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Soonwald: Pristine forests and natural habitats preserved

Soonwald summer: memorable sunset on the Wildburghöhe mountain («Soonwald» Forest)

The Soonwald is one of the largest contiguous areas of forest in Germany. Its altitude (400-600m; the highest peak is Ellerspring at 657m), its low population density, and its distance from the large transportation routes of our time make it an ideal recreation area for people seeking peace and quiet. This wooded area is well developed. It has over 800km of circular hiking paths with observation towers at the most beautiful spots, which afford spectacular panoramas.

You can hike here for hours without ever meeting another human being, although traces of more than two thousand years of human history can be found everywhere. On the high mountain ridges, there are ancient Celtic hilltop forts [keltische Fluchtburgen], surrounded by gigantic stone walls of more than several hundred metres in length; there are ancient Roman long-distance roads [römische Überlandstraße], constructed some 2,000 years ago at a standardized width of 5 to 6 metres and protected by watchtowers at regular intervals; and there are the remains of luxurious Roman villas [römische Villen]. In addition, we find medieval fortresses and castles [Burgen and Schlösser] from the glory days of the political might of Sponheim and Kurtrier. There are churches and monasteries in the architectural style typical of Hunsrück with ingeniously painted surfaces and galleries; evidence of a very special breed of people, who despite difficult living conditions and scant resources created their own works of art over hundreds of years. People who, incidentally, you still meet today on the farms of the elevated plains or in the village guest houses.

A picture book worth looking at: Uwe Anhäuser, Kultur-Erlebnis Hunsrück; Idar Oberstein: Dr. Gebhardt & Hilden, 2000
Hiking guides: Wolfgang Bartels, Hunsrück; DuMont Buchverlag, 1996 and Norbert Forsch, Hunsrück; Deutscher Wanderverlag, 2000
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