Sophienhöhle - Ahorntal, BY-DE
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member André de Montbard
N 49° 49.623 E 011° 22.525
32U E 670840 N 5522108
Quick Description: The Sophienhöhle is a natural karst cave near Kirchahorn, a district of the Upper Franconian municipality of Ahorntal in the Bayreuth district in Bavaria.
Location: Bayern, Germany
Date Posted: 10/27/2020 9:33:31 AM
Waymark Code: WM13ANC
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 3

Long Description:
The stalactite cave is located on the northwestern edge of the Ailsbach valley, not far from Rabenstein Castle in Franconian Switzerland. It was discovered during excavations in 1833 and has been used as a show cave since 1834. The Sophienhöhle, which has been electrically illuminated since 1971, is one of the most beautiful show caves in Germany with its three large sections and winding passages. It has rich stalactite decorations with stately sinter curtains and basins. A multimedia show with Sophie at night has been taking place in the Sophienhöhle since 2002.
The cave forms with three other caves, the Ahornloch, the Klaussteinhöhle and the Höschhöhle, a cave system that is known as the Klaussteinhöhlen complex. She is a member of the Jurahöhle adventure world.

The Sophienhöhle is located on the north-western slope of the narrow, winding Ailsbach Valley near the municipality of Ahorntal in the Upper Franconian district of Bayreuth. The valley has many steep rock bastions and the greatest density of caves in Franconian Switzerland. The entrance to the cave is 411 meters, the valley 375 meters and the Klausstein chapel above it on the site of the former Ahorn Castle 443 meters above sea level. From the parking lot at Rabenstein Castle west of the cave, it can be reached on a 650 meter long footpath, from the parking lot 30 meters below the cave, directly on the state road 2185, a steep 120 meter long path leads up.

The Sophienhöhle is located in fossil sponge reefs in the Franconian dolomite of the Malm in the Jura. The 18 meter wide, six meter high and uphill tapering entrance portal has a dome-shaped structure. The cave has dome-like halls, some of which are connected by narrow, winding passages. This is typical for caves in the Franconian dolomite. The cave essentially runs along the horizontal joints of the sponge reefs. These surface shapes can be traced particularly well in the third section using the joints. With a size of 42 × 25 × 11 meters, it is one of the largest Franconian cave spaces. Here, large blocks of collapse have detached themselves from the ceiling along the joints and cover the floor. The other two departments also have fall blocks, which are covered in stalactites in some places. The spatial appearance of the cave indicates a great age.

The Sophienhöhle consists of a complex of four caves: the always known entrance portal, the Ahornloch, the adjoining Klaussteinhöhle, the actual Sophienhöhle discovered in 1833 and the initially filled Höschhöhle. Together, the individual caves form the Klausstein cave complex or the Sophien cave. It has a length of about 900 meters, with the actual Sophienhöhle with its three sections being 500 meters long. In the Franconian Alb cave register, which has over 3000 caves on an area of 6400 square kilometers, the Sophienhöhle is registered as B 27 and the cave connected to it as B 24. The cave is designated as geotope 472H009 by the Bavarian State Office for the Environment. See also the list of geotopes in the Bayreuth district.

Numerous bones of Ice Age animals were found in the cave complex, the remains of the cave bear making up the largest proportion. The bears used the Sophienhöhle during hibernation and gave birth to the young there. Occasionally, animals have died of old age or diseases. Over a long period of time, such a large accumulation of bones accumulated.

The age of the bones in the Franconian Alb is estimated at 28,500 to 60,000 years. This was shown by several radiocarbon dating from Franconian caves. The bear bones in the Sophienhöhle come mainly from the Worm Ice Age. There is no age dating of the Sophienhöhle itself. In the first section of the Sophien Cave, in addition to the bones of the cave bear, the remains of a mammoth, woolly rhinoceros and reindeer were found. According to old cave reports, the Sophienhöhle must be regarded as outstanding in terms of its numerous reindeer remains in the Franconian Jura. Most of the fossils found in the Sophienhöhle are lost. Many of them were housed in the nearby Rabenstein Castle. Some are in the possession of the State Palaeontological Collection in Munich, such as a lower jaw fragment of a lion from the Pleistocene.

Source German Wikipedia, translated
Type of Land: Private Land

Managed By: Burg Rabenstein

Contact Info: 09202 / 97 00 44-0

Website: [Web Link]

Type of Cave: Karst Cave

Contains Stalactites: yes

Contains Stalagmites: yes

Contains Bats: yes

Price of Admission: 10.00 (listed in local currency)

Visit Instructions:
Please include a digital photograph of the cave which documents your visit and any information that may be helpful for future visitors.
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