Segeberger Kalkberghöhle

Cave of the Chalk Mountain - Segeberger Höhle - Cave of Segeberg

Useful Information

the area of the Karl May Festspiele from an outlook on the Kalkberg.
The quarry was made an open air arena called "Thingplatz" during the 3rd Reich.
Location: Oberbergstrasse 27, 23795 Bad Segeberg.
In Bad Segeberg, 25 km WNW Lübeck. A1, exit Lübeck-Mitte, B206 27 km. A7, exit Bad Bramstedt, B206 24 km.
(53.936447, 10.316746)
Open: Cave: APR to SEP Tue-Fri 9-16, Sat, Sun, Hol 10-17.
Noctalis: All year Tue-Fri 9-16, Sat, Sun, Hol 10-17.
Fee: Cave: Adults EUR 9, Children (4-14) EUR 7, Disabled EUR 8, Students EUR 8.
Noctalis: Adults EUR 9, Children (4-14) EUR 7, Disabled EUR 8, Students EUR 8.
Both: Adults EUR 12, Children (4-14) EUR 9, Disabled EUR 12, Students EUR 12.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave Speleologygypsum cave, horizontal cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=2,260 m, T=9 °C.
Biggest hall: L=60 m.
Guided tours: L=600 m, D=35 min.
V=35,000/a [2005].
Photography: not allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Der Segeberger Kalkberg und seine Höhlen, Verlag C. H. Wäser, Hamburger Straße 26, 23795 Bad Segeberg Deutsch - German
Address: Kalkberghöhle, Noctalis - Welt der Fledermäuse, Oberbergstrasse 27, 23795 Bad Segeberg, Tel: +49-4551-8082-21, Fax: +49-4551-8082-55. 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.


1137 Siegeburg castle built on the Alberg, which was 110 m asl at this time, by Kaiser Lothar from Supplinburg.
14th century start of Gypsum quarrying.
1913 cave discovered during quarry works.
1913 developed.
1930 declared a natural monument, quarrying stopped.
1937 open air theatre (Thingplatz) inaugurated.
1952 start of Karl-May-Festspiele.
1988 completely re-surveyed by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Karstkunde Harz e.V..
2006 opening of the Fledermaus-Zentrum (Bat Center).


A passage. The flat ceiling is characteristic.

The Kalkberg (Limestone Mountain), 91 m asl., does not consist of limestone, but is the gypsum cap of a salt diapir. It is the only hill composed of hard rock in Schleswig-Holstein, all other hills are moraines and consist of sand and rubbles. So the people some centuries ago did not know the difference between limestone and gypsum, they thought this was limestone as they saw it was white. And as this is the only hill composed of hard rocks, it also contains the only caves of Schleswig-Holstein, the Segeberger Kalkhöhlen.

The salt diapir is very close to the surface and dissolved by groundwater. The gypsum is less soluble than salt and so it accumulates at the top. But there is still a lot of salt, which is the reason for the many salt water springs in this area. This brine, with an extremely high amount of 26,74% salt one of the strongest in Germany, is the reason why Segeberg received the title Bad (spa) in 1925. In 1884 the first bathing house was constructed, to exploit the healing powers of the brine baths againts gout, rheumatism and sciatica.

The rock was used as a quarry for many centuries until between 1934 and 1937 the Nazis built a Thingplatz inside. This is a half German, half Nordic word meaning gathering place, one of many they used to garnish their "philosophy". A Thingplatz was simply an open air theater, which was used for political festivals.

Today the open air theater is used to show adaptions of the stories of Karl May. Karl May was a 19th century German author, who wrote adventure stories about remote areas of the world he had never seen. It was a sort of early pulp fiction, but it was extremely popular over more than a century. This popularity boosted during the 1960s when German movies after his books became popular too. The Karl-May-Spiele (Karl May Festival) are a sort of theater event with actors from the movies.

Segeberger Kalkberghöhle Gallery