|Elevation||1,214.6 m (3,985 ft)|
The Fichtelberg (German pronunciation: [ˈfɪçtəlbɛɐ̯k]) is a mountain with two main peaks in the middle of the Ore Mountains in the east German state of Saxony, near the Czech border. At 1,214.6 m (3,985 ft) above sea level, the Fichtelberg is the highest mountain in Saxony, the second highest in the Ore Mountains and used to be the highest mountain in East Germany. Its subpeak is 1,206 m (3,957 ft) high.
The Fichtelberg rises within the Central Ore Mountains in the Ore Mountains/Vogtland Nature Park around 1.5 kilometres north of the German-Czech border. At the southern foot of the mountain lies the highest town in Germany: the resort of Oberwiesenthal in the Pöhlbach valley. About 750 metres south-southwest is the less prominent subpeak of the Fichtelberg, known as the Kleiner Fichtelberg ("Little Fichtelberg") also called the Hinterer Fichtelberg ("Rear Fichtelberg"); ). About 4 kilometres south-southeast is the highest peak in the Ore Mountains: the Klínovec (Keilberg; ) on the Czech side of the border. In the wet valley heads and raised bogs on the Fichtelberg, numerous streams have their sources. The most important of these is the River Zschopau.
The Fichtelberg consists predominantly of light-coloured, crystalline rocks, especially a variety of muscovite slate (Muskovitschiefer). In the main, this rock only comprises quartz and muscovite; although it sometimes contains orthoclase and biotite as well. Additional components include rutile, garnet, tourmaline, hematite and ilmenite.
On the Summit of the Fichtelberg stands the Fichtelberg House (Fichtelberghaus) with its observation tower, a weather station and a prominent triangulation station of the Royal Saxon Survey (Königlich-Sächsischen Triangulation) from 1864, where measurements of regional and national significance were carried out. The Fichtelberg Cable Car runs up the eastern slope of the mountain from Oberwiesenthal to a point near the summit.
Origin of the name
The mountain was given its name thanks to the existing natural forests of spruce that covered it (see section on forest history). In the 16th century Georgius Agricola used the Latinised form, Pinifer (Fichtelberg)
The first albeit unreferenced evidence of a building on the summit of the Fichtelberg is found in the Historischen Schauplatz published in 1699 by Christian Lehmann, where it says:
"They certainly say / that a hundred years ago a summer house and hunting lodge / were built by the Schönburg lords / supposedly on top of it / but now there is no longer anything to be found / because it may have given little enjoyment / even a rifle shot and thunderclap up there makes a poor noise / being swallowed up by the air as it were."
"Man erzehlet zwar / daß vor hundert Jahren ein Lust- und Jagthaus / von den Schönburgischen Herren erbauet / darauf soll gestanden seyn / aber nunmehro ist nichts mehr darauf zu finden / weil es mag wenig Ergötzlichkeit gegeben haben / auch ein Büchsenschuß und Donnerschlag darauf schlechten Knall giebet / sondern von der Lufft gleichsam verschlungen wird."
The first definitely confirmed Fichtelberg house was built on the Fichtelberg in 1888/89 by Oskar Puschmann. It was opened on 21 July 1889 and extended for the first time in 1899. In 1910 the house was expanded again as a result of the popularity of the highest mountain in Saxony. With the construction of the Fichtelberg Cable Car in 1924 the visitor numbers climbed still further.
On the even of 25 February 1963 a fire broke out in the Fichtelberg House. 180 firemen from the entire county of Annaberg were called out and took part in the firefighting. Thanks to heavy snowdrifts on the access road all the extinguishing agents had to be transported up the mountain on the cable car. Hoses that had been laid from Oberwiesenthal up to the top of the mountain froze in temperatures of -15 °C and the lack of water meant that they could not put the fire out. The building was razed to its foundation walls.
On 22 June 1965 the foundation stone for a new building was laid. By 1967 a modern Fichtelberg House with an austere, typically East German concrete architecture and integrated, plain, 42 metre-high observation tower had been completed. The GDR made 12 million marks available for its construction. The new Fichtelberg House had seating for around 600. On the ground floor was a large self-service restaurant, on the upper floor was a grill bar, a concert café and a conference room. Well known artists helped design the interior. The wooden walls of the vestibule and the room dividers in the self-service area were by Hans Brockhage. Carl-Heinz Westenburger created a mural for the end wall of the conference room, on which he depicted sporting life on the Fichtelberg. At the end of the 1990 the Fichtelberg House was converted to resemble the old building and re-opened on 18 July 1999. The newly built observation tower is only 31 metres high.
In 1890 the publican of the Fichtelberg House recorded the first regular weather observations. On 1 January 1916 meteorologists began work in the new weather station. It was founded by Paul Schreiber and expanded into a mountain observatory in 1950.
The Fichtelberg rises above the holiday and winter sports resort of Oberwiesenthal, both connected by the Fichtelberg Cable Car. This cable car was opened in 1924, the cable is 1,175 m long with a height difference of 305 m. It takes six minutes to travel from the valley to the top of the mountain. Large car parks are available on the lower half of the mountain, but parking near the top is limited. Bus transportation is available in addition to the cable car.
On clear days, one can see to the mountains in the northern Czech Republic (the České středohoří, Lusatian Mountains, Jizera Mountains or Krkonoše) and to the Bohemian Forest to the south. The area around Fichtelberg and the neighbouring Klínovec mountain is famous for winter sport facilities, providing many ski lifts and cross-country ski tracks.
The Fichtelberg Aerial Tramway ascending to the peak
- "Digitalisat des Historischen Schauplatzes von 1699". Digitale.bibliothek.uni-halle.de. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
- Freie Presse, Chemnitz, 25 February 2003
- Claudia Hinz. "Geschichte des Fichtelberghauses in Text und Bild". Glorie.de. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
- "Oberwiesenthal: Winter Wonderland, on High". Deutsche Welle. 2005-02-06. Retrieved 2008-06-13.