Friday, 15 May 2015

High Up With the Slavic Gods

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

Cycling around the Teichland  NE of Cottbus we unexpectedly came to a steep hill. This was unexpected because Brandenburg is everywhere else as flat as a pancake. That makes for great and easy cycling, but it does get a bit boring not being able to get some perspective on the landscape. This hill was so steep that we even had to change down to first gear. Oh, and get off and push half-way up.

The hill turned out to be a visitor attraction called Erlebnispark Teichland, a kind of theme park with exciting things such as a mini-golf, bungee trampoline, wooden roller-coaster, and a labyrinth. What it is doing here I have no idea, though I suspect it was created by Vattenfall (the owners of the nearby massive brown-coal mining operations and Jänschwalde power station) to 'beautify' what they had previously made into an open-cast mine and slag-heap.

We weren't very interested in bungee trampolining, but our eyes were caught by a tall, white tower on the top of the hill, beside a strange collection of brown statues signed as a Slawischer Götterhain (grove of Slavic gods. Or 'Slavonic' gods as the as-usual-misspelled English translation had it).

The tower was an Aussichtsturm (look-out tower) and we found that entrance to it was 2€ per person, with coins put into a turnstile. A warning here though: the tower is 50 metres high and has 272 steps. There is no lift so you are buggered if you happen to be disabled or not very fit. This despite there being a disabled parking bay outside the tower.

The Aussichtsturm does have quite spectacular views of the surrounding landscape, albeit that most of what you can see are acres and acres of forest and large terra-formed fields. It isn't too far from the Polish border, so I imagine that some of what you are seeing is Poland.

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

From the tower you get a good idea of the shape of the 'Slavic Grove':

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

You also get a good view into the labyrinth, and there is an urge to shout down directions for the people wandering around it!

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

The Grove of Slavic Gods is a peculiar affair. As works of art they are not at all impressive, and if there is any spirit of the old gods and goddesses inhabiting the place, I think they would be rather offended. The deities on show are rather a mish-mash of gods and folklore too. It's rather as if a Chinese theme-park had put up plastic statues of the Madonna, Jesus on a crucifix, Robin Hood, The Morrighan, and Micky Mouse inside a small-scale concrete Stonehenge. What's it for? I don't know. The Slavs were almost eradicated by German tribes here centuries ago, and the ones who clung on, the Sorbians, are devoutly Christian. Anyway, it made for an amusing break before we cycled on into the Lausitz countryside and thence for a train back to Berlin.

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

Teichland by Andie Gilmour

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