Neischlhöhle


Useful Information

Location: Southwest corner of the botanical garden, University Erlangen.
(49.599019, 11.005952)
Open: APR to SEP Sun 14-16.
[2021]
Fee: free, donations welcome.
[2021]
Classification: SubterraneaCave Replica SubterraneaGrotto
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=25 m, H=5 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Dr. phil. Adalbert Neischl (1904): Die Höhlen der Fränkischen Schweiz und ihre Bedeutung für die Entstehung der dortigen Täler, Nürnberg, J. L. Schrag.
Address: Neischlhöhle, Freundeskreis Botanischer Garten Erlangen e. V. (FBGE), Loschgestraße 1-3, 91054 Erlangen.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1904 dissertation of Adalbert Neischl.
1906 replica of a karst cave at the "Bayerische Jubiläums-Landesausstellung" (Bavarian Jubilee State Exhibition) in what was later to become Nuremberg's Luitpoldhain.
04-NOV-1907 cave in the Botanical Garden opened to the public.
1940s cave is forgotten and slowly decays.
2005 renovation by the „Freundeskreis Botanischer Garten Erlangen“.
2007 reopened to the public.

Description

The Neischlhöhle is a replica of a karst cave from Franconian Switzerland, created in the botanical garden of the University of Erlangen. It can be seen as a garden grotto, a very popular embellishment for gardens in the 19th century. However, as it is a very realistic reproduction of a karst cave, we have classified it as a cave replica. It is named after its builder Dr. phil. Adalbert Neischl (1853-1911), the geologist is considered the founder of modern scientific cave surveying in Franconia. He summarised his research in Franconian Switzerland in his dissertation entitled The Caves of Franconian Switzerland and their Significance for the Formation of the Valleys There in 1904. In 1906, he created a replica of a Jura cave for the "Bayerische Jubiläums-Landes-Ausstellung" in what later became Nuremberg's Luitpoldhain. He subsequently donated it to the University of Erlangen out of a desire to preserve the geological structure for the long term.

However, the university was quite reluctant to accept the gift at the time. It seems that the professors were afraid of follow-up costs. So the university administration first asked the responsible government authority, at that time the Ministry of the Interior, whether it was allowed to accept the gift. Only when Neischl also assumed the costs for the relocation to Erlangen could it be built. And finally, in 1911, Neischl's widow even gave the university another 5,000 marks for the maintenance of the facility. At that time, this was a considerable sum, which today corresponds to a purchasing power of 20,000 €.

Adalbert Neischl was a professional soldier and reached the rank of Royal Bavarian Major. In 1900, he was transferred to Erlangen as a battalion commander. He was a member of the Nuremberg Natural History Society (NHG) and explored the caves in Franconian Switzerland, especially the Devil's Cave and the Sophia Cave. In doing so, he was the first to use modern surveying methods in the caves and thus produced extremely accurate cave plans. After his retirement, he wrote his dissertation on the subject and received his doctorate from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Erlangen. In 1907 he was appointed honorary member of the NHG. He died in 1911 at the age of 58.

The Neischlhöhle or Neischl Grotto was intended as a replica of a real karst cave. The intention was to show the diversity of forms and the geological foundations of caves in a small space and easily accessible. Thus, this replica is unique because it is neither focused on cave paintings nor on a real cave. Rather, geological and mineralogical basics are explained. Thus, the most common forms of stalactites are depicted extremely realistically, stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws and even rimstone pools. It is thus also a sign of considerable craftsmanship. A geological wall depicts the strata of the Franconian Jura with the original stones scaled down to scale. In addition, the cave is quite appropriately integrated into the botanical sections Slope Beech Forests of the Alb and Rock and Dry Grass Plants of the Alb Plateau. Besides its aesthetic and scientific value, it is didactically valuable and a historical monument.