Harz

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The Harz is a mountain range in northern Germany. The northernmost mountain chain of Germany, it straddles the border between the states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. The name Harz derives from a Middle High German word meaning "forest".

The Harz has a length of 95 km (southeast to northwest) and a width of 35 km. It occupies an area of about 2000 km², and reaches its highest point at the Brocken (1141 m), situated in the eastern part of the mountains. The Wurmberg (971 m) forms the highest peak in the western part (belonging to Lower Saxony). 600,000 people live in towns and villages of the Harz mountains.

The western part has the name Oberharz ("Over-Harz"). It features huge fir forests, while the eastern Unterharz ("Under-Harz") has deciduous forests mingled with meadows.

The settlement of the Harz began only 1000 years ago. In ancient times the dense forests made the region inaccessible. In the 10th century the kings of Saxony took possession of the mountains and used them as royal hunting grounds. 968 saw the discovery of silver deposits near the town of Goslar, and mines became established in the following centuries throughout the mountains. The wealth of the region declined after these mines became exhausted in the early 19th century. People abandoned the towns for a short time, but prosperity eventually returned with tourism. Between 1945 and 1990 an "inter-national" border ran through the Harz, the west belonging to the FRG and the east to the GDR. Today the Harz forms a popular tourist resort for summer hikers as well as winter sportsmen.

Two national parks exist in the Harz: the Harz National Park in Lower Saxony, and the Hochharz National Park in Saxony-Anhalt. Both national parks signed an agreement to merge in 2005. The source of the Oker river lies in the Harz.

Places in the Harz

Rivers in the Harz

External Links

de:Harz (Mittelgebirge) eo:Harco it::Harz nl:Harz pl:Harz uk:Гарц

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