(Upper Harz Water System)
The "Oberharzer Wasserregal / Upper Harz Water System" is the largest pre-industrial system to use water power. During the last 700 years many artifical lakes, ditches and tunnels were constructed to power big water wheels used to generate mechanical energy. This energy was used for the silver ore mines in the Upper Harz region around Clausthal-Zellerfeld and Andreasberg. Ore and stones were brought to the surface by using the energy from the water wheels. Furthermore, the ground water entering the mines was pumped to the surface by using water power. By using the water energy the Harz region became in the 16th and 17th century one of the largest mining areas in Europe. Many important technical inventions were made in this time. The steel rope was invented in Clausthal for instance. The mining in the Upper Harz region finally ended in the 70's of the last century and is now history. Many different mining museums still allow to discover the underground world. On the surface many parts of the old water power system survived in a well preserved state. More than 60 lakes around Clausthal for instance witness the splendid mining history. Those lakes, combined with the tunnels, connecting ditches, important mines and an old monastery (monchs invented the water power system initially) are worldwide unique and were declared by the UNESCO to be a world cultural heritage in 2010.
[the lake Pixhai at the camp site]
The old name of the water power system is "Oberharzer Wasserregal". "Oberharz" is the region around Clausthal and Andreasberg, "Wasser" means water and "Regal" is the old name for a royal privileg (using water power needed to be approved by the feudal authorities). A vital part of the Oberharzer Wasserregal are the lakes between Clausthal and Buntenbock. Our camp site is located just in the middle of this area, directly along one of these lakes. Our Pixhaier lake of course is also historic (it was build in 1674) and belongs to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. Anyhow, it is allowed to go for swimming or fishing. A trail along these lakes explains the technical aspects of the Oberharzer Wasserregal. It starts at the camp site. Today the Oberharzer Wasserregal is not only a technical monument but also a vital part of a beautiful landscape. From time-to-time we organise also guided tours through the Oberharzer Wasserreal. Please ask in the reception.
Interested in more informationen? Wikpedia offers an excellent review: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_Harz_Water_Regale
We wish you much fun in discovering the Oberharzer Wasserregal!
[left: end of the Baerenbruch water way close to the lake Pixhai, right: sign for the "water discovery trail"]
[left: upper Rosenhof water way close to the camp site, right: lower release of water from the lake Pixhai]
[view over the lakes around Buntenbock. The campsite is visible on the right part of the picture. The city on the left is Clausthal-Zellerfeld. The small village on the right bottom is Buntenbock. Some of the lakes on the right side and in the far distance are hidden in the forest. Actually, there are 6 lakes surrounding the camp site.]
[Lake Pixhai from the camp site]