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Brocken ascent - Heinrich Heine Harz journey

Heinrich Heines – Brocken ascent & romantic nature encounter


Heinrich Heine (1797-1865) travelled in the 1820s through the Harz Mountains, from Göttingen via the Brocken to the Ilsestein. He received inspiration for his work and explored the untouched landscape. The Brocken ascent from Ilsenburg on the Heinrich-Heine-Weg is one of the most beautiful hikes in the Harz Mountains.

Hiking in the Harz brings valuable knowledge

It was a duel and his pointed tongue that threw the young poet from Göttingen University. As a result, he fled in search of himself in the nature of the Harz. The first station of Heinrich Heine was Osterode am Harz. From here the poet hiked to Clausthal and visited a silver smelter. After Goslar it continued in the direction of Brocken, whereby Heine probably chose the Hirtenstieg. Once at the top, he was lucky enough to enjoy a sunset and a sunrise. Descending again into the Ilsetal, Heine noticed that the landscape is beautiful throughout, but the charm of the river depends on the water level. When she rushes to the valley bubbling under the rocks, Ilse is the most fascinating.

Travelogue between nature experience and sarcasm

Heine himself said about his travelogue that he had remained a fragment. The text combines romantic landscape descriptions and encounters with the inhabitants of the Harz with a good pinch of juicy humour. “Lovely girl faces and beautiful flowers” he found in Wernigerode. Rübeland offer “amazing rocks where you can keep small cave openings”. Heine has aptly captured the Harz landscape and describes meetings with locals whose characters are described. Heine’s travelogue already reveals much of his later literary style. This cleverly balances between romantic nature poetry and critical political poetry.

Brocken Ascent: on the Heinrich-Heine-Weg to the Brocken

Heinrich Heine walked through the Harz for about four weeks. Today one can follow his track on a circular trail from Ilsenburg over the Brocken and down again. Prerequisite is a good condition. The route leads from the unspoilt Buchental valley of the Ilse past rugged rock formations up to the Brocken plateau. The hiker also passes the Ilse Falls, which were an important source of inspiration for Heinrich Heine. The path continues through untouched nature along the lookout point to the Bismarck cliffs to the summit. Heine already enjoyed the unique view and recorded it in his travelogue. His description of the hike is therefore an ideal companion for every outdoor fan interested in literature and history.

Further links:
Tour Brocken ascent – Hike from Ilsenburg to Brocken | Hiking parking Ilsental – Google Maps

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