Hills and towers
Rochlitz Hill , Photo: Gotthard Lagegast
The hills of the Geopark Porphyry Land may not soar into the sky like the Himalayas, but they do bear no less interesting stories. These conspicuous witnesses of geological and landscape development demarcate the area from three directions.
Rocks that resisted the effects of weathering for millions of years now stand out as hills and ridges from the mostly level landscape of the Mulde Valley. Early in history they were settlement areas and hideaways, meeting places and places of trials. In the 19th and 20th century, the hills were central survey points, places of a romantic sense of home and patriotic yearnings and sources of raw materials or just simply popular tourist destinations, something they are still today. The hills offer many opportunities for making geological discoveries: by looking from a peak, hiking on signposted GeoRoutes or climbing in close contact with the rock,…
Rochlitz Hill (353 m above sea-level) is the highest point in the south of the Geopark Porphyry Land and just like the Löbenberg it was also a point in this triangulation network. The sandstone triangulation column was installed on the platform of the Friedrich-August Tower in 1866. The tower was built in 1859 to commemorate King Friedrich August II of Saxony who died in an accident. It was designed by Eduard Heuchler in the neo-romantic style with a polygonal top sitting on a square lower section. The building is completely lined with Rochlitz Porphyry tuff, which has been extracted from Rochlitz Hill since medieval times. Quarry owner Christian Gottlob Seidel ambitiously sponsored the construction of the tower. Rochlitz Hill was already developed as a hiking destination in the early 19th century – during the romantic period. Already in 1817, Seidel built a small refuge with pointed arch windows, the “Einsiedelei”, just outside his quarry. Traditional tourism on Rochlitz Hill has lost nothing of its appeal even today. Here visitors will also find diverse hiking trails and thematic walks, climbing walls in old quarries, cultural events and will frequently chance upon impressive views of the Geopark Porphyry Land.
Löbenberg/ Hohburg Hills
The highest peak of the Hohburg Hills in the north is the Löbenberg (240 m above sea-level). The “Hohburger Schweiz“ (“Hohburg Switzerland”) is characterised by industrial rock extraction in the past 2 centuries and has been a traditional hiking and climbing destination for more than 150 years. The quarry at the Gaudlitzberg has been abandoned since 1961 and is internationally renowned for its climbing wall and the annual Bergfilmfestival. Two small hills offer spectacular geological attractions: the geotope Glacial Striations at the Spielberg as well as the national geotope Wind and Glacial Striations at the Kleiner Berg.
The Wachtelberg (148.5 m above sea level) is located south of the Hohburg Hills. This peak is crowned by a tower built by the architect Wilhelm Kreis in 1909. The former Bismarck tower is constructed with Lüptitz quartz porphyry with massive corner pillars somewhat reminiscent of antique temple columns. The “Wachtelbergturm“ as the tower is called today, houses an exhibition on the history of the building and the flora and fauna of the Wachtelberg.
The otherwise level landscape to the east is dominated by the Collmberg (approx. 316 m above sea-level). The hill consists of quartzitic greywacke, the oldest exposed rock of the Geopark Porphyry Land. From 1835 onwards a large volume of building material was extracted in a quarry on the south-west side of the hill. Today the quarry is open but has been under protection since 1975. The Albert Tower on top of the hill was built in 1853 and named after the later Saxon king. After ascending the external staircase the visitor can enjoy a wonderful view. The granite column on the viewing platform was erected in 1865 and was a 1st order triangulation point of a survey net that spanned the whole of Central Europe. Using optical equipment it was possible to sight the Fichtelberg among other points