Hainich is a ridge in Western Thuringia in the middle of the tri-city area of Eisenach, Bad Langensalza and Mühlhausen. With a surface area of 160 km2, it is the largest coherent deciduous woodland in Germany. Its southern part (75 km2) was designated as a national park on 31 December 1997.
You can witness a natural spectacle of a special kind in the Hainich. Magnificent deciduous trees, common beech in particular, reach up to the light. Rare breeds of animals raise their young here. Orchids grow in the shade of dense canopies. Hainich National Park is home to "Primeval woodland in the heart of Germany".
Thanks to the area's past as a military restricted zone, woodland dominated by the beech was able to develop here over decades, resembling those that would grow extensively in Central Europe without human interference. The National Park has the largest unused area of deciduous woodland in Germany, around 50 km2. Here, nature is left to its own devices.
At first glance, the nature in Hainich National Park might seem like nothing special: Here you will find neither chalk cliffs nor canyons nor coral reefs. And yet it is unique in the world and so belongs to the exclusive family of UNESCO World Heritage sites: Only here grow the last remaining remnants of extensive, undissected beech forests with Central European characteristics on limestone at average altitude. Many rare species live in this specific habitat.
What makes beech forests so special? The beech in Hainich National Park