The name of the 617-metre-high Barstein goes back to a medieval legend.
The legend of the Barstein
The name of the 617-metre-high Barstein, also known as Bartenstein, goes back to a medieval legend. Once a grim count ruled over this part of the Westerwald and exploited his subjects. A wandering bard pointed out the count's unlawful actions and the plight of the poor population. The enraged count condemned the singer and chained him to a rock of today's Barstein so that he would starve to death. Lured by his song, the animals of the forest fed him and foiled the cruel plan.
Its geological history is much older. During the Devonian period about 400 million years ago, the area of today's Westerwald was part of a shelf sea several hundred kilometres wide, in which large quantities of marine sediments (including Devonian mass limestones) were deposited. These were folded up about 300 million years ago in the Carboniferous period during the so-called "Variscan" mountain building and shifted against each other along faults. This created saddle and trough structures in the rock layers. In the Middle Ages, the Variscan Mountains, the remains of which form today's Rhenish Slate Mountains, were largely removed by erosion. It was not until the New Earth Period, about 24 million years ago, that the earth's crust moved again in parts of the mountains, and intensive volcanic activity in the Tertiary period caused basalt lava stacks up to 150 metres thick to form. They form large sections of today's Westerwald. Between the individual lava flows, layers of volcanic ejecta rocks, ranging from fine ashes to coarse lumpy tuffs, can be found again and again. The rocks of the Barstein hilltop visible today are the weathered remains of a larger basalt blanket and are connected to a basalt vent reaching deep into the earth's crust.
The Westerwald-Lahn-Taunus GEOPARK
The area of the Geopark extends over a region of very special geological, scenic, cultural and mining-historical quality. Here, more than 400 million years of earth history and over 2000 years of mining history can be explored and experienced. Whether it's Lahn marble and iron ore from the Devonian period in the Lahn-Dill region, basalt and clay from the Tertiary period in the Westerwald or the traces of the sea and mountain building in the Taunus: geological sights everywhere offer visitors the opportunity to dive deep into the exciting history of the earth's development. Come with us on a journey through time and discovery in our GEOPARK!
Text: GEOPARK Westerwald-Lahn-Taunus
Translated as DeepL (www.deepl.com).