Hemer Felsenmeer

Useful Information

Location: A46 exit Hemer, B7 towards Menden, in Hemer turn right, in Hemer-Sundwig turn off at Hotel Meise.
Open: Felsenmeer: no restrictions.
Felsenmeer guided tours: after appointment, 10+.
Museum: Tue-Fri 11-13, 15-17, Sun 11-13.
Fee: Felsenmeer: free.
Felsenmeer guided tours: Adults EUR 4, Children (3-15) EUR 3. Groups (15+): Adults EUR 3.50, Children (3-15) EUR 2.50.
Classification: KarstKarren KarstDoline MineIron Mine MineFire-setting Medieval mining activities
Light: n/a
Dimension: Ar=12.9 ha. L=700 m, W=200 m.
Guided tours: D=90 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Höhlen- und karstkundliches Informationszentrum Hemer/Westfalen, Felsenmeerstraße 32, 58675 Hemer, Tel: +49-2372-61549, Fax: +49-2372-61549. E-mail: contact
Felsenmeer-Museum, Hönnetalstraße 21, 58675 Hemer, Tel: +49-2372-16454.
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.


~900 first mining activities.
~1300 start of wire production.


The Hemer Felsenmeer, literally sea of rocks at Hemer, is a Natural Monument with strange and interesting rock formations. It is interesting from two completely different views, the speleological and the mining archaeology view.

To reach the area you best start at the show cave ShowcaveHeinrichshöhle where a single lane track called Felsenmeerstraße leads up into the forest. It is about ten minutes walk to the Felsenmeer. This area is about 700 m long, up to 200 m wide and 45 m above the valley. It is distinguished into three parts, the Großes Felsenmeer (Big Felsenmeer), the Kleines Felsenmeer (small Felsenmeer) and the Paradies (paradise).

The Big Felsenmeer area is interpreted as a huge solution doline, an area where meteoric water penetrating the cracks in the limestone created clefts filled with residuals like clay. The middle Devonian limestone was formed as a reef, the cracks are a result of tectonic movements. Rather uncommon for karst areas is the upwelling of hot thermal water and gases from below, depositing chemically diverse ores and minerals in the cracks. The ores include hematite (iron ore), calamine (zinc ore), brown iron ore, and rare green lead ore. Mineral collectors still find interesting minerals outside the protected area. However, the most important metal in the ores was iron.

Archaeological excavations proofed mining activities as early as 900 AD. This is the oldest iron mining in the Sauerland. It was favoured by the rich forests of the area which was used to produce heat for the mining and charcoal for the smelting. The oldest mining technique used here was heating the ore by burning wood piles in front and cooling it down abruptly with cold water. The ore got cracks and was much easier to mine.

The mined ore was smelted on location with simple bloomery furnaces. The resulting raw iron was smelted a second time and formed into an Osemund, a typical bar. From the 14th century wires were produced in the area. First by hammering the Osemund, later by drewing the the wire through a gouge. For the developing wire industry the water power of the rivers was important too. When techniques were developed to process the iron with water power, all around along the rivers small mills, smiths, and factories were founded. The history of the iron industrie around the Felsenmeer is on display in the Felsenmeer Museum in Hemer.