Medebach-Dreislar (51.150230 | 8.679418)

Man and creation

Rock formation overgrown with old oaks and cherry trees. Stone testimony to a fissure in the earth formed 50 million years ago and stretching from Dreislar to Poland.

On the Quarzklippen above Dreislar I experience creation in fast motion. The subtitles are provided by Gerhard Brocke, a wood turner by profession and vocation, and a local historian in one of his many honorary posts.

While we work our way through bushes and moss-covered boulders along the cliff edge, the 70-year-old tells of 70 million years of evolution as naturally as if he were commenting on pages in the family album. It's a story full of tensions and divisions. It begins with the collision of the continental plates. It tore a fracture line several kilometers long into the earth's crust. It passes right through where we are standing right now. "Deep inside the Earth, 450-degree solutions were bubbling," Brocke explains. "They were under great pressure, shooting up through fractures like geysers." Then a chemical process began in which things got hot between the participants (sulfur, oxygen, water and barium). When tempers cooled, what was left was barite: beautiful quartz.

A divine jewelry designer created these stones. Some look like jewels flecked with grains of gold. Others like precious pies, chocolates, pastries. Or like miniature landscapes with caves, gorges, terraces. An amethyst surrounded by quartz shows shark teeth. I see stones that seem rolled, curved, enclosing, rising up. These stones live, yes, they speak. I am overcome by a feeling of awe. A sense of wonder that knows without knowing. An inward bow to something so much older and greater.

Detailansicht auf das Gestein an den Quarzklippen

Evolution does not pause. Gerhard Brocke gallops on through the history of the earth. Tells of how tectonic movements elsewhere in the world filled and closed the crystalline fissures again. "Not in Dreislar, however! Here, a fissure remained open. A small miracle. In a small area of 450 by 350 meters, the crystals were just below the surface." That's where we're standing right now. Not much grows on the Quarzklippen, the trees are rather small and crooked, only frugal mosses and grasses cover the ground. "This looks like it has for thousands of years. Man has never intervened here."

But further down, there has been digging. "In our area, probably as far back as Celtic times. It's not certain." Things really took off in the early 20th century. Barite was discovered as an additive for photographic papers, for white paint and for shielding rooms in X-rays.

Brocke leads me down the slope. We leave the Unterholz and step onto an open space. Reddish brown, a rock wall lies before us. A wooden fence in front of it should signal to eager stone collectors: Please leave it! "At this place, tunnels began to be dug in 1912." An eventful history took its course. World wars, economic crises and economic miracles intervened, sometimes hindering, sometimes promoting. At times, the Dreislar mine was considered the most modern in Europe. People interested in technology came from all over the world to marvel at the ingenious system of shafts. Tunnel systems on which trucks could drive down serpentines into the earth's interior. "Ten years ago, the deposits were exhausted," Brocke recalls. The galleries and passageways were filled in, and the underground treasure trove was closed.

Moosbewachsener Baum an den Quarzklippen

At the same time, an above-ground crystal world was created. This time, people were the creators. Brocke and like-minded people founded a sponsoring association, applied for money, mostly went to work themselves. The result can be seen in the building next to the church, to which Brocke leads me. "Barite Museum" is written in red letters above the arched entrance gate. Bulky name outside, wonder world inside. Once again, I can fast-forward and rewind 70 million years. Showcases full of stone beauties. A replica forge. Artificial tunnels. Brocke cites figures like these: Trucks loaded with the heavy barite in Dreislar covered the distance earth - moon 16 times. The pride in one's own history is unmistakable.

Author: Michael Gleich

An inward bow to something so much older and greater.

Michael Equal

The Quarzklippen are best reached from:

Hikers' parking lot "Im Schwinkel

From the hikers' parking lot "Im Schwinkel" you hike on the Medebach mountain trail in the direction of Dreislar. At the Hundecke you cross the Medelon country road briefly and follow the blue altitude sign and the D1 in a westerly direction. At Rüdenscheid the Höhenflug leaves us and we follow the D1 around the Linsenberg. After about 2 km the small mining village Dreislar is already in sight, now leave the path to the right over a meadow path straight down. This path has no signposting. When you reach the bottom of the new path, turn left and follow the next small path to the left again for a while until the small barite quarry appears on the left again.

Here you are now near the Quarzklippen and above the Dreislar barite quarry. On the way back to the village, follow the road along the small church. The inn "Zum Burghof" is on the left and the barite museum on the right. Straight ahead, slightly uphill, the path leads us past the Friedfof and along the Sleeping Beauty Trail to the wellness rest area.

For more information, please contact the Tourist Information Medebach: Tel: 02982 / 9218610, e-mail: info@medebach-touristik.de

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Did you know...?

When the Alps were formed 50 million years ago, a fissure opened here, extending all the way to Poland.

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