Points of Interest on the Green Belt
Old Hanseatic town of Salzwedel
Half-timbered architecture and north German Gothic style red brick, with imposing groups of churches characterise the townscape of Salzwedel. The Jeetzehafen with the Hansehof from the 15th century is an indication that Salzwedel belonged to the Hanseatic League. A guided tour of the town offers the visitor over 8 km of preserved city walls with historic city gates, the castle gardens with the remains of the old castle, uniquely restored town houses from the 15th and 16th centuries, as well as a series of impressive historical churches. The Danneil Museum is well worth a visit, from where guided tours on 'border paths' to the Green Belt around Salzwedel are offered.
The visitor can take part in a special literary tour of discovery through Salzwedel, on the 'LiteraTour'. On this tour, the town is seen 'through the eyes of a writer'. You can't leave the town without visiting the pyramid cake baker to try the Salzwedel speciality, the pyramid cake, which for 150 years has been baked over an open fire.
Tourist information Salzwedel
29410 Salzwedel, Germany
Phone: (+49) 3901 / 422438 or 19433
Fax: +49 3901 / 31077
Town and castle of Lenzen
The town of Lenzen on the Elbe lay until 1976 inside the former restricted area, and could only be accessed with a permit. But it wasn't only after the Second World War that the Elbe formed a border here: The over 1000 years of town history with the former Slavonic royal castle show that the Elbe has always been a border river. This is demonstrated impressively by the great battle of Lenzen (929) between Slavs and Saxons. In the town history museum in Burg Lenzen, this great battle is depicted in a stirring diorama.
An important starting point for visitors to the region is the visitor and congress centre of the cross-state UNESCO biosphere reserve river landscape in the historical castle grounds. The history of the Elbe river landscape, from nature to the cultural landscape, is brought to life in a modern exhibition suitable for all the family. Afterwards you should visit the castle tower and take a walk through the historical town of Lenzen, with its many half-timbered buildings.
BUND Besucherzentrum Burg Lenzen (visitor centre)
Burgstraße 3, 19309 Lenzen, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)38792-1221
Fax: +49 (0)38792-80 673
The town of Hitzacker (Elbe) in the Lower Saxony Elbe Floodplain Biosphere Reserve
Hitzacker is part of the German Fachwerkstraße (Road of Half-Timbered Buildings) and lies on the Lower Saxony banks of the Elbe, on an island between the Elbe and its tributary, the Jeetzel.
In the heart of the town of Hitzacker lies the Customs House from the year 1589, today the 'Altes Zollhaus' museum. In the exhibition 'GrenzenLos' [Without Borders], the visitor learns much about the varied history of this town, which is surrounded by water, and often threatened by the heavy currents of the Elbe.
The Hitzacker Archaeological Centre offers an exciting journey back in time into the world of archaeology. In Germany's first Bronze-Age open-air museum, visitors have many opportunities to become actively involved, spending a night in one of the three long houses, learning the art of prehistoric cooking or how to kill a wild pig with bow and arrow.
The fantastic surroundings of Hitzacker are marked by the expansive flooding areas of the UNESCO Elbe River Landscape Biosphere Reserve. Cycle tours on the Elbe dam, boat trips or guided walking tours with qualified guides are just some of the possible activities available.
Tourist Information Hitzacker
Am Markt 7,
29456 Hitzacker (Elbe), Germany
Phone: +49 (0)5862-969 70,
The fortified town of Dömitz and the "Rüterberg Village Republic":
Another pearl in the chain of the Elbe is the fortified town of Dömitz, with splendidly preserved fortifications from the 16th century, which accommodates the town history museum. The ruins of the former railway bridge over the Elbe in Dömitz are also impressive, destroyed in 1945 in an Allied air raid and permanently closed soon after. The bridge became a symbol for war and division, and for severed trade relations.
Close to the town, on the high banks of the Elbe, is the village of Rüterberg on former GDR soil, now Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In the days of the former border, daily life as a resident of Rüterberg was marked by its extreme position: Rüterberg was 'hemmed in' on three sides by the FRG, completely surrounded by fences. Residents lived as if on an island, with a 'gate to the GDR'. After the fall of the wall, the 'Rüterberg Village Republic' was symbolically declared.
Another special feature close by the fortified town is the highest inland dune of the Elbe valley, near Klein Schmölen. This almost 40m-high sand dune lies in the middle of a nature reserve and can be explored on signposted paths.
Tourist Information Dömitz
19303 Dömitz, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)3 87 58 / 2 21 12
Fax: +49 (0)3 87 58 / 3 58 15