This travel guide was prepared by: Helmut Ebert, international trading company
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Thuringia, Germany Tourism
A visit to the Feengrotten (fairy caves) in Saalfeld, Thuringia, Germany Tourism, Travel Guide
The "Fairy Caves" are not natural caves. They are the result of earlier mining activities.
In Saalfeld it was for alum. It was needed for tanning leather, to protect wood and also by wine growers.
The "Saalfelder Feengrotten", where opened on May 31, 1914 after a merchant with the name of Adolf Müntzelburg had purchased the former mine and the spectacular caves have been discovered.
I wish there would be a financially strong group who would open a part of the underground assembly plants for jet, fighters and missiles in the "Jonastal" during WWII. We all should be familiar with history and learn our lessons to become smarter and learn from our mistakes. I do not see any thing wrong in doing that. The Colosseum in Rome is also not a monument for humanity and the pyramids in Egypt were also built by slave workers. It only has to be done in the right way.
If you have decided to visit the fairy caves, please wear proper shoes - no high heels. You have to walk during the tour approximately 550 m or 600 yards and you must climb stairs. The tour takes about one hour. Protective clothing will be provided.
Don't forget your camera or camcorder. A group photo will be taken at the end of each tour. It is not included in the price, but I think you should spend the money.
Waiting for our tour guide
Naturally, we overlooked the first time the sign "Feengrotten" - it was too big!
The weather was slowly changing. The rain has stopped and it almost looked like the sun wanted to come out.
We parked our little yellow car for free and were happy to walk a little bit around. We were a little bit stiff after a few hours drive.
Reminders to the time of mining
On our way to the caves
Collect all available information before the tour starts. I hope they will have them also available in English. If not, please ask specific for them.
The area around this tourist attraction is a little park. There are a playground for little children, restaurants, a gift shop and an outdoor exhibition dedicated to mining.
Use the public washrooms. Their are no facilities underground and I do not recommend that you run back on your own.
Our guide arrived after a few minutes and gave us the necessary instructions. We also received coats to protect our street cloths. Nobody rejected them and as we learned you need them. Water is dripping down and sometimes the tunnels become very narrow.
The friendly guide explained also that a certain area of the cave system is used to improve the health of people with all kind of breathing problems. There is also a very low level of natural radio activity. As we could see later our guide did not yet glow in the dark.
Our guide arrived soon
The "long tunnel"
On our way, we could see under which conditions the miners had to work. Mining in this area started already around 1530.
I don't think that the air was dust free at this time and that people were coming and paying to solve their breathing problems.
This image shows the limitations of my digital camera which I purchased in 1999. But if we do not get enough business through our travel guides, we have to limit our expenses and stick to our planned budget. So don't tell us we should make better pictures, that comment will not change anything. Only money will help.
Our tour guide was continuously explaining everything and responding to questions. Many of the visitors took pictures or used video cameras which has the advantage that you get also all the verbal information. The only difficulty is to get pictures without having people on them blocking a clear view.
The colors are spectacular
First we had to walk through the so called "long tunnel". This path was also used by the miners in the past. It took over 10 years of hard labor to complete it. This was achieved in 1760.
At this time the tunnel was lower and narrower.
No picture can give you the feelings which you experience during an actual visit. As promised by our guide, the air was really easy to breathe, no dust and a constant temperature of approximately 10°C.
I still do not know why, but everybody seemed to be in a hurry. I wanted to stop to take pictures after coming such a long way from Canada, but in the narrow aisle you could not do that. It took some special measures to take a picture like this. The disadvantage is, you miss the information from your tour guide. Maybe, the management of this great natural attraction hopes that you go on two or more tours! To be honest, I would not mind to do the same tour again. Especially, if Elizabeth, my wife would be with me. There are not too many places on earth where you can something like the "Saalfelder Feengrotten".
For that reason they are also mentioned in the "Guinness Book of Records".
All this was achieved over hundreds of years by the water with its high content of minerals.
Most Europeans love to drink mineral water. I am one of them. However, I missed to try the "Original-Feengrotten-Wasser". It is offered for free but I did not know.
Mining in the past
The variety of different colors was amazing.
Nature had really created breathtaking scenes. No wonder that this environment is not only used by sightseeing tourist and health cautious people. Also weddings are held and celebrated here.
Everything nicely illuminated, great classical background music from a good sound system create certainly an unique flair. On top of that a wedding coach will be provided. Please don't ask me for more details, contact the management. You will find all required information on page 1 of this web site.
Don't be afraid to visit the original German web site, Even when you do not understand a single word, try to find the link to " 3-D-Ansichten". You can see spectacular images of different caves.
As I said, the tour was really an unforgettable event. Everybody, including the kids enjoyed it. But it was too fast for me. I got the feeling it is tailored for people who want to see Europe in seven days.
If the weather is nice, don't miss to see all the outdoor show pieces and try some Thuringian food.
I don't think you will get all the specialities at home. Visit the gift store and get some original Thuringian souvenirs .They have something for every taste.
Before you purchase a DVD or a video, check whether you can play it at home. Europe has a different coding for most of the DVDs and videos are normally in the PAL format which is very common but not used everywhere.
This is the photo of our group. You see, almost everybody is still wearing a protective cape. Helmets are not provided, so watch your head - sometimes the ceiling is very low and it is easy to damage the fairy caves or hurt yourself.
I am not sure whether it was a special promotion on this Sunday, but everybody received a nicely polished colorful stone as a souvenir.
On your way out, stop at the chocolate store and treat yourself. They are even open on Sundays which is not common in Germany. We used this chance and purchased gifts for friends. Then we had to try some samples and could not stop finishing most of what we got when driving back to Siegritz.
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