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Olgahöhle

Olga's Cave


Useful Information

Image: Castle Lichtenstein, above the Echatz valley, as seen from the cave entrance.
Location: In Honau at ther B313/312, 10km south of Reutlingen.
Open: APR to OCT 1st Sun in the month, Hol 10-17.
[2014]
Fee: Adults EUR 3, Children (6-14) EUR 1.50, Children (0-5) free, SAV-Members EUR 2.50, Family EUR 7.
Groups (11+): Adults EUR 2.50, Children (6-14) EUR 1.
[2014]
Classification: Explaintufa cave, Explainprimary cave, horizontal cave.
Light: electric
Dimension: L=170m, D=10m, A=557m asl
Guided tours: D=10min.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: Schmid, Stirn, Ziegler, Schriftleiter: Hans Binder (1972): Die Olgahöhle in Honau, Abh. Karst- u. Höhlenkunde, Reihe A, Heft 7, München 1972. (available as an offprint). (Deutsch - German)
Address: Schwäbischer Albverein, Ortsgruppe Honau, Herr Saur. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

24-OCT-1874 discovered by Johann Ziegler during quarry works.
1875 entrance and paths built, lighting by candles.
17-MAY-1875 opened to the public.
1884 electric light.
1891 second entrance built.
1939 declared a Natural Monument.
1968 the area with the hotel and the cave bought by the Wesleyan Church.
1972 reopening with refurbished electric light.
1985 start of management by the Schwäbischer Albverein, Ortsgruppe Honau.

Description

Image: water wheel at the Echaz, above the cave. The power of this mill was used to produce electricity for the first electric light.

The Olgahöhle is the first cave with electric light in Germany. There is only one cave worldwide, which had elecric light earlier, the Kraushöhle near Bad Gams in Styria (Austria). The electricity was produced by a water wheel at the Echaz river. It is only a few steps from the cave entrance and may still be visited.

The cave was named after Queen Olga von Württemberg. The written authorization was on exhibit for decades at the cave entrance, until is was removed during the 1930s.

Image: the Northern Branch.

The Olgahöhle is a Explaintufa cave, which is a rather rare Explainprimary cave.

The cave was discovered during the quarrying of the thick layer of tufa. This limestone was formed by the hard water of the Echaz, which flows through Honau until today. The tufa deposit covers an area of 18ha and forms a step in the valley, called Hohe Au (High Pasture). The village Honau was built on this rock. The quarrying produced rocks for houses, with very unique characteristics: it was mines with saws, as it is very soft when moist. Later it dried, became hard and lightweight, and with its numerous holes it was a very good insulator. But the mining was abandoned at the begin of the 20th century.

The way the cave formed is easy to understand inside the cave. Two parallel branches run across the valley, and were formed subsequently.

At this time a waterfall, at least 80m wide and about 10m high ran across the valley. This waterfall formed its own step, by depositing limestone at the rim. The rim became more and more overhanging. Either by growing from the floor to the overhang, or by parts of the overhang collapsing, this step was coverd by a parallel wall of tufa. This wall enclosed a 80m long passage, still with some openings to the front.

In a second stage the same thing happened again, a few meters down the valley. Now the few openings just connected the two branches and the cave was not longer open, until it was discovered by qarrying.


Olgahöhle Gallery