Walldorf near Meiningen.
A4 exit Eisenach-Ost, F19 49km towards Meiningen. In Walldorf, at the city limits, turn right, cross railroad tracks, parking at the sports ground, 1,5km walk. 5km N Meiningen.
MAR to MAY daily 10-17, last tour 16:30.
JUN to AUG daily 10-18, last tour 16:30.
SEP to NOV daily 10-17, last tour 16:30.
Adults EUR 5, Children (3-14) EUR 2.50, Disabled EUR 4, Disabled Children (3-14) EUR 2.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 4, Children (3-14) EUR 2.
|Classification:||Rock Mine, Sand Mine, upper Buntsandstein|
|Dimension:||AR=65,000m², 2,500 pilars, 300m asl.|
|Guided tours:||L=800m, D=30min, St=0, V=100.000/a|
|Bibliography:||Sandstein- und Märchenhöhle Walldorf, Hrsg: Rat des Kreises Meiningen, Abteilung Kultur, Rat der Gemeinde Walldorf|
|Address:||Sandstein- und Märchenhöhle, Marienstraße 6, 98639 Walldorf, Tel: +37-3693-881277, Fax: +37-3693-890163. E-mail:|
|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.
|10th cty||begin of sand quarrying.|
|1800||first written account.|
|1828||documents about 12 Sandpächter (sand lessee).|
|1902||mushroom cultivation started in the cave.|
|1912||mushroom cultivation destroyed by mould and closed.|
|~1919||sand mining ended.|
|1932||opened to the public by a non-profit association.|
|~1940||visitor numbers fall, closed.|
|09-JUN-1957||opened to the public as a fairy grotto.|
|Image: the entrance to the cavern.|
Sandstein- und Märchenhöhle Walldorf translates sandstone and fairy cave Walldorf, but this is literally wrong. The sandstone cave is not a cave at all, it is an underground quarry. Many inhabitants of the small village Walldorf once earned their living by mining a certain layer of the upper Buntsandstein. This white finegrained sandstone was once deposited in a arid, desert-like climate. Above the village, this rock was once found on the surface. But when the people removed more and more of this rock, they had to follow the layer underground. There was the danger of collapse, so they did the simplest thing possible, they mined in squares and left part of the layer untouchewd. The result is an enormous chamber with many massive pilars. This kind of mining is called room and pilar method.
The sandstone was mined in handy peices by the miner. At home his wife and children had to create sand with a hammer. Although the rock was rather soft, there was some work necessary to get fine sand. The resulting sand was sieved and the sold in various finenesses. The finest quality was used as blotting sand, an early predecessor of blotting paper. The coarser sand was used forrubbing and scouring.
The sand miners had to pay a rent to the government of Miningen, and on the other side the price for sand was rather low, Because of the low income and the hard work, this was always just an additional income, especially in bad times. The sand sellers had to walk far to sell it. To tell people what they had to sell, they sang a song.
The trail through this cavern is often very low, somtimes less than 1.50m. The floor is made of earth, and often has ripple marks. Please wear sturdy shoes and be careful. The first part of the tour explains the geologic and historic background of the caverns. There are historic tools and scenes of sand making.
To include a sort of fairy park into the cavern to make it more interesting is rather uncommon for Germany. It is a typical thing for Britain and other Anglo-Saxon countries. The rooms between the pilars were used as alkovens, each telling another fairy tale. The fairy tales are of German origin: by the brothers Grimm, Ludwig Bechstein and Hans Christian Andersen. Other scenes show the Sandmännchen (sand man) from the GDR TV programm, which became cult after the end of the GDR. Other scenes show Max and Moritz form the early cartoon A Story of Seven Boyish Pranks by Wilhelm Busch. With the little zoo and the restaurants, this is definitely a family destination.