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Donnersberg von Steinbach.jpg

The Donnersberg seen from Steinbach
Highest point
Elevation 687 m above  sea level (NN) (2,254 ft)
Prominence 417 metres (1,368 ft)
Isolation 55 kilometres (34 mi)
Listing Highest mountain in the Palatinate;
Celtic ringwork
Coordinates 49°37′31″N7°54′53″E / 49.62528°N 7.91472°E / 49.62528; 7.91472 Coordinates: 49°37′31″N7°54′53″E / 49.62528°N 7.91472°E / 49.62528; 7.91472
Parent range North Palatine Uplands
Mountain type cryptodome
Type of rock Rhyolite

The Donnersberg is the highest peak of the Palatinate (German : Pfalz) region of Germany. The mountain lies between the towns of Rockenhausen and Kirchheimbolanden, in the Donnersbergkreis district, which is named after the mountain. The highway A63 runs along the southern edge of the Donnersberg. European walking route E8 runs across the mountain.

Palatinate (region) geographic region

The Palatinate, historically also Rhenish Palatinate, is a region in southwestern Germany. It occupies roughly the southernmost quarter of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz), covering an area of 5,451 square kilometres (2,105 sq mi) with about 1.4 million inhabitants. Its residents are known as Palatines.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

The highest point of the Donnersberg is the rock Königstuhl ("king's seat") at 687 metres above sea level. The mountain has a diameter of about 7 kilometres and covers an area of some 2,400 hectares. The Donnersberg was formed by volcanic activity during the Permian, in the transition period between the lower and upper Rotliegend strata.

The Permian is a geologic period and system which spans 47 million years from the end of the Carboniferous Period 298.9 million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Triassic period 251.902 Mya. It is the last period of the Paleozoic era; the following Triassic period belongs to the Mesozoic era. The concept of the Permian was introduced in 1841 by geologist Sir Roderick Murchison, who named it after the city of Perm.

The Rotliegend, Rotliegend Group or Rotliegendes is a lithostratigraphic unit of latest Carboniferous to Guadalupian age that is found in the subsurface of large areas in western and central Europe. The Rotliegend mainly consists of sandstone layers. It is usually covered by the Zechstein and lies on top of regionally different formations of late Carboniferous age.

The name Donnersberg is thought to refer to Donar, the Germanic god of thunder, a theory supported by the fact that the Romans dubbed the Donnersberg Mons Jovis after their god of thunder, Jupiter. According to other theories, the name of the mountain was derived from the Celtic dunum (meaning "mountain") or from the name of a Celtic deity, Taranis.

Thor hammer-wielding Nordic god associated with thunder

In Germanic mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing and fertility. Besides Old Norse Þórr, extensions of the god occur in Old English as Þunor, and in Old High German as Donar. All forms of the deity stem from a Common Germanic *Þunraz.

Roman Empire Period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–395 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. An Iron Age civilization, it had a government headed by emperors and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome. The Roman Empire was then divided between a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople, and it was ruled by multiple emperors.

Jupiter (mythology) King of the gods in ancient Roman religion and myth

Jupiter, also known as Jove, was the god of the sky and thunder and king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and mythology. Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire. In Roman mythology, he negotiates with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion such as offering, or sacrifice.

During the Celtic La Tène period, around 150 BC, an important settlement ( oppidum ) was built on the Donnersberg, covering some 240 hectares. Part of the wall (Keltenwall) surrounding this settlement has been reconstructed. Archeological excavations are ongoing.

La Tène culture archaeological culture

The La Tène culture was a European Iron Age culture. It developed and flourished during the late Iron Age, succeeding the early Iron Age Hallstatt culture without any definite cultural break, under the impetus of considerable Mediterranean influence from the Greeks in pre-Roman Gaul, the Etruscans, and Golasecca culture.

Oppidum Iron Age type of settlement

An oppidum is a large fortified Iron Age settlement. Oppida are associated with the Celtic late La Tène culture, emerging during the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, spread across Europe, stretching from Britain and Iberia in the west to the edge of the Hungarian plain in the east. They continued to be used until the Romans conquered Southern and Western Europe. In regions north of the rivers Danube and Rhine, such as most of Germania, where the populations remained independent from Rome, oppida continued to be used into the 1st century AD.

In the Middle Ages, five castles surrounded the strategically placed mountain: Tannenfels, Wildenstein, Hohenfels, Falkenstein and Ruppertsecken. Today, only ruins remain of these five castles.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th through the 15th centuries

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Tannenfels Castle (Palatinate) castle

Tannenfels Castle is a ruined hill castle of the motte and bailey type which stands at a height of 460 m above sea level (NN) above the village of Dannenfels on the Donnersberg hill in the county of Donnersbergkreis in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Wildenstein Castle (Palatinate) castle

Wildenstein Castle is a ruined hill castle on a hill, 486 m above sea level (NN), in the Wildenstein valley, hidde in a wood at the foot of the Donnersberg near Dannenfels in the county of Donnersbergkreis in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

About 900 metres east of the Königstuhl rock, a 27 metres tall tower was constructed in 1864-1865, the Ludwigsturm. After World War II, a radio mast for the largest U.S. radio station in western Europe was placed on the Donnersberg. In the early 1960s, a new communications tower was constructed, stretching over 200 metres.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

The Donnersbergbahn is a railway line that runs from Alzey to Kirchheimbolanden. The line originally ran even further, to Marnheim, but on March 20, 1945, the Pfrimm Viaduct, a railway bridge between Kirchheimbolanden and Marnheim, was destroyed by withdrawing German troops, and it has not been rebuilt since.


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