Mt. Wilzenberg

90 ft. cross and crucifixion scene

90 ft. cross (background); outdoor Crucifixion scene and altar (foreground)

Chapel and outdoor altar

Chapel and outdoor altar

Mount Wilzenberg is 2,140 feet above sea level at it's summit. That is about 850 feet higher than the town of Schmallenberg, which is located 3.5 miles to the west. A 90 foot tall steel cross was erected on the summit in 1972. Nearby is a chapel that was built in 1542; adjacent to it is an outdoor altar with a Crucifixion scene. An outdoor Stations of the Cross can be found along the path leading to the summit.

Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross are located along the path.

The "Ring Wall" Fortifications

Ring Wall

This shows the size and scale of the "Ring Wall' earthworks that were used to fortify the summit of Mt. Wilzenberg (composite image made from 2 photographs). There is both an inner and an outer Ring Wall. The inner wall was built during the Iron Age and has been dated to about 250 B.C. The local inhabitants built this so that when their nearby villages were threatened by outsiders, they could flee to the mountaintop and collectively protect themselves. The inner wall encloses an area that is about 700 ft. long by 300 ft. wide while the more recent outer wall extended the length of the enclosure by another 900 ft. This picture shows the modern path (at the right edge) that was cut through the earthworks of the Inner Ring Wall. The top of the earthworks is about 6 ft. above the path.

It is possible that this "Ring Wall" was a type of fortification known as a "Motte and Bailey Castle". This type of fortification utilized wood and earthworks and was made obsolete with the construction of stone castles. Click on this link for more information about German Castles.

Scenic Views from the top of the 55 ft. Observation Tower on Mt. Wilzenberg

Looking South

Looking South: the town of Grafschaft is in the valley below and the crests of the mountains in the Rothaargebirge range make up the horizon in the background. Rothaargebirge means "redhair mountains", and one story says that they got their name from King Frederick I (the Italians gave him the name "Barbarossa" because of his reddish-blond beard). He was a member of the ruling house of Hohenstaufen and became King of Germany in 1152 A.D. He eventually was also crowned King of Italy, Burgundy and the Holy Roman Empire and ruled until his death in 1190 while leading the Third Crusade to the Holy Land.

Looking East

Looking East: Kahler Asten is on the horizon at left. At 2,730 ft., it is among the tallest peaks in the Rotharrgebirge.

Looking North

Looking North: the town of Gleidorf is below, along with a Golfplatz (look for the sand traps).

Looking Northwest

Looking Northwest: Obringhausen is in the left center of the picture; the Grobbel Hof is in the center; the two white towers in the right upper center are windmills that generate electricity.

Schmallenberg Bad Berleburg & Bilstein

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Mike Grobbel
This page created 27 August 2000.
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