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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A map of Germany, showing the Black Forest in green.
Topography of the Black Forest

The Black Forest (German: Schwarzwald) is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres (4,898 ft). The region is almost rectangular with a length of 200 km (120 mi) and breadth of 60 km (37 mi). Hence it has an area of approximately 12,000 km2 (4,600 sq mi).



Geologically, the Black Forest consists of a cover of sandstone on top of a core of gneiss and granites. Formerly it shared tectonic evolution with the nearby Vosges Mountains. Later during the Middle Eocene a rifting period affected the area and caused formation of the Rhine graben. During the last glacial period of the Würm glaciation, the Black Forest was covered by glaciers; several tarn lakes such as the Mummelsee are remains of this period.


Rivers in the Black Forest include the Danube (which rises in the Black Forest), the Enz, the Kinzig, the Murg, the Nagold, the Neckar, the Rench, and the Wiese. The Black Forest is part of the continental divide between the Atlantic Ocean drainage basin (drained by the Rhine) and the Black Sea drainage basin (drained by the Danube).

List of highest mountains

  • Feldberg (1,493 m (4,898 ft))
  • Herzogenhorn (1,415 m (4,642 ft))
  • Belchen (1,414 m (4,639 ft))
  • Spiesshorn (1,349 m (4,426 ft))
  • Schauinsland (1,284 m (4,213 ft))
  • Kandel (1,241 m (4,072 ft))
  • Hochblauen (1,165 m (3,822 ft))
  • Hornisgrinde (1,164 m (3,819 ft))


Administratively, the Black Forest belongs completely to the state of Baden-Württemberg and comprises the city of Pforzheim as well as the following districts (Kreise). In the north: Enz, Rastatt, and Calw; in the middle: Freudenstadt, Ortenaukreis, and Rottweil; in the south: Emmendingen, Schwarzwald-Baar, Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, Lörrach, and Waldshut.

Ecology and economy

The forest mostly consists of pines and firs, some of which are grown in commercial monoculture. Similar to other forested regions, the Black Forest has had areas damaged by mass logging. Due to logging and land use changes the forest proper is only a fraction its original size. The storm Lothar downed trees on hundreds of acres of mountaintops in 1999. This left some of the high peaks and scenic hills bare, with only primary growth shrubs and young fir trees.

The main industry is tourism. In addition to the towns and monuments noted below, the Black Forest is crossed by numerous long distance footpaths, including some of the first to be established. The European long-distance path E1 crosses the Black Forest following the routes of some of the local long-distance paths. There are numerous shorter paths suitable for day walks, as well as mountain biking and cross-country skiing trails. The total network of tracks amounts to around 23,000 kilometres (14,000 mi), and is maintained and overseen by a voluntary body, the Schwarzwaldverein (Black Forest Society), which has around 90,000 members (figures from Bremke, 1999, p.9).

Points of interest

Winter on Schauinsland: famous "Windbuchen" Beeches bent by the wind

The cities of Freiburg and Baden-Baden are popular tourist destinations on the western edge of the Black Forest; towns in the forest include Bad Herrenalb, Baiersbronn, Calw (the birth town of Hermann Hesse) Freudenstadt, Furtwangen, Gengenbach, Gütenbach, Sasbachwalden, Schramberg, Staufen, Titisee-Neustadt, Hausach, and Wolfach. Other popular destinations include such mountains as the Feldberg, the Belchen, the Kandel, and the Schauinsland; the Titisee and Schluchsee lakes; the All Saints Waterfalls; the Triberg Waterfalls, not the highest, but the most famous waterfalls in Germany; and the gorge of the River Wutach.

The Schwarzwälder Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof is an open-air museum that shows the life of sixteenth or seventeenth century farmers in the region, featuring a number of reconstructed Black Forest farms. The German Clock Museum in Furtwangen shows the history of the clock industry and of watchmakers.

For drivers, the main route through the region is the rapid A5 (E35) motorway, but a variety of sign-posted scenic routes such as the Schwarzwald-Hochstrasse (60 km (37 mi), Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt), Schwarzwald Tälerstrasse (100 km (62 mi), the Murg and Kinzig valleys) or Badische Weinstrasse (Baden Wine Street, 160 km (99 mi), a wine route from Baden-Baden to Weil am Rhein) offers calmer driving along high roads.[1]. The last is a picturesque trip starting in the south of the Black Forest going north and includes numerous old wineries and tiny villages. Another, more specialized route is the 'Deutsche Uhrenstraße' ("German Clock Road") [2], a circular route which traces the horological history of the region.

Due to the rich mining history dating from medieval times (the Black Forest was one of the most important mining regions of Europe circa 1100) there are many mines re-opened to the public. Such mines may be visited in the Kinzig valley, the Suggental, the Muenster valley, and around Todtmoos.

The Black Forest was visited on several occasions by Count Otto von Bismarck during his rule 1873-1890. Allegedly, he especially was interested in the Triberg Waterfalls. [3] There is now a monument in Triberg dedicated to Bismarck, who apparently enjoyed the tranquility of the region, which was lacking at his residence in Berlin.


