian". After 1989, another huge wiretapping complex was planned on the Brocken, which was no longer implemented due to the end of the GDR.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall , the Brocken was reopened to the general public on December 3, 1989, under the pressure of a star hike of 6,000 demonstrators (“Wall away!”). With German reunification, the border security systems as well as the systems of the military and secret services were gradually dismantled from 1990. The last Russian soldier left the Brocken on March 30, 1994. In 1998 the radio tower was torn down. The Brockenkuppe was renatured at a cost of millions. Today it is a very popular tourist destination for visitors to the Harz Mountains.

The Hirtenstieg leads up to the Brocken from the west. Originally, the cattle were driven onto the Brocken via the Hirtenstieg. Today the Stieg is a popular hiking trail. The concrete slabs date from the time of the GDR and enabled military vehicles to drive up.

Name and interpretation

Wurmberg , Hohnekamm and Brocken (from left) from Büchenberg near Elbingerode
Brocken seen from Wernigerode

A common name for the Brocken emerged towards the end of the Middle Ages . Before that, the resin was understood as a whole. The main reason for this was that until then the focus was on mining. One of the first mentions, which is similar to today's name, can be found in 1176 in the " Saxon World Chronicle " as "broke". Another early written mention of the mountain appeared in a letter from Count Heinrich zu Stolberg in 1490 as "Brackenberg". Other earlier actual and documented names of the Brocken are 1401 Brockenberg , 1424 Brocberg , 1495 mons ruptus (Latin), 1511 Brogken , Brockin , 1531 Brogken , 1540 Brokenberg , 1589 Brackenberg . Gabriel Gottfried Bredow reported in his story of world history in 1817 that there should have been a large Wodan image on the Brocken in the " old Saxon-Germanic times ". The Saxons offered animal and human sacrifices to the highest god Wodan on the stone blocks of the Brocken plateau . This has not yet been scientifically proven and can be considered a legend.

There are various possible interpretations of the origin of the name:

  • In the city ​​book of Osterwieck there is an entry from 1495 for the Brocken, the Latin name "mons ruptus", which translates as "broken mountain". The Low German term "broken", as it was mentioned in the "Saxon World Chronicle" in a modified version for the mountain in 1176 and is also used in English , means "broken". On the one hand, this explanation can be traced back to the interpretation that the two mountains "Kleiner Brocken" and "Großer Brocken" were created from a massif by breaking apart. On the other hand, the reason can be traced back to the formerly strong erosion of the mountain. So the chunk crumbled down to its present size.
  • The derivation of the name from the shape of the entire mountain is obvious. A "chunk" is a large, misshapen structure. The size of the chunk could have given it its name. Since the term “block” is defined similarly, the meaning of the term “ Blocksberg ” can also be derived from this approach . "Block" can also be seen not only in the sense of "structure", but also in the meaning of the expression "block" or "Klotz" for the witchcraft.
  • According to Friedrich Dennert (1954), who had dealt critically with all name interpretations, the most likely origin of the name “Brocken” is the derivation of “Bruch”, which in northern Germany denotes bogs and swampy terrain. In the past, the spelling “Bruoch” and “Brok” were common. However, it is doubted that this fact was primarily responsible for the naming.
  • Another possibility is that the name was derived from the boulders lying on the summit and slopes. However, it is unlikely that this interpretation applies to the Brocken, since such rocks can also be found in other mountains in the Harz Mountains. In addition, the regions in question were hardly known at the time the term was coined.
  • Another assumption is based on a designation in a letter from 1490 from Count Heinrich zu Stolberg-Wernigerode. In it he used the expression "Brackenberg". An interpretation of stale wood unsuitable for use, as it was called "bracken", is however controversial.

Sagas and literature

Second hand shop, steel engraving from 1840
Brocken around 1895
Memorial stone for Goethe's presence on the Brocken


The Brocken is popularly called Blocksberg and is entwined with many legends .

