The Giersteine


On the afternoon of Halloween day, October 31st, 2002, I visited an interesting place in the northern part of the famous Black Forest, in neighbouring Baden-Württemberg state and about 90 minutes drive from Speyer. I read about this place in the book Naturdenkmale (or Natural Monuments) and was so enthralled by the beautiful setting in which the "Giersteine" are located that, despite being quite preoccupied with the monumental task of writing my doctoral thesis, I decided to invest the time, money and effort to drive down to there in my Opel Corsa and sit around contemplatively for a while. 

Located close to the hamlet of Bermersbach and commanding a magnificent view of the Murgtal (Murg Valley), there stands a group of granite stone blocks, two of which are approximately round and quite large (the bigger one measures 13 meters in circum-ference), and exhibit strange grooves and indenta-tions. Named the Giersteine, these stones exude an aura of mystery which has fascinated people for centuries and given rise to all kinds of theories about their origination. One account states that Celtic Druid priests used the stones for animal sacrifical ceremo-nies to appease their pagan Gods before the advent of Christianity, another maintains that the Devil him-self took up position on the stones to block the ad-vance of Christian missionaries up the valley but was compelled to retreat. In his rage, his claws scraped the larger stones' surfaces, creating the the grooves and indentations which are now visible on them (geologists explain these grooves and inden-tations as the result of weather effects). A grand oak tree supposedly stood close to the stones and here legal matters were deliberated.

To learn more about the many Giersteine theories click here (the text is in German). Good photos taken at the stones can be found here. The Murgtal Museum is about 500 meters from the Giersteine, and has several interesting exhibits specific to the area. Visitors may want to check it out after the've finished with the Giersteine which, fortunately, are protected as monuments since 1936.

Incidentally, I spent over an hour sitting on the largest stone, which is accessible by a flight of steps hewn into the granite but - would you believe it - not a sigle soul came by in this time whom I could have handed over my camera and asked to photograph me perched on top of it. Grrrrrrrrrr!!! Could it be that the locals are avoiding the stones?



A series of photos taken from different angles of the largest granite stones of the Giersteine.

      Three photos of the largest of the Giersteine. The photo on the left shows the steps hewn into the solid granite rock. The photo in the middle shows the surface of the largest stone, where the Devil supposedly stood and whose indentations were created by his claws scratching the stone surface. The photo on the right shows the view of the valley from the stone top.  
  The two photos on the left show the scenic Murgtal and hamlet situated below the Giersteine.The photo on the right shows a large tree standing among the stones with forested hills in the background.  



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