In addition to the expected kinds of wildlife to be found in a European forest area, the following types of animals may be observed in the Black Forest[1]. Some of these animals include

  • Cows: The Black Forest cows belong to the rare breed of "Hinterwälderberg" cows
  • The giant earthworm Lumbricus badensis is found only in the Black Forest region (see Lamparski, 1985)
  • Black Forest Foxes are a breed of horse, previously indispensable for heavy field work
  • Eagles and owls can be seen at close range as they swoop overhead


Dialects spoken in the Black Forest area are Alemannic and Swabian.


The German holiday of Fastnacht, or Fasnet, as it is known in the Black Forest region, occurs in the time leading up to Lent. On Rosenmontag, or the Monday before Ash Wednesday, crowds of people line the streets, wearing masks. One prominent style of mask is called the Black Forest Style, originating from the Black Forest Region.


Wood-carving is a traditional cottage industry in the region and carved ornaments now are produced in substantial numbers as souvenirs for tourists. Cuckoo clocks are a popular example; although they were not, as is sometimes claimed, invented in the Black Forest[citation needed], they have been made in the region since the early eighteenth century and much of their development occurred there.


Black Forest ham originated from this region, and so, by name and reputation at least, did the Black Forest Cake. It also is known as the "Black Forest Cherry Cake" and is made with chocolate cake, cream, sour cherries, and Kirsch.[2] The Black Forest variety of Flammkuchen is a Badisch specialty made with ham, cheese, and cream. Pfannkuchen, a crêpe or crêpe-like (Eierkuchen or Palatschinken) pastry, is also common.


See also



  • Bremke, N. (1999). Schwarzwald quer. Karlsruhe: Braun. ISBN 3-7650-8228-7
  • Lamparski, F. (1985). Der Einfluß der Regenwurmart Lumbricus badensis auf Waldböden im Südschwarzwald. Schriftenreihe des Institut für Bodenkunde und Waldernährungslehre der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i. Br., 15. ISSN 0344-2691. English summary
  • German Wikipedia "Pfannkuchen" disambiguation
  • Barnes, K. J. (2007). A Rough Passage: Memories of an Empire

External links

Coordinates: 48°00′N 8°15′E / 48°N 8.25°E / 48; 8.25

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


The Black Forest (German: Schwarzwald) is located in the southwest corner of Germany in the German federal-state of Baden-Württemberg.

Location of the Black Forest
Location of the Black Forest

This ancient forest is famous for its legends and the black fur trees that dot the landscape. While not particularly high, the mountains offer a wonder place to go hiking or mountain biking. There are a few skiing resorts as well offering average but crowded conditions. Better to head south to the alps if you are a serious skier or boarder. The Black Forest is a mountainous terrain at about 200 - 1500 meters above sea level, the highest point being the Feldberg (the field mountain) at 1493 m.

The region is famous for its cuckoo clocks, watchmaking, skiing and tourism. There is a large high-tech light engineering industry in the region stemming from the gold-mining and watchmaking days. Almost all tourists are from Germany and Switzerland; the region's tourist industry is therefore not well equipped to deal with guests who don't speak German.

The most important destination in the Schwarzwald is called, interestingly, Titisee, which is a medium-sized lake with associated tourist village (Titisee-Neustadt) and hotels, with very nice views and generally very relaxed and healthy activities. From here it is a short journey to Lake Constance and the city of Konstanz, or to see the Rhein Waterfall at Neuhausen in Switzerland.

Get in

The closest airports are: Konstanz, Karlsruhe, Basel (Switzerland), Stuttgart, Zurich (Switzerland), or Frankfurt. Then take the train (excellent) or hire a car.

  • The city of Freiburg, a provincial University city, well known as the driest, warmest, sunniest part of Germany.
  • Drive on the Schwarzwaldhochstraße, a scenic road which runs through the black forest.
  • Visit the Mummelsee, a small lake along the Hochstraße.
  • Hiking
  • Water sports
  • High altitude lake diving
  • Skiing & snowboarding (December and January only)
  • Mountain biking
  • Paragliding
  • Visit a medieval mine ("Schaubergwerk")


The food tends to be "Wholesome", heavy dishes and lots of cakes, biscuits, meats and gravies. The "Drink" is excellent, with some of Germany's best beers and wines produced in the region.

The Black Forest area has a number awarded restaurants with the small village of Baiersbronn having Germany's highest density of star rated restaurants.

  • Schwarzwaldstube [1] at Hotel Traube Tonbach, Baiersbronn
  • Bareiss [2] at Hotel Bareiss, Baiersbronn
  • Schlossberg [3] at Hotel Sackmann, Baiersbronn
  • Imperial [4] at Schlosshotel Bühlerhöhe, Bühl near Baden-Baden
  • Colombi [5] at Hotel Colombi, Freiburg


There are many types of drinks associated with the black forest, but as for the real drinks in the Black Forest; there is much drinking of beer. Beer is one of Germany's top drinks and is spread widely in the Black Forest as well. Some of the most common beers are from Rothaus[[6]] and Alpirsbacher.


