Upper Harz

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Coordinates: 51 ° 49 ′ 0 ″  N , 10 ° 22 ′ 0 ″  E

Relief map: Lower Saxony
Upper Harz
Lower Saxony
Flag of the Upper Harz

The north-western part of the German low mountain range Harz is called Upper Harz in the narrower sense, and extends in Lower Saxony at an altitude of slightly over 700  m . This part of the resin is drained via Söse , Innste and Grane as well as upper Oker and Abzucht. The Upper Harz is limited to the southeast by the Acker-Bruchberg-Brocken line. In a broader sense, however, St. Andreasberg or the Hochharz, which lies a little further to the east and partly belongs to Saxony-Anhalt, is also included with the Brocken massif, with heights over 800  m above sea level. NHN and on the summit of the Brocken reached a maximum height of 1141.2  m .


In the historical sense, the name Upper Harz refers to the seven Upper Harz mining towns ( Clausthal , Zellerfeld , Andreasberg , Altenau , Lautenthal , Wildemann and Grund ) in what is now Lower Saxony. For centuries, this area was characterized by very productive silver mining and is characterized by its own dialect (see below). It is based primarily on the geological conditions of the region around Clausthal-Zellerfeld (Clausthaler Kulmfaltenzone), extends to the northwestern Harz and is bordered in the east by the Sösemulde and the Acker - Bruchbergzug . The mining area of ​​Sankt Andreasberg has a special position here, as it is located east of the Bruchberg. Above all, the Upper Harz mining has had a lasting impact on the area and has left its mark on the towns and landscapes (see e.g. Upper Harz water shelf ). In Clausthal-Zellerfeld, also known as the “capital of the Upper Harz” ( Max Biffart : Germany: His people and its customs) during the heyday of mining, the Upper Harz community also had its seat.

“The part of the mountains lying west of the Brocken, geographically known as the Upper Harz Mountains, is divided into the Upper Harz Mountains in terms of mining and smelting. H. the plateau of Clausthal, with this town and Zellerfeld and the mining towns of Altenau, Lautenthal, Wildemann, Grund and Andreasberg, and the Communion-Unterharz, d. H. the Rammelsberg near Goslar and the huts that process the ores of the same, and at the northern foot of the mountains, near Ocher , Langelsheim , etc. are located. […] The actual Upper Harz, now part of the Prussian state and forming the district of the Clausthal Upper Mining Authority , is the area west of the corridors , which are divided into certain groups or corridors , in the Bruchberg Mountains in the Devonian and Coal Mountains . "

- John Percy : The Metallurgy.

Another division into upper and lower resin relates to the function of the resin as a natural watershed . Accordingly, one calls the Upper Harz “by taking the Brocken as the central point, everything that lies in the west, Lower Harz, that is in the east. […] What runs off the western mountains belongs to the river basin of the Weser , what runs off the east to that of the Elbe . ”( Johann Samuelersch , Johann Gottfried Gruber : Allgemeine Encyclopädie der Wissenschaften und Künste ) Heinrich Heine also used his Harzreise 1824 the Brocken as a separation point and notes that the "Lower Harz", as the eastern side of the Brocken is called, in contrast to the western side of the Brocken, [...] is called "Upper Harz" "( Heinrich Heine : Die Harzreise). This definition enlarges the "montane" Upper Harz to the east approximately to the state border with Saxony-Anhalt, so that Braunlage or Hohegeiß can also be counted as part of the Upper Harz, just like the high mountain ranges:

"The Upper Harz includes the approximately 2000 foot elevated plateaus of Clausthal and Andreasberg and the almost twice as high ridges and peaks of the so-called Acker- und Bruchberg and the Brocken [...]."

- Johann Georg Kohl : German folk pictures and views of nature from the resin

To the east of it joins the lower Harz , which is slightly lower and gently tapering towards the east . The sparsely populated region around the Brocken ( 1141  m ), Bruchberg, Wurmberg , Torfhaus and Acker, which is higher than 800  m, is called Hochharz . The Hochharz covers most of the Harz National Park .

Upper Harz dialect

A specialty of the Upper Harz is or was the Upper Harz dialect. In contrast to the East Westphalian, Elbe-East Westphalian and Thuringian dialects of the surrounding area, this is an Ore Mountains dialect that goes back to the settlement of miners in the 16th century.

The Upper Harz dialect is limited to a few places and thus represents a linguistic island in the Harz Mountains. The most famous are Altenau, Sankt Andreasberg, Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Lautenthal and Hahnenklee. Today, the dialect is rarely heard in the Upper Harz in everyday life. Mainly members of the older generations still master it, so that articles in the Upper Harz dialect are occasionally printed in the newspapers (e.g. in the local section of the Goslarschen Zeitung ).