Heinrich Pröhle began collecting legends and fairy tales from the Harz region at the request of his teacher Jacob Grimm since 1851 . He received his doctorate in Berlin in 1855 with a thesis on the sagas of the Brocken.

Since the time of the witch persecution , defendants in the witch trials have been accused of participating in secret witches 'meetings or the witches' Sabbath , for example on Walpurgis Night . The Brocken was first referred to as such a meeting point and one of the witches' dance places in 1540 . Since the term "witch" only became popular in the 16th century, there are also older descriptions, very similar to today's understanding of witches, of different figures who go to "Blocksberg and have their meeting there". In a poem around 1300, the Brocken was already considered a gathering place for "ghost beings".

The fact that fog occurs on the Brocken summit more than 300 days a year contributed to the many legends. As a result, rare optical effects such as halos and above all the so-called Brocken ghost can be observed, which terrifies hikers. This phenomenon was described by Goethe, among others, who climbed the Brocken three times. His first ascent of the mountain took place in the winter of 1777, but it was not the first winter ascent of the Brocken. Christlob Mylius climbed the Brocken in winter as early as 1753.


  • In Goethe's drama Faust I , the Brocken is the scene of the action. For his poem Harzreise im Winter , he processed experiences of his ascent.
  • Heinrich Heine describes in Harzreise impressively his journey to the Brocken with accommodation in Brockenhotel.1824 after a foggy ascent of the Brocken allegedly wrote Heine in the summit book: "A lot of stones, tired legs, views no, Heinrich Heine." This quote was him but just sealed. The Heinrich Heine monument commemorates him .
  • Heinrich Pröhle collected fairy tales , legends and sagas about the Brocken.
  • Dietmar Schultke describes in No one gets through - The history of the inner-German border and the Berlin Wall his time as a border soldier on the Brocken in the Harz Mountains.
  • The thriller Nebra by Thomas Thiemeyer , which revolves around the sky disc of the same name , mainly takes place around the Brocken.


Brocken station (2004)

Today the Brocken Railway is another narrow-gauge railway that commutes between Wernigerode , Drei Annen Hohne , Schierke and the Brocken. The passenger trains are regularly hauled by steam locomotives.

View of the now dismantled Wurmbergschanze (2009)

On the summit is the Brockenhaus with a visitor center of the Harz National Park , which includes an exhibition on the history of the mountain and the Brockengarten. There are also restaurants and the Brockenhotel, which are run by the Brocken owners of the Steinhoff family. Important landlords in the past were Johann Friedrich Christian Gerlach from 1801 to 1834, Eduard Nehse between 1834 and 1850, who carried out continuous weather observations from 1836, published a Brockenkarte in 1849 and the “Brockenstammbuch” in 1850, and Rudolf Schade from 1908 to 1927, who made it famous and the technical expansion of the inn on the Brocken increased considerably. At the invitation of the Harz Transport Association on the place for the 100th year of death of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe on Saturday, June 18, 1932 Hexentanzplatz the witches experiment of the British parapsychologists Harry Price instead.

Signpost on Brockenstrasse

The area around the Brocken is particularly popular with hikers. The Goetheweg is a hiking trail leading to the Brocken summit. It is named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who took this route around 1777. Many hiking trails lead to the neighboring villages of Schierke, Braunlage and Sankt Andreasberg . From the Brocken, the 100 km long Harzer Hexenstieg leads east to Thale and west via Torfhaus and Altenau to Osterode . The Teufelsstieg leads from the Brocken to Bad Harzburg or Elend . Even mountain bikers use the trails.

From Schierke, the asphalt Brockenstrasse leads to the summit, which is used by touring and racing cyclists, among other things, with horse-drawn carts to the bone- breaking curve below the summit . Due to the location in the national park, vehicles with combustion engines are only allowed to drive there with a special permit. According to a study by the University of Würzburg, the Brocken summit is visited by around 580,000 tourists every year, who get to the summit on foot, by bike or with the Brocken railway.