Accommodations in the main tourist areas may be cheaper than many of the quaint smaller towns and villages. For a nice hut at a reasonable price, look for a privately-operated Gasthaus, which can be found in villages throughout the area. There are many pleasant surprises waiting, often with excellent home-cooked food and special service, often provided by the family living there for many generations. Ask at the local Tourist Bureau for a list, often with prices. Sometimes the Tourist office will even call to ask availability. Gasthaus rooms may be found for as low as €20 for one person, up to €70 for a double room/two persons. Reservations may be needed during festivals or summer near tourist locations.

Mid-price Hotels begin at €50-100 a night per double room, with lots of availability in the mid and expensive categories. Eating out in nice restaurants can be expensive, with a meal for two cost ranging from €50 to €150 including drinks. But bargains can be found, with many Kebab and Turkish-style pizzerias offering items under €5. Or shop at the local grocery store for fresh baguettes, meat, and cheese. Groceries are inexpensive, with a variety of fruit juices available at a reasonable price (We found cherry, apple, grape, orange, banana, even sauerkraut juice in nice tetrapak containers, a liter is under €1). In the south Schwarzwald, look for stores Lidl, Aldi, and Pennymarkt for the best food values.

The Black Forest area has some of the best hiking options, with well-marked trails, and maps available from the tourist offices. Some Germans even spend a week or two hiking with their backpack, with primitive lodging available in small cabins along the trails (must be reserved in advance through the Forestamt office).

  • Bertha Benz Memorial Route - Follow the tracks of the world's first automobile journey back in 1888 (Mannheim - Pforzheim/Black Forest - Mannheim)
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BLACK FOREST (Ger. Schwarzwald; the Silva Marciana and Abnoba of the Romans), a mountainous district of south-west Germany, having an area of 1844 sq. m., of which about twothirds lie in the grand duchy of Baden and the remaining third in the kingdom of 'Wurttemberg. Bounded on the south and west by the valley of the Rhine, to which its declivities abruptly descend, and running parallel to, and forming the counterpart of the Vosges beyond, it slopes more gently down to the valley of the Neckar in the north and to that of the Nagold (a tributary of the Neckar) on the north-east. Its total length is loo m., and its breadth varies from 36 m. in the south to 21 in the centre and 13 in the north. The deep valley of the Kinzig divides it laterally into halves, of which the southern, with an average elevation of 3000 ft., is the wilder and contains the loftiest peaks, which again mostly lie towards the western side. Among them are the Feldberg (4898 ft.), the Herzogenhorn (4600), the BlOssling (4260) and the Blauen (3820). The northern half has an average height of 2000 ft. On the east side are several lakes, and here the majority of the streams take their rise. The configuration of the hills is mainly conical and the geological formation consists of gneiss, granite (in the south) and red sandstone. The district is poor in minerals; the yield of silver and copper has almost ceased, but there are workable coal seams near Offenburg, where the Kinzig debouches on the plain. The climate in the higher districts is raw and the produce is mostly confined to hardy cereals, such as oats. But the valleys, especially those on the western side, are warm and healthy, enclose good pasture land and furnish fruits and wine in rich profusion. They are clothed up to a height of about 2000 ft. with luxuriant woods of oak and beech, and above these again and up to an elevation of 4000 ft., surrounding the hills with a dense dark belt, are the forests of fir which have given the name to the district. The summits of the highest peaks are bare, but even on them snow seldom lies throughout the summer.

The Black Forest produces excellent timber, which is partly sawn in the valleys and partly exported down the Rhine in logs. Among other industries are the manufactures of watches, clocks, toys and musical instruments. There are numerous mineral springs, and among the watering places Baden-Baden and Wildbad are famous. The towns of Freiburg, Rastatt, Offenburg and Lahr, which lie under the western declivities, are the chief centres for the productions of the interior.

The Black Forest is a favourite tourist resort and is opened up by numerous railways. In addition to the main lines in the valleys of the Rhine and Neckar, which are connected with the towns lying on its fringe, the district is intersected by the Schwarzwaldbahn from Offenburg to Singen, from which various small local lines ramify.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun

Black Forest

  1. A large forest and mountain range in southwestern Germany.

Derived terms


Simple English

The Black Forest (German: Schwarzwald) is a world famous forest in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Important towns are (from north to south): Pforzheim, Calw, Baden-Baden, Offenburg, Freudenstadt, Horb, Villingen-Schwenningen, Titisee-Neustadt and Waldshut-Tiengen. The highest mountain is the Feldberg (1492m). The Black Forest is quite popular for hiking, skiing and Nordic walking. In Triberg, at the lake Titisee and in other places you can buy the famous cuckoo clocks. A good way to get known to the Black Forest is to travel on the Deutsche Uhrenstraße, a "National Scenic Byway."

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