For clarification, the refrain of a Sankt Andreasberger Heimatlied follows:

Eb de Sunne shines, ebs stewert, embraces, ebs snows,
day and night ohmds or early
how maliciously it sounds, but
you ewerharzer talk
O Annerschbarrich how it seemed.

Customs and Tradition

  • Easter bonfires : In the Upper Harz the Easter bonfires are set up using a wooden frame with a spruce in the middle. This towers above the wooden structure coated with brushwood and spruce green by several meters. Traditionally, visitors are "blackened", that is, their faces are colored with the soot from the charcoal. In Wildemann, over three meter long Easter torches are swung around the Easter bonfire.
  • Carolers : In the days of mining, it was mainly the 10 to 18-year-old pound boys who wandered the streets with carolers (in black coats and hats) in order to earn a little extra income by singing. The Pochjungen worked from the tenth - later fourteenth - age in the Pochwerken and separated there from the ore gangue (12 hours). They were only allowed to undergo mining training and work in the mines when they turned 18. After the decline of the mining industry on the Upper Harz, the choir was held for a few years by the mostly church choirs. Today the singing community of the Martini community in Sankt Andreasberg appears as the last carolers in the Upper Harz on important holidays in traditional clothing.
  • The Bergdankfest of the miners traditionally serves to thank God for the past year, to commemorate the miners who died in mining accidents and to pray for another successful mining year. It takes place annually on the Saturday before Rose Monday, beginning with a pageant that leads to a (today ecumenical) service. After the service, most of the miners go to get together for the Schärper breakfast. Until the 1970s, the Bergdankfest was a purely male affair, today women are also allowed in parades, churches and sarcasm and the festival is still very important in most of the former mining towns.
  • The Midsummer is celebrated on 24 June every year. Presumably it was introduced by the immigrant miners from the Ore Mountains. Green spruce trees are decorated with meadow flowers and chains of eggs and set up in the streets. The children and young people roam the streets from tree to tree. There is coffee, cocoa and cake. People dance around the St. John's tree in folk tunes. The chant "Tripp, Trapp Käse-Napp, today is St. John's Day" can be heard. In the evening there is a common festival for the adults. Sometimes neighborhoods still meet for a party on the street today.

Conflict Upper Harz

The former city of Elbingerode and the former municipalities of the Brocken-Hochharz administrative community in the Harz district joined forces on January 1, 2010 as part of a regional reform in Saxony-Anhalt to form a unified municipality called "Stadt Oberharz am Brocken ". Against this naming there are violent protests from the then integrated community of Upper Harz in Lower Saxony. This justifies their protests on the one hand with the fact that there is a great risk of confusion with the largely identical names. Furthermore, the area in question never belonged to the Upper Harz, but was part of the Lower Harz and was not “on the Brocken”. After the combined municipality of Upper Harz was defeated in an initial urgent procedure, it announced in April 2010 that it would now file a new lawsuit in the main proceedings against the naming of the Lower Harz municipality. In July 2011, the Magdeburg Administrative Court again rejected the action brought by the “Samtgemeinde Oberharz” due to a name violation. A previous application by the joint municipality for a temporary injunction was rejected by the administrative court. The complaint lodged against this with the Higher Administrative Court of the State of Saxony-Anhalt was unsuccessful.


  • The Upper Harz and its limits. In: Special supplement of the Goslarschen Zeitung from October 1, 2008.

Web links

Commons : Oberharz  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gustav Freytag, Julian Schmidt (Ed.): Die Grenzboten - magazine for politics and literature . Verlag Friedrich Ludwig Herbig, Leipzig 1851, p. 458 (10th year, 1st semester, II volume).
  2. Max Biffart: Germany: His people and his customs, in geographical-ethnographic character images . Verlag Wilhelm Nitzschke, Stuttgart 1860, p. 447 .
  3. John Percy: The Metallurgy . Ed .: F. Knapp. tape 1 . Verlag Friedrich Vieweg and Son, Braunschweig 1863, p. 248 .
  4. ^ Johann Samuelersch, Johann Gottfried Gruber (Ed.): General Encyclopedia of Sciences and Arts . FA Brockhaus, Leipzig 1826, p. 49 (Section 2, Part 3).
  5. ^ Heinrich Heine: The Harz journey . Ed .: Christian Liedkte. 1st edition. Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-455-40111-0 .
  6. Johann Geord Kohl: German folk images and nature views from the resins . Verlag Carl Rümpler, Hanover 1866, p. 39 .
  7. Goslarsche Zeitung on April 10, 2010  ( 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.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / www.goslarsche.de  
  8. Administrative Court Magdeburg 9 A 247/09 MD