Calvary Hill (Kalvarienberg)
Here on the Calvary Hill ("Kalvarienberg"), there is a panoramic view onto the hills of the “Lampertstal”. From the highest point of Calvary Hill, daytrippers can enjoy the best view onto one of the most beautiful and largest juniper heathlands in North-Rhine Westphalia. The nature conservation area with its wild, slim, tall shrubs extends over an area of 650 hectares, suddenly giving the North Eifel region, which is otherwise covered with dense forest, a Mediterranean feel.
Hikers cross the area on the Eifelsteig long-distance trail or along one of the local hiking paths. Up on Calvary Hill, the bleating of the sheep can be heard from a distance, which have been kept in the Upper Ahr valley as “landscape caretakers” for as long as anyone can remember. Every year, large herds of up to 600 sheep ensure that the juniper thrives on the poor chalk grassland, and that up to 31 types of orchid and gentian bloom in the summer. Thanks to the special qualities of this low-nutrient soil, rare animals such as the Hazel Grouse, kites and sparrowhawks feel at home once again in the juniper heathlands near Blankenheim-Alendorf. And when the sun shines above Calvary Hill during the summer months, thousands of colourful butterflies such as the Scotch Argus and the Silver-Washed Fritillary can be observed as they perform their mating dance.
The people living in the North Eifel region value the beauty of their landscape, but also know how to make the best use of it, and keep up their traditions. So it is that during the annual juniper festival in the summer, you can not only listen to music from the Alpine horn players from Alendorf, but of course also enjoy the traditional “Lampertstaler” juniper schnapps and home-distilled gin.
Somewhat earlier in the year, in the Holy Week before Easter, Calvary Hill is also the stage for the grand procession, which goes back over 300 years. Hundreds of pilgrims from throughout the Rhineland region come to this small Eifel town by Good Friday to pass the 14 stations of the Way of the Cross at an altitude of 517 metres, marking the journey taken by Jesus up to Calvary (the place of the skulls), where he was crucified. This is the origin of the name “Calvary Hill” (calvaria = skull). Once the procession arrives at the summit cross, participants have a magnificent view - in good weather - over the Dollendorf limestone riverbed through to the volcanic cones of the Arenberg, Hoher Acht and Nürburg.