The Kyffhäuser is a small low mountain range south of the Harz. On a mountain promontory in the north-east are the ruins of the thousand-year-old Reichsburg Kyffhausen. A multitude of German legends have grown up around the Kyffhäuser. The most famous is the Barbarossa legend. It states:

“The old Emperor Frederick Barbarossa has been transported by a spell, i.e. a supernatural secret power, to an underground castle of the Kyffhäuser mountain in Thuringia. Here he sits asleep on an ivory chair and rests his head on a marble table. His red beard, which resembled yellow flax when he was alive, glows like the embers of fire and has grown through the table, almost around it.

Sometimes the emperor moves his blond head, half-lifts his heavy eyelids and blinks or squints his eyes. By such dreamlike winking he beckons at long intervals – of 100 years – a dwarf, scarcely the size of a boy, to go up and see if the ravens, the images of discord and misfortune, are still flying and cawing around the mountain. If this is the case, the emperor closes his eyes with a sigh, sleeps and dreams again for 100 years.

Only when the beard has grown completely around the round marble table and a mighty eagle soars in proud flight, circles the mountain and scares away the flock of ravens, only then will the emperor awaken with his equally enchanted faithful.”

Information about taking this photo

  • Camera: Konica Minolta Dynax 7D
  • Focal length: 20mm
  • Aperture: ƒ/9
  • Shutter speed: 1/30s
  • ISO: 100
  • Taken: 5 September, 2009

Where to find this location

Travelers' Map is loading...
If you see this after your page is loaded completely, leafletJS files are missing.

All contents of this website, in particular photographs, are protected by copyright. The copyright is held by Frank Heller/Berlin, unless explicitly stated otherwise. Please ask me if you wish to use the contents of this website. Content published under the "Creative Commons" licence is marked as such. They may be used in accordance with the stated licence conditions. Anyone who infringes copyright (e.g. copies images or texts without permission) is liable to prosecution under sections 106 et seq. of the Copyright Act (UrhG), will also be issued with a warning and must pay damages (section 97 UrhG).