Klausenhöhle


Useful Information

Location: Kordel. South of Burg Ramstein in the forest.
(49.81525, 6.646573)
Open: no restrictions.
[2021]
Fee: free.
[2021]
Classification: SubterraneaCave House
Light: not necessary/bring torch
Dimension:  
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Deutsch-Luxemburgische Tourist-Information, Moselstr. 1, 54308 Langsur-Wasserbilligerbrück, Tel: +49-6501-602666, Fax: +49-6501-605984. E-mail: contact
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History


Description

The Klausenhöhle (Hermitage Cave) is a cleft cave with a typical pointed arch portal. The 10m long cave was obviously modified by man to create a cave house. According to legend it was inhabited by a hermit until the 18th century. Holes for wooden beams in both walls, some 2m above the ground are the last remain of a wooden floor which separated the cave into two levels. It is said the upper level was the safe sleeping place of the hermit, accessible only by a wooden ladder. The lower level has a niche with a round arch which was used for praying, it is decorated with an engraving showing a corona. Above is a gallery with a well-proportioned window, a natural hole in the outer wall of the cave which was sculpted. Around the window and on the outside wall are numerous primitive faces engraved. On the left side of the entrance portal an in a protruding rock pillar are more faces of different kinds.

There are no written descriptions of the use of the cave as a hermitage, so little details of its history are known. Most stories about the cave are plain fantasy or legends. Thus, the story that the faces served exorcistic purposes, arose only at the end of the Second World War. During this time, people sought shelter in the cave and it was thus more noticed by the locals. Another theory that they are Neidkopf (literally envious heads) that kept away evil spirits is quite obvious but also not proven.

The name of the cave tells about its history, the German term Klause is derived from the Latin term claudere which translates to close. Something closed or concluded is in this case a place where a hermit, a monk or a nun, may live in solitude. This place was used as such an hermitage for centuries, by hermits who tried to follow St. Antonious in a simple and devotional life.

Saint Athanasius was exiled from Egypt to Trier at the beginning of the 4th century. He brought with him the story of Saint Antonius, who tried to achieve his eternal salvation by living in complete seclusion. This impressed monks in particular, who with the permission of their religious superiors retreated into solitude. Their dwellings were called Einsiedelei or Klause in German, and some acquired such great charisma that they themselves in turn became the seed of a new monastery. Examples include the Eberhardsklausen near Wittlich or Einsiedeln in Switzerland.

In the Kordel district there were several Klausen, in the Kaulay rock above the village, in the middle Laufbach valley, and the Klausen cave at Klausengrund. From the 8th century it is known that there were even caretakers for hermits. On the other hand, it is unknown from when and how long the Klausen cave served as a hermitage. At the latest with the secularization in 1802, empty hermitages were no longer occupied. The abandoned shelters fell into disrepair, still usable remains were reused, and today only the rock niches themselves are preserved.