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From world heritage sites to rare earth. It's #ALLTHERE in the Goslar district

Die blühende Natur in Schulenberg, einem Dorf im Harz. (Copyright: Richard Faure)

Germany’s most northerly mountain range, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a national park and rustic cuisine – the Goslar district has it all!

The Goslar district offers unspoiled, authentic enjoyment for everyone: the cross-state Harz National Park in Goslar’s south-east corner near the Brocken is wonderful for walking, hiking and enjoying nature. In spring, the plants come to life and the first birdsongs can be heard; in summer, the forests provide shade and peace; in autumn, the whole region shines in wonderful colours; and, in winter, the atmosphere is cloaked in peace and clarity. Here you’ll find broad swathes of forests, uniquely rugged cliff formations, moors that are thousands of years old and gurgling streams and springs. It’s no wonder that rare animals such as wildcats and lynx live in this environment – incidentally, you don’t have to track the latter yourself, you can also visit them in the lynx enclosure at the Rabenklippe rock formation near Bad Harzburg.

Batteriesicherheitscampus (Battery Safety Campus) (Copyright: christo.cc)

Resources for the future

It’s almost certain that you’re carrying a piece of the West Harz region around with you: in your mobile phone! Precious metals are required to make microchips and screens. Here in the Goslar district, these are primarily recycled from old equipment. However, the Clausthal University of Technology is also working in close collaboration with the industry to conduct research into opportunities for acquiring these components in the region again – scientists believe that valuable metals from ore processing at the disused Rammelsberg pit lie in the sediment of the tailing ponds at Bollrich.

And the long tradition of respecting the treasures of nature continues in the mining region of Goslar: former metallurgical and mining companies, for example, have developed into an innovative chemical and recycling industry which brings its expertise into play in the REWIMET recycling network. This hub of innovative recycling also includes global market leaders such as the H. C. Starck company in Goslar and the largest European processing plant for electrical and electronic waste, Electrocycling, in Goslar.

The Lower Saxony Energy Research Centre and scientific centres of excellence that acquire and process raw materials work hand in hand – so that everything that nature produces can be retained in the value-creation chain for as long as possible. The district of Goslar is thus a hotspot not only when it comes to chemicals and recycling, but also for innovative material technologies. And the Batteriesicherheitscampus (Germany Battery Safety Campus) also shows that the Goslar district a real driver of innovation – after all, energy shouldn’t just be clean, but safe as well. The Clausthal University of Technology demonstrates that the world’s future is right at home in the region: at 30 percent, this university has the largest proportion of foreign students in Germany – people from around 100 countries come here to study, making cultural diversity part of life at Clausthal.

A glimpse into the centre of the earth and music with a view

The district’s Geopark and the ‘Classic Square Mile of Geology’ offer an in-depth glimpse into the Earth’s history: the ground here not only was and is rich in treasures; the basic energy sources of wood and water have also been available here since time immemorial – making the region a centre of power in the Holy Roman Empire and prompting the construction of the Kaiserpfalz (Imperial Palace) early on. And due to the fact that wood was not abundantly available as a resource, sustainable forestry practices began here long before this term became familiar elsewhere.

If you’re interested in the past, you will certainly find plenty of inspiration in the Goslar district. Three UNESCO Wordl Heritage Sites. can be found here in just a small space: the old Rammelsberg ore mine, the Oberharzer Wasserwirtschaft (Upper Harz Water Management System) and the historic town of Goslar with its winding streets of half-timbered buildings.

The mine, which was closed in 1988, documents over 1,000 years of mining history and the production of a total of 30 million tonnes of ore. The ore deposits led to the founding of the Imperial Palace by Henry II, the Holy Roman Emperor. The first evidence of mining dates back as much as 3,000 years. The Upper Harz Water Management System is considered a masterpiece of early mining and engineering skill – with over 100 historic ponds, 310 kilometres of ditches and 31 kilometres of waterways. Many still carry water today, and this water supply system can also be explored in an active, recreational way along the ‘WasserWanderWege’ (water trails). And the historic town of Goslar is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll. Its fascinating skyline, including the Imperial Palace and numerous church spires, is characterised by elegant guildhalls and historic half-timbered buildings adorned by artistic carvings.

The Baumwipfelpfad Bad Harzburg, an elevated hiking path, is also located not far from Goslar: on this approximately one-kilometre trail, you can walk above the treetops and enjoy a breathtaking view on 18 platforms up to 22 metres high. By the way, you don’t just ‘walk’ here. The lofty heights also inspire artists and musicians. Concerts and readings are performed on a dedicated event platform – the fantastic view is the perfect accompaniment to exquisite cultural experiences. And the lynx enclosure in the National Park is just a short hike away.

Deliciously hearty – the region’s cuisine

When it comes to couisine, the district’s thousands of years of mining tradition are still evident, even today. The people of Goslar prefer things on the hearty side, and meat is popular throughout the region: Harzer Rotes Höhenvieh cattle, with its characteristic red-brown colour, was once threatened with extinction and is now raised as a regional breed once again. Its tender, flavourful meat is popular not just among people who do physically demanding work, but now amongst gourmets throughout Germany as well. What else could you want? Beer, of course. Goslar not only has its own beer, ‘Gose’, which is brewed right in the district – seasonal beers such as Märzen and Maibock and specialty beers such as Whisky-Bock (aged in oak barrels) are also produced here at Brauhaus Goslar brewery. And another brewery, Altenauer Brauerei, even produces a real Harz herbal lemonade alongside a proper Pils and Dunkel, a dark beer. The region now also has its own gin from Klosterbrennerei Wöltingerode distillery. Cheers!

Harzer Rotes Höhenvieh
Harzer Rotes Höhenvieh out to pasture. (Photo: Antje Radcke)

Celebrating the change of the seasons

Gruesome creatures, wild witches and demonic figures that give you the shivers: the bright festival season begins in the Goslar district with the famous Walpurgis Night on 30th April. Witches on broomsticks and devilish festivities attract thousands of visitors to many places in the region, such as Braunlage, Hahnenklee and Sankt Andreasberg. The next highlight on the festive calendar in the West Harz region is the Salz- und Lichterfest (Festival of Salt and Lights) in Bad Harzburg at the end of August each year. Held in honour of St. Bartholomew, sounds from a wide range of musical genres can be heard throughout the town, and a sea of thousands of lights lends the setting an unforgettable atmosphere.

At the beginning of September, the little town of Seesen, which dates back more than 1,000 years, invites you to the Sehusafest, the largest medieval spectacle in the whole of northern Germany. Over 1,000 citizens bring the town’s history to life in authentic clothing and make a visit to this festival a special experience.

You can continue celebrating in Goslar at the three-day Altstadtfest (Historic Town Festival) on the second weekend in September. Against the unique backdrop of the World Heritage town, live music, family programmes and hearty delicacies entice visitors from the entire the region – and there’s no admission fee.

The finest high culture

Last but not least, Goslar and the entire West Harz region also offer plenty of classic culture. The renowned ‘Kaiserring’ art award is presented here each year. And for music fans, there’s the Harzburger Musiktage, the HarzClassix Festival, the Goslar-Harz International Music Festival and the International Goslar Piano Festival in summer.

So, no matter your preferences, there is certainly something for you in Goslar!

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