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Specific Beautys of Nature

Orchids from the Geratal

Let yourself be inspired by the fascinating nature of the Ilm district!

Ilmenau Pond Region

This region comprises a total area of 25 ha with 5 larger ponds lying together at the eastern edge of Ilmenau. Those ponds are an important spawning ground for several amphibian species. Besides that, they are one of the most important places on the northern edge of the Thuringian Forest where water birds roost.

The Ilm district’s booklet "Das Ilmenauer Teichgebiet" informs about geology, fauna and flora. This booklet can be purchased for 2,00 Euros at the Environmental Agency or ordered online per e-mail.

Langer Berg

The mountain Langer Berg (809 m) is about 7 km long and situated in the southeast of Ilmenau. It separates the Thuringian Forest with its red porphyry in the northwest from the Thuringian Shale Mountains with its palaeozoic shale in the southeast.

Lovers of nature who are also interested in geology can enjoy the unique panorama over the mountain range and parts of its foothills from the Carl-Günther-monument (last prince of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen).

Geologically also interesting are the natural landmarks "Gillersdorfer Dachschiefer" and "Langebergquarzit bei Herschdorf". Moreover, the region is very important with regard to its species and habitats. This concerns the woodland of the mountain Langer Berg with its dwarf-shrub heath, valuable matured forests and mountain pines as well as the extensive habitats of the Möhrenbach Valley on its northwestern side with its various spring fens and wet meadows.


Throughout Germany, 68 orchid species have been listed until today. On the territory of the present-day Ilm district 47 orchid species were found and listed, and between 1985 and 1995, 35 species were verified; the remaining 12 species are extinct.

The Environment Agency has published a booklet that informs detailed about the world of orchids within the Ilm district. It can be purchased for 4,00 Euros at the Administration Office or ordered online per e-mail.

The mountain range Reinsberge and the castle Reinsburg

The highest elevations of the mountain range Reinsberge south of Arnstadt are the Halskappe and the castle Reinsburg.

Only minor wall and rampart fragments remind of the biggest of all Gera castles. This castle is said to be founded by the House of Käfernburg and secured trade and army routes within the Gera Valley and the Wipfra Valley. In the second part of the 13th century, robber knights lived in the castle. In 1289, it is said to be charged and destroyed under the rule of Rudolf of Habsburg.

The Reinsberge, which were shaped by rocks of the Triassic period, are unique natural landscapes with beech forests growing on limestone as well as oak and pine forests.

Rockslides shape the slope towards the landscapes Plaueschen Grund, Kleinbreitenbacher Kessel and Ziegenried.

The slopes and screes with its mosaic-like structures exposed to the southwest are the habitat of many sub-Mediterranean plant species.

The mountain Schneekopf

The Schneekopf is the second highest peak of the Thuringian Forest. It’s 977,7 m high and situated northwest of the Schmücke in the midst of the Thuringian Forest, just like the nearby mountain Großer Beerberg (982,1 m above sea level).

The nature reserve "Schneekopfmoore am Teufelskreis" comprises 38,5 ha and is located below the peak of the Schneekopf.

Since the Schneekopf is not used militarily anymore it’s a popular viewpoint across the northern foothills of the Thuringian Forest.

Currently, there is being built a viewing tower on top of the Schneekopf nearby the towns Gehlberg and Oberhof which will be Thuringia’s highest viewing point (1000m).

A webcam is recording the tower construction. You can find the latest picture here.


The castle Wachsenburg, built on top of a hill, is situated in the northwest of Arnstadt within the uneven landscape of the inner Thuringian Basin. It’s located in the tectonic rift of the Saalfeld-Eichenberg fault zone.

The nature reserve, named alike, comprises the arboreous slopes and the summit of the 421, 2 m high hill with the castle on top.

The Wachsenburg was already built prior to 950 and got its current appearance in 1906.