The bearer of the badge of honor of the state of Saxony-Anhalt , Benno Schmidt (* 1932) - called Brocken-Benno  - from Wernigerode, who has hiked the mountain almost every day since 1989 and carried out the 8,000th ascent on October 3, 2016, is considered a special original . In 1997, 1998 and 2000 he was entered in the Guinness Book of Records as “the most capable hiker on the rocks” .


Aerial view of the Brockenkuppe (2009)

Two well-known running events lead to the Brocken: the Ilsenburger Brockenlauf (at the beginning of September, 26 kilometers, of which 12 kilometers ascent, held since the 1920s) and the Brocken Marathon as part of the Harz mountain run with start and finish south of Wernigerode. Both runs lead from the valley to the Brocken and back again. The most demanding part in terms of running are the last four kilometers before the Brocken summit, where a separate mountain classification takes place in both competitions . In this section, a concrete slab path with a continuous gradient of around 20 percent has to be overcome and the runners are often exposed to a sharp, icy wind above the tree line. Of the almost 1,000 participants, only about 50 regularly manage to walk through this passage without taking a break.

The Brocken Challenge has started in February every year since 2004 - an 84-kilometer ultramarathon from Göttingen to the Brocken summit. The proceeds from this event will go to social causes. The runs are carried out in compliance with the rules in the national park.

The 87-kilometer “Brocken climb” from Göttingen to the Brocken has been carried out annually since 2003. More than 300 people take part in this two-day hike in June.

At the beginning of May, the Braunschweig-Brocken ultra run 2 × 75 km takes place annually over two days. The participants walk from Braunschweig to Schierke, cross the Brocken, spend the night in Schierke and walk back the next day. All in all, it's a 150-kilometer run .

Winter sports do not take place on the Brocken, despite the often good snow conditions. The cross-country ski trails and ski hiking trails maintained by the national park are outside the Brocken area. For recreational skiers and tobogganists, the Brocken can be reached via winter hiking trails.

Buildings on the Brocken

Buildings and facilities on the Brocken summit (as of 2006)


As early as the 1930s it was recognized that the Brocken was an excellent location for one of the new television broadcasting systems . In 1937 finished the old TV tower (see also: history of television in Germany and television in Germany ) are now next to the Brockenhotel an observation deck and a MSSR - radar station of the German Air Traffic Control (DFS). Numerous transmitting and receiving systems are installed in the immediate vicinity , including a total of twelve radio transmitters , transmitters for cellular and directional radio and two amateur radio relays .

Second hand

Secondhand goods after sunset

The second-hand store as a modern information facility of the Harz National Park is located in the converted "Stasi mosque", a former listening facility of the Ministry for State Security . The historic antenna systems in the dome can be viewed. Stamp number 9 of the Harz hiking pin is located behind the building . In addition, the first aid station of the mountain rescue service is located in the second-hand store, which is manned on all weekends and public holidays.

Weather station

Weather station and measuring field of the DWD on the summit

The Brocken is characterized by extreme weather situations and surprising weather changes. From 1836 onwards, the Brockenwirt provided a permanent observer of the weather conditions. In 1839, the then highest meteorological station in Germany was set up on the Brocken. Since autumn 1895 there has been a separate weather station on the Brocken. Today's Brocken weather station was built in 1939. Bombardments at the end of the Second World War resulted in destruction and interruption of measurements, which could be resumed in 1947. On March 16, 2010, the Brocken weather station was inaugurated as a climate reference station for the German Weather Service and is intended to ensure long-term and uninterrupted climate monitoring.

On April 11, 2014, a single-engine Cessna 182 Q , coming from the island of Rügen, collided with the right wing in thick fog with the measuring devices on the roof of the weather station and crashed. The accident claimed two lives.

Cultural monuments

Several of the buildings and facilities on the Brocken are registered in the local register of monuments as cultural monuments. In addition to the Brocken television tower and the Brocken weather station , this applies to the Brockengarten and the cloud house . In the past, the trigonometric point on the Brocken and the Brocken silhouette were also designated as monuments. The monument status was later revoked for the two cultural monuments.

Literature and maps



  • Geological map Harz 1: 100,000. Edited by Geological State Office Saxony-Anhalt in cooperation with the Lower Saxony State Office for Soil Research. Hall / S. 1998, ISBN 3-929951-20-7 .

Web links

Commons : chunks  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Brocken  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Brocken  - Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Saxony-Anhalt viewer of the State Office for Surveying and Geoinformation ( notes )
  2. Dominances and VIPs ( Memento from October 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), on
  3. ^ Frank Schmidt-Döhl : Between Harz and Heide - mountains, ridges and landscape . Wartberg Verlag, Gudensberg-Gleichen 2010, ISBN 978-3-8313-2319-7
  4. Meteorologist Inge Motz, quoted in: Eberhard Löblich, Auf dem Weg zum Gipfel picked up, stories along the Brockenpfade , Mitteldeutscher Verlag Halle (Saale) 2001, ISBN 3-89812-055-4 , p. 48
  5. a b c Facts and results of a written request to the State Office for Surveying and Geoinformation, December 2013
  6. Mountain height of the Brocken according to the article How high is the Brocken? , on
  7. ^ Albrecht Baumann, Borwin Grauert, Sabine Mecklenburg, Roland Vinx: Isotopic age determinations of crystalline rocks of the Upper Harz Mountains, Germany. Geological survey. Vol. 80, No. 3, 1991, 669-690, doi: 10.1007 / BF01803694
  8. Jana Zech, Teresa Jeffries, Dominik Faust, Bernd Ullrich, Ulf Linnemann: U / Pb-dating and geochemical characterization of the Brocken and the Ramberg Pluton, Harz Mountains, Germany. Geologica Saxonica. Vol. 56, No. 1, 2010, pp. 9-24 ( PDF 1.1 MB); see also: Harzer Brocken is younger than expected - new dating of the summit rock refutes previous assumptions about the formation of the mountain., June 30, 2011, accessed July 8, 2011
  9. Friedhart Knolle , Béatrice Oesterreich, Rainer Schulz and Volker Wrede: The resin. Geological excursions . Perthes excursion guide, Justus Perthes Verlag Gotha, Gotha 1997
  10. Manfred Frühauf , Katja Hagen: With Goethe and Heine around the Brocken-Die Harzer Blockhalden . In: Ernst-Rüdiger Look, Ludger Feldmann (Ed.): Fascination Geology. The important geotopes of Germany , E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-510-65219-3 , p. 40 f
  11. Temperature: long-term mean values ​​1981–2010; Reference location. In: Weather and Climate - German Weather Service. German Weather Service, June 11, 2013, accessed April 1, 2016 .
  12. Brocken weather records (period 1895–2012)  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. in Brocken mountain weather station , accessed on April 17, 2018, at (PDF; 456 kB)@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  13. a b The weather station measured the following extreme values ​​on the Brocken ( memento from April 3, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) in Das Brocken-Wetter , accessed on April 3, 2016, on
  14. The climate in the Harz region . Retrieved August 5, 2013 .
  15. Rita Kunze: Weather on the Brocken: The lost hurricane from January 1938. October 16, 2017, accessed on March 11, 2019 .
  16. The climate in Brocken , on
  17. Almost all trees dead. The fire brigade would not extinguish the Brocken . In: , May 1, 2020. Accessed May 3, 2020.
  18. Map services of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation ( information )
  19. Eberhard August Wilhelm von Zimmermann: Observations on a trip to the Harz Mountains along with an attempt to determine the height of the chunk using the barometer. Publishing house of the Princely Orphanage Bookstore, Braunschweig 1775
  20. Comprehensive presentation of the famous Gaussian measurement by Charles Kittel , u. a .: Berkeley Physics Course 1, Mechanics . 5th, improved edition, Braunschweig / Wiesbaden, 1991, p. 5, on
  21. Kurt Glaß: History of the Brocken weather station from its beginnings to 1950 . In: Our Harz , Clausthal-Zellerfeld, issue 7/1990
  22. ^ Alfred and Dieter Linke, Greetings from Brocken , 1st edition, Bad Lauterberg, 1993, page 130
  23. Heidi Niemann: Listening systems in the Harz were pivotal during the Cold War . In: Hessische / Niedersächsische Allgemeine (HNA) . Verlag Dierichs GmbH & Co KG, Kassel August 21, 2018 ( ).
  24. The radio and radio technology reconnaissance in the area of ​​the GSTD / WGT : Der Brocken (1141 m) , on
  25. Object URIAN - listening station Brocken , on
  26. Central German landmarks: "How the Brocken became a fortress", February 5, 2013, 8.45 pm, at the mdr
  27. The Liberation of the Brockens ( Memento from August 13, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  28. a b c d e Gerhard Eckert: The Brocken, mountain in the middle of Germany. yesterday and today . Husum Druck- und Verlagsgesellschaft, Husum 1994, ISBN 3-88042-485-3
  29. ^ A b Georg von Gynz-Rekowski, Hermann Dieter Oemler: Brocken. History, home, humor . Gerig Verlag, Königstein / Taunus 1991, ISBN 3-928275-05-4
  30. a b c d Thorsten Schmidt , Jürgen Korsch: The Brocken, mountain between nature and technology. Schmidt-Buch-Verlag, Wernigerode 1998, ISBN 3-928977-59-8
  31. Walther Grosse : History of the city and county of Wernigerode in their forest, field and street names , Wernigerode 1929, p. 49
  32. GGBredow : circumstantial narrative of strange incidents from the general world history. Sixth edition, Hammerich-Verlag, Altona 1817, pp. 526-528
  33. a b C. E. Nehse: The Brocken and its oddities . 1840
  34. a b c Eduard Jacobs : The Brocken in History and Legend . Pfeffer, Halle 1879
  35. Dietmar Schultke: The Brocken during the German division. In: Nobody gets through - The history of the inner-German border and the Berlin Wall. Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 2008
  36. Nehse's weather observations are in Wilhelm Lachmann's meteorological estate in the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel, cf. Dieter Lent: About cold winters and hot summers. Weather observation and events in the state of Braunschweig since the early Middle Ages: a journey through the unexplored climate history of Southeast Lower Saxony. In: Braunschweigisches Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte. Braunschweigischer Geschichtsverein , Braunschweig 2007, volume 88, p. 20 fn. 27
  37. ^ Hubert Job, Regional Economic Effects of the Harz National Park. Final report, Würzburg 2015
  38. Brocken-Benno hikes the Brocken 8000 times. (No longer available online.) October 3, 2016, archived from the original on October 5, 2016 ; Retrieved October 5, 2016 . , on
  39. Brocken-Benno. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on January 11, 2012 ; Retrieved May 23, 2012 .
  40. Route plan for the Harz National Park, p. 92 , accessed on January 22, 2018
  41. Object URIAN - Brocken listening station , accessed on April 30, 2019.
  42. Harzer Wanderadel: stamp point 9 / Brockenhaus , on
  43. Cf. Karl Berthold Fischer: Chronicle of the Harzburg Office in the XIX. Century , Appelhans, 1912, p. 22
  44. Brocken weather station inaugurated as a climate reference station. Retrieved April 3, 2016 . , DWD press conference, accessed on October 8, 2010, at
  45. Bulletin: Accidents and disruptions in the operation of civil aircraft - April 2014 , accessed on October 5, 2015, at (PDF; 1.73 MB)
  46. Two dead in crash - plane crashes on the Brocken , from April 11, 2014, on
  47. Short question and answer Olaf Meister (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen), Prof. Dr. Claudia Dalbert (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen), Ministry of Culture March 19, 2015 Printed matter 6/3905 (KA 6/8670) (4733 pages) , Monument Register Saxony-Anhalt ; P. 2364 fu 4637, accessed on January 7, 2016, from