Unicorn Cave´ - more than just a cave ....
Biotope and Geotope (Natural Reserve) - Cultural Monument - Natural Monument
”Unicorn Cave" - even the name of this cave sounds mysterious. For hundreds of years, digging for the bones of the unicorn had been the foremost interest. Starting already in the Middle Ages people entered the cave to search for the fabled bones in the cave sediments. These bone-diggers believed to have found unicorn bones which were said to be very useful in medicine. The cave has been famous and well known even far beyond the Harz-mountains. The bones, ground down to powder in a mortar, were sold as "Unicornu fossile" (meaning "excavated unicorn"), a much esteemed medicine over the whole of Europe.
Still today, visitors, especially the young, are wondering about the unicorn in the cave.
"Unicorn Cave" - the cave is the largest show cave in the western part of the Harz Mountains. The cave is situated in the oldest Permian dolomite, abt. 270 million years old. The cave itself has an age of about 5 -10 million years. From the earliest days until now man has shown great interest in this cave.
A first historic reference was found in a document of 1541. Since this time, an increasing number of famous scientists visited and explored the cave for geological reasons and in search of remains of prehistoric settlements. Most of the finds made were bones of the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) and other large mammals (Panthera spelaea, Canis lupus and others).
"Unicorn Cave" - home of Neanderthal man and of cave-bears. Today we know for certain that the bones found in the cave are the fossilised remnants of thousands of cave-bears (pic.left side) and other died-out animals, which have been living in the area during the last ice-age. Only a few years ago scientific excavations revealed, that the Neanderthal man occupied at least one of the cave entrances for considerable time some 100.000 years ago. During excavations in 1985/89 for the first time proofs of Ice Age settlement were found: stone tools of Neanderthal men living in the Unicorn Cave, and also thousands of bones and teeths of cave bears. Come in and join us to follow the the footprints of famous Europaean explorers, among them Leibniz, Forster, Goethe, Buckland, Cuvier and Virchow, through the winding corridors and the huge halls of the cave.
"Unicorn Cave" - the largest cave open to the public in the western Harz-mountains, can be reached via the highways B27/B243 from the village of Scharzfeld following the signs to the parking lot in the forest (busses welcome) - or on foot from the railway station "Barbis" in 40 minutes (marked footpath).
Opening hours: look at qoogle. Specially guided tours are each full hour.
Unicorn Cave - another world underneath the Harz-mountains, the world of the unicorns, the cave-bears and the neanderthal men