Geo-Sites in Mosbach


Within the context of the Geopark "Bergstraße-Odenwald" seven of Mosbach's scenic beauties and sights of cultural history have become so called "geosites". These sites expand the already established infrastructure of the Geopark such as the entrance gates, information centers and the hiking trails. With the help of those the countryside as well as the scenic, geological and cultural sights are presented in a unified layout. Therefore you will find several information panels in the respective towns. The geosites explain the different peculiarities of the respective countryside in context with its history and population. That means you can discover the nature and special features of every landscape by yourself. A stroll through the Geopark can be like to perusing a book of regional history describing millions of years of active geology as well as man's effect on the landscape.

Map of the geo-sites in MosbachThe Geo-Sites in Mosbach at a general view:

1. The Schreckberg Pfeil nach unten
2. The Saltwater Well Pfeil nach unten
3. Mosbach town museum Pfeil nach unten
4. Neckarelz Concentration Camp Memorial Pfeil nach unten
5. Local history museum Neckarelz Pfeil nach unten
6. The "IKoNE"-Project Pfeil nach unten
7. History in wattle-and-daub Pfeil nach unten



As attractions for our visitors the mosbach geo-sites are also marked in the hiking map "Südlicher Odenwald - Bauland".
This map as well as further information is available at the Tourist Information Mosbach Pfeil nach rechts Kontakt

A guided tour at the Schreckberg

 The Schreckberg - nature reserve and window into the geological past

This nature reserve is characterized by a mosaic of Triassic limestone and sandstone outcrops, meadow orchards, dry grasslands, scrub, mosses and dry walls. Careful habitat management ensures the survival of rare plants such as lizard orchid and military orchid. You will also find hawthorn and privet as well as rare butterflies and birds such as the red-backed shrike. With a little luck you may also discover the rare blue-winged locust.

The geology of the Schreckberg is also very interesting. As the Neckar carved its valley deep into the landscape, it exposed layers of rocks over 240 million years old. These rocks belong to the upper Bunter Sandstone formation, and were deposited by rivers in a desert-like plain. Later this plain was flooded by a subtropical sea in which the Triassic limestone was deposited. These sediments often contain fossil fish, cephalopods, snails, sea lilies and ichthyosaurs. When the sea dried up, gypsum and salt were deposited which have since been almost completely eroded on the Schreckberg.

You can watch a new rock forming right before your eyes at the foot of the Schreckberg! Here, carbonate-rich water seeps to the ground surface, where it evaporates leaving crusts of travertine. Pfeil nach oben

The Saltwater Well

 The Saltwater Well (Solebrunnen)

The people of Mosbach have long known that it is possible to draw salty water from the rocks beneath the town. Table salt was mined near the Saltwater Well in the 18th century. The saline water is drawn from around 75 m depth and has a salt content of 10%, making it a brine. But where does the salt come from? Geology provides the answer….

Salt is expected where rocks are formed in a marine environment. The brine may originate from the late Permian salt deposits from where it rose up into the porous Bunter sandstones. However, It is also possible that the salt actually comes from the sandstone itself, where salt crystals are not unknown.

How did salt get into the fresh water rivers of the Bunter sandstone epoch? About 240 million years ago, the saltwater of the "Röt" ocean began moving inland. Brackish water formed in the estuaries along the shoreline. As the coast progressed inland, the river deposits where covered by salt water and mud.

The Saltwater Well is an artesian well: the pressure of the impervious Röt mudstone on the salty groundwater beneath causes the brine to rise to the surface in the well.
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The town-museum in Mosbach

 Mosbach town museum
Where history comes alive

Mosbach town museum is one of the oldest historical museums of the Neckar-Odenwald-region. You will find significant displays of the artistic, economic and cultural developments in Mosbach, as well as the geology of the surrounding landscape.

The museum owns important collections of Mosbach pottery from the Fayence-Manufaktur and the industrial oven tile factory. The former hospital building also presents a collection of fossils and includes a department devoted to Jewish life in Mosbach.

The old hospital shed houses a collection of working printing machines and includes a display centred around the traditional Mosbach trades and crafts as well as half-timber house construction. Another display focuses on the historical development of the town from the founding of the monastery to the modern business and administrative centre in the 19th and 20th century.

Paschke House is devoted to the folklore of the expellees who moved to the region after 1945. Kickelhain house is one of the smallest free-standing half-timbered houses in Germany and contains a collection of typical furniture from the rural Odenwald.
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Ein Häftlingsanzug der ehemaligen KZ-Außenstelle Neckarelz

 Neckarelz Concentration Camp Memorial

On March 21st in 1944, 500 wretched men in striped uniform came to Neckarelz, all concentration camp prisoners from Dachau. Their first task was to turn the elementary school into a concentration camp. What happened here in this quiet rural village? The rulers of the Third Reich had seized the gypsum mines as a bombproof location for a ultra-modern factory producing aircraft engines for the military.

Forced labourers and concentration camp prisoners from all over Europe were brought into the region to toil for the Third Reich military program. Living conditions were abysmal for the 1000 men housed in the six classrooms of the former school. Gradually the number of camps was increased to seven. The men suffered from hunger, illness and exhaustion and many lost their lives here. The SS called this "Annihilation by work".

After the war, in 1947, the children of Neckarelz went back to school and the camps were all but forgotten. A society dedicated upholding the memory of the Neckarelz concentration camp was formed in 1993.

More information at:

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Advertising sign of the former Portland cement factory

 Local history museum Neckarelz

The Neckarelz local history society was founded in 21. August 1974. The historic collection was initially stored in school buildings, barns and other buildings.The local history museum opened in 1999, after the building was converted.The displays focus on the period of industrialization in the region around Diedesheim and Neckarelz.

Industrialization began with the opening of the Odenwald railway line along the Neckar in 1879. Neckarelz developed into an important junction with lines meeting here from three directions. The first chain traction ships sailed the Neckar in 1878.

The rural village developed into a community of workers and farmers as the first foundries were established here in 1891 and 1895.
The Portland cement factory of Diedesheim-Neckarelz began production in 1899, was taken over by the Heidelberg Portland cement works in 1904 and was shut down in 1925.

Special explanatory panels and museum programs make sure that children can also understand and enjoy the displays.

Tip: The museum is the starting point for several thematic trails focussing on industrialisation and town development. Pfeil nach oben

Ein Übersichtsplan des IKoNe-Modellprojektes in Mosbach

 A new riverside in the making

For a long time the Neckar was mainly used as a shipping route. Riverbanks were straightened and armoured to increase water flow rates. However, these offer few spawning opportunities for fish. These modifications were not limited to the parent river but also included the tributaries. Today, new concepts for restoring the ecological function of rivers are being implemented by the state of Baden-Württemberg. These aim to balance the demands of a natural habitat with those of navigation and leisure.

In 2001 Mosbach was selected as one of three showcase projects for the renaturation of the Neckar riverbanks. This involved removing the bank protection and constructing shallow bays to increase the natural re-development of the riverside habitat. New shallow and still water areas are ideal for plants and provide the necessary space for spawning. The success of the project is evident: nase, varione, roach, perch and the Eurasian minnow have returned.

The Elz riverbed has also been restored to a more natural state. The former canal-like mouth of the stream now consists of several branches and islands. New bridges across the mouth of the Elz and a panoramic catwalk along the Neckar provide interesting insights into the river habitats.
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Half-timbered houses in the pedestrian zone of Mosbach

 Mosbach - history in wattle-and-daub

An old engraving from 1645 shows Mosbach town centre with its tall, narrow half-timbered houses. This traditional method of building consists of a framed structure of oak timbers, filled with wattle-and-daub made of straw and clay. Each timber-framed house in the old town centre of Mosbach represents a specific period of the town's history.

Mosbach was first mentioned in the 9th century and received town rights in 1241. The oldest half-timbered houses date from the 15th century and incorporate gothic and late gothic features. The renaissance period is marked by a more elaborate and decorative design, to be seen in the Palm'sche Haus built in 1610 and said to be one of the most beautiful half-timbered houses in South Germany. The house marks a period of increased wealth in Mosbach.

All this ended in the 30-Year War. Many houses fell into neglect and the economy and population were slow to recover. Every period has its own preferences: timber framing was perceived as common in the 18th century and was usually covered by plaster and a coat of colour. As appreciation for this traditional craftsmanship increased in the 20th century, the timber framing was uncovered to become the pride and trademark of the town.

Tip: The historic circular walk guides you through to distinctive buildings in the historic town centre of Mosbach